Florida Sailing & Cruising School Named to ASA’s Top 20 List

American Sailing Association (ASA) named Florida Sailing & Cruising School to its honor roll of 2011 Outstanding Schools, saluting it as one of its 20 best sailing instruction programs in North America.

The international accreditation organization also selected FS&CS Chief Captain Christopher Day one of ASA’s 30 top “Instructors of the Year.” Both awards were based on the number of excellent evaluations from students who attended ASA-certified sailing courses at Florida Sailing & Cruising School. Florida Sailing & Cruising School has been ASA-accredited since shortly after it was founded in 1984.

ASA has been the leader in U.S. sailing education for nearly three decades. The association has grown to include an international network of more than 300 professionally accredited sailing schools.

FS&CS conducts live-aboard sailing courses for up to four students at a time, and has been ASA-accredited since shortly after it was founded in 1984. Florida Sailing & Cruising School offers two and three-day live-aboard sailing courses including Basic Sailing (S-101), Basic Coastal Cruising (S-103), Bareboat Charter (S-104), and Advanced Coastal Cruising (S-106).

“Real world, real time, hands-on learning,” is how Hansen describes the live-aboard courses. Attendance is limited to four students, two per cabin, and courses are scheduled at the convenience of the students. By day, under the tutelage of the captain-instructor, they learn by doing – steering, plotting, casting off, tying-up. By night, under a cabin light, they read textbooks and prepare for the big test. She said students “eat, breathe and sleep” their way to the diploma. “Our students not only learn a lot, they retain what they learn because by living aboard the vessel they are using all learning powers, mental and physical.”

Tuition for live-aboard courses includes on board accommodations, instruction, fuel and course materials. Students are responsible for their meals and personal expenses, dockage at other marinas and other provisions for themselves and the instructor. All live-aboard courses include real-world sailing in the picturesque waters of Southwest Florida. Students often observe dolphins surfing the bow wake and occasionally take note of a manatee rising for air and a look-see.

Students sail Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), the placid channel just inside the Gulf of Mexico that runs north and south past a picture show of colorful tropical vegetation of birdlife, sealife and wildlife. This is the channel that takes sailors past the sheltered barrier island paradise of Sanibel, Captiva, Pine Island, Cayo Costa, Gasparilla, Useppa Islands and a hundred others, some just spits of sand, oyster bars and mangroves.

Courses can be combined in various ways to suit the needs of the students. For example, the three-day “Weekender” combines S101 and S103, the four-day “Islander” combines S-103 and S104. The ultimate course combination is a 12-day course called “The Offshore Adventure” that incorporates a major sailing expedition into the Gulf of Mexico.

Hansen and her husband and co-founder Vic Hansen also manage Southwest Florida Yachts which charters sail and power yachts for cruising the Gulf of Mexico and inland waterway coastlines of Southwest Florida.

Most sailing courses are held aboard vessels from 29 to 34 feet at the school’s fleet based at Burnt Store Marina on Charlotte Harbor in Punta Gorda. Liveaboard power yacht courses are held aboard vessels from 32 to 50 feet at Marinatown Marina in N. Fort Myers.

For course descriptions and charter rates contact info@swfyachts.com, telephone 800-262-7939 or 239-656-1339, or write 3444 Marinatown Lane N.W., North Fort Myers, FL 33903. For more information, go to www.flsailandcruiseschool.com and www.swfyachts.com.

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