I had to take a break from this for a while, and focus on getting my career going. I needed to get my captain’s license paperwork done and submitted, study for and get through my Instructor Qualification Clinics with the American Sailing Association, and shift my career over to being focused on the water. There was some sick time, and one decent injury, but all is well and healing up, so now it’s time to get this blog back active again.
Captain’s License: For those that have never gone through the process, getting your Captain’s License is paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork. Documenting all your sea time is the bulk of the paperwork, but there is also the application, drug and medical testing, CPR and First Aid, multiple tests, and even more tests if you want to have additional endorsements for your license. I was applying for my 100 Ton Near Coastal Masters License, with endorsements for sailing and assistance towing. So that meant doing all the standard tests for a tonnage based license and additional tests for the sailing and towing, and documenting at least 720 days of sea time, half of which needed to be on the ocean, and 90 days of that time had to be in the last 3 years. For those of you that don’t know my history, I had shoulder surgery a few years back. That took me off the water for a while, so that 90 days requirement was a big push.
ASA Instructor Qualification Clinics: Once my paperwork was in to the National Maritime Center, it was time to start preparing for my IQCs. My work wanted me to go for every one that was available, so that was a lot of studying. I was confident with my on the water skills, but what formal sailing training I have had was not through the ASA, so I needed to read through everything for the courses I was going to be taking to make sure I was using the terminology they use, and understand how they want things taught. I was qualified to take 5 different levels; Beginning Keelboat, Basic Coastal Cruising, Bareboat Cruising, Coastal Navigation, and Cruising Catamaran. Those 5 classes were packed into 6 days, which started the same Sunday as the fires statred in Sonoma and Napa counties, and I live in Sonoma County, so suffice to say it was a hard and stressful week. I got through it all fine though, and notification of the approval of my Captain’s License came through during that week, so I came out of it exhausted, but ready to go.
Transition: Since then, I’ve been auditing classes so I am fully approved to teach them, teaching when I can since it’s the slow season, working as a Boat Technician at Modern Sailing, and wrapping things up at my “day job” as a Software and Quality Engineer. I was also offered the opportunity to work for a rigging company in Alameda I have a lot of respect for a couple days a week for the winter. I’ll be helping change out the standing rigging on a 50 foot plus race boat, shaving a couple hundred more pounds off that boat, and also building new running rigging for multiple boats that will be racing in the Pacific Cup in 2018. I’m as excited for this job as the teaching, as it will get my rigging skills back up to date with all the new high tech lines, and push my skills way further than they ever were in the first place. With all that sailing work is coming my way, it was time to say goodbye to the day job. Today was my last day. Monday I start with the rigging company, and Tuesday I’m meeting with Modern Sailing to set my schedule, come up with a balance of teaching and tech work, and start mapping the path to my next steps in my career.
Future: I have to large goals for my future sailing career. To become qualified to teach the advance level ASA sailing courses, and to upgrade my Captain’s License to Oceans. There are some smaller clinics I want to qualify for with ASA, but the bigger goals are the 3 main remaining classes; Advanced Coastal Cruising, Celestial Navigation, and Offshore Passagemaking. The first and third both have requirements for time as an instructor, so a bit of reaching that goal is based on that. I have to be an instructor for a year before I can teach Advanced Coastal Cruising, and I have to be teaching that for a year before I can teach Offshore Passagemaking. There is also a lot of learning and studying to do to make those a reality, and a lot more offshore sailing experience. That last part also feeds into the second major goal. Upgrading to my Oceans Captain’s License. With a Near Coastal license, I’m restricted to being within 200 miles of the coast with paying passengers. That won’t work for things like sailing to Hawaii. To upgrade to my Oceans license, I need to do another 720 days of sea time, half of which needs to be on the Ocean. That’s going to take me a while, but it will be a lot of fun getting it done.