Day 1: Meet at our office inside the Balboa Marina at 9am. The address is 201 E. Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92660. There is free parking at our office. You’ll meet a friendly member of our team who will assist you in taking your belongings to your sailing yacht. We will give you an orientation of the boat and the marina, as well as the surrounding area, including locations of stores where you can buy food for your four-day trip to Catalina and Santa Barbara Island. At 9:30am, your sailing instructor will arrive at your boat. You’ll spend the next hour or so discussing the cruising plan, doing safety checks, and going over all of the features and functionality of the vessel. At approximately 10:30am, you’ll depart for Isthmus Cove, Catalina. It is about a 5 to 6 hour journey to Isthmus Cove, during which you’ll have plenty of time to work through 1/3 of the topics under the Knowledge and Skills section. You also might get a chance to spot some marine wildlife like sea lions, dolphins, whales or maybe even the elusive sunfish. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
When you arrive in Catalina, you’ll pick up a mooring and set the outboard motor on the dinghy. You can cook aboard or go ashore for dinner and a little exploring. Spend a peaceful evening on the boat or go try Catalina’s famous drink – the Buffalo Milk—at one of the island’s fun bars
Day 2: After breakfast, check out the great hiking and walking trails in Two Harbors. Bring your camera and good shoes. Take this chance to take some scenic pictures of the beautiful coves of Catalina. Oh, and watch out for bison–they’re big and they have horns! As long as you respect their space and distance, it is a wonderful experience to see them in nature.
Upon returning to the boat, prepare your vessel for the 4 hour sail to Santa Barbara Island, during which time you’ll work through another 1/3 of the topics under the Knowledge and Skills section. Santa Barbara Island is a speck of an Island in the great wide Pacific Ocean… You’ll definitely be using your navigational skills to find the island and the lone anchorage. You’ll most likely double anchor in this little, not-so-protected cove. If it is the sea conditions are calm, and you’re up for adventure, have your captain take you via dinghy to the ladder where you can climb ashore.
The wind-blown landscape of Santa Barbara Island reminds one of the peace that must have reigned in California before millions moved here. There are cliff-hugging trails with beautiful views. There are thousands of sea lions lounging around the bases of rocky cliffs. You can hike from one side of the island to the other within an hour. You and your group might be the only people on the whole island. Just one important caveat: it’s not a good idea to go swimming here because all of the sea lions attract sharks!
The uniqueness of Santa Barbara Island, and the fact that you will probably be the only people out there, makes this the favored destination for our ASA 106, Advanced Coastal Cruising Certification Class. What you will learn in ASA 106 will prepare you to explore this remote island and others in the Channel Islands National Park with more confidence. The Channel Islands National Park is one of the least used National Parks in the United States. The anchorage and the island will feel like yours.
There are no bars, restaurants or stores on Santa Barbara Island. Plan to cook aboard and get to bed early.
Day 3: One of the requirements of the ASA 106 curriculum is to spend approximately 4 hours and 20 miles of sailing at night. Therefore, we are up at 3am to get some night sailing in before sunrise, as you head back for the adventurous 7-hour sail to Avalon, Catalina, around the backside and South East end of Catalina. You’ll have plenty of time to sail and work on your navigational skills, as well as motor the boat under power and work through another 1/3 of the topics under the Knowledge and Skills section. Be on the look out of whales and dolphins. A special experience is to stand at the bow and watch the dolphins swim, jump and play as they swim alongside the boat.
Day 4: Wake up to the birds chirping and the sun shining on the quaint town of Avalon and its surrounding hillside. Go for a walk past the famous old Casino where Hollywood’s elite used to party. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast aboard or eat ashore. If you are ready, this morning is be a good time to take the ASA 106 test. If not, you can always take the test back at our office on a later day. *Note: Since the ASA 105 test requires the use of a large paper chart, it is recommended to take that specific test in the office, where there is a table large enough to spread out the chart.
After breakfast or the test, drop your mooring lines and enjoy the 4 or 5 hour sail back to Newport Beach, during which time you’ll continue to work through the topics under the Knowledge and Skills section. Generally you’ll be sailing downwind and maybe you’ll get the opportunity to fly the gennaker or Code 0. You’ll return to the dock at about 3 or 4pm. The captain will then help you remove your belongings for disembarkation. Don’t worry about cleaning the boat! Our crew will be down early the following morning to clean it after your stay with us.