John Fox, who to a DELMARVA Circumnavigation cruise with us in early July 2013, sent the following note after the cruise:
The ASA 106 DelMarVa Circumnavigation course was wonderful, better than my hopes for it. I actually hesitated a long time before signing up for the course, because I feared that it was more than I wanted to bite off, and class reviews I had read had emphasized the rigor and hard work. I was certain that I would learn a great deal, but I wasn't at all sure that I would have a good time. In the end, however, I signed up because the course offered me the chance to get an introduction to several things I wanted -- night-sailing, watch-standing and offshore sailing -- without making the commitment to a longer passage-making.
I needn't have worried. The course was a great deal of fun. There was a lot of work and the course was rigorous, but for the right reasons: Captain Eric Petterson was very thorough in teaching what we needed to know about the boat, how to prepare for a one-week voyage, how to prepare for offshore sailing and bad weather and so on; but the atmosphere of the course was nevertheless relaxed and there was plenty of time simply to enjoy the trip while off watch (and on watch, for that matter). The two afternoons and evenings ashore during the trip were especially enjoyable after two or three days of 24 hour/day sailing.
In the course of a week, everybody gets at least one full day in every crew position, and everybody gets the chance to take the boat in and out of slips and moorings. Although the captain has GPS as a backup, students are expected to use instead the more traditional navigation methods taught in ASA 105 (Advanced Coastal Navigation). I was glad of this, as I don't want to be dependent on modern technology that might break down (also, I wanted to understand navigation, not just read numbers off a screen).
In sum, I got everything I wanted out of the trip, and far more. Whether I go on to passage-making or not, I am now a significantly more confident and competent sailor, and able to sail safely in a far wider set of conditions, than before I took the course.