As soon as our feet hit the door back in Fort Smith after that first sailing trip, we began researching sailing classes and schools. Normally, probably not that difficult for people who are interested in learning, but living in landlocked Arkansas, proved to be more difficult than we anticipated. When we had our next opportunity for a child free getaway, we booked several ASA classes in Key West. What made this opportunity really special to us, is that we got to sleep aboard the boat. We spent our days doing the bookwork on the boat in the marina and then afternoons out with the captain doing practical training on the water. Our evenings were spent enjoying the boat, exploring Key West and seeing what it was like “living” on board.

The ASA training came pretty naturally for Kevin. In college, he got his private pilot’s license and found that a lot of concepts crossed over, especially navigation. While the systems were different, some were similar enough to make learning the fundamentals of sailing an easier task for him. I on the other hand, picked up bits and pieces and just needed more time learning it all. Just getting over “I can’t believe we are doing this” took me a few days. Kevin pushes me outside of my comfort zone a lot, but I generally end up loving it, just need more time to learn and be comfortable.

The final day of the ASA classes, we took our final tests, and then were given the opportunity to spend the rest of the day taking the catamaran out sailing by ourselves. We got to dock and fuel the boat alone for the first time. We felt like the boat was huge! Until we came alongside a cruise ship docked there in the marina. The next day, we boarded our plane back home with ASA 101, 103, 105, and 108 under our belts. We immediately began planning our first bareboat sailing vacation back in the BVI for the following spring and looking around for people brave enough to go with us.