ASA Sailing Lessons- Crafting Lifelong Sailors Since 1969

Harbor Sailboats is San Diego’s leading sailing school for beginner through advanced sailing lessons and ASA Certifications. Since 1969, Harbor Sailboats has perfected our curriculum to ensure maximum time on the water that will delivery the skills and confidence necessary to enjoy this amazing lifestyle.

New sailors will start by taking the Basic Keelboat course, ASA 101, which is taught over a single weekend on 22 foot keel boats. With only four students in each class we’re able to maximize your time on the water and graduate each students with the skills to safety skipper small keel boats with friends and family. After class, build your skills by chartering sailboats until you have enough sea time to enroll in the next level class.

The Harbor Sailboats difference comes from our professional instructors and the quality of the fleet. You will be learning on new boats that are clean, well maintained and offer the latest technologies. See you on the water!

Courses Offered (click for class for details)

May 1st through September 31st, weekend classes are reserved for members only


ASA 101 Basic Keelboat- certifies up to 22'
ASA 103 Coastal Cruising- certifies up to 37'
ASA 104 Bareboat Cruising- certifies up to 51'
ASA 105 Coastal Navigation- home study that allows passage north of Mission Bay
ASA 106 Advanced Coastal Cruising- Advanced passage making

International Proficiency- see below


Q. Why Get Certified?

  • ASA certification is recognized by sailing professionals and charter companies worldwide. When chartering a boat or yacht, certification allows charter companies like Harbor Sailboats and others around the world to “know what you know”. It’s like having a driver’s license and is often a requirement for making a reservation.
  • ASA certification ensures that our school, instructors and curriculum comply with an established and comprehensive program.
  • Insurance companies recognize certification and often allow for discounts when purchasing a boat or yacht.
  • Certification provides a tangible means of representing skill level when chartering and checking onto a boat or yacht.

Private Instruction

Have a tough schedule or very particular goals? Harbor Sailboats can tailor private sailing lessons to meet your special needs and goals. Sailing Lessons are available aboard any boat in the Harbor Sailboats fleet 22’- 45’, including liveaboard options. Certified ASA instructors offer professional sailing instruction for the beginner through advanced sailor for both classroom and practical on-the-water skills.

International Proficiency Certificate

FastTrack Procedure

This unique process is designed for lifelong sailors who regularly charter or own, who hold no ASA certifications, and are now being required to present the American Sailing Association’s International Proficiency Certificate. Highly qualified applicants will spend 1 full day on the water with an ASA instructor (9am-5pm). The sailor’s skills will be tested on a 41’ or larger sailboat with test material including but not limited to boat systems, navigation, boat handling, troubleshooting, safety procedures, and knots; all in accordance with ASA 104 Bareboat Chartering standards. After successfully completing the on the water skills assessment, the sailor will then take the ASA 104 written exam. After successfully completing the written exam, the sailor can then apply for the IPC directly on the ASA’s website.

Before enrolling:

  1. Resume MUST qualify.
  2. The sailor must understand the IPC FastTrack is Pass/Fail and nonrefundable.
  3. Testing is to take place on a Weekday Only.

Class Structure

On the morning of class please check-in with the club between 8:30 and 9:00, all classes starts promptly at 9:00am (click here for directions and maps). Students should bring homework, class textbook and ASA logbook to class. Hat, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended and bottled water for the boat to stay hydrated. Sailing gloves and hats are for sale in the Harbor Sailboats office. All boats are equipped with a life jacket for each student. All classes will run rain or shine so please check the forecast prior to arriving at the club.


What to Wear

While shorts and a t-shirt will suffice, pack a backpack with the following as it does cool down and can be chilly on the water (bags can be stowed onboard): jacket, long pants and sweatshirt or wind breaker. Sneakers or light soled shoes- no black soled shoes, sports flip flops only. Sunscreen, hat and glasses are strongly recommenced.


What to Expect

Plan on spending four to five hours per day, on-the-water. Each morning is spent in a classroom setting; we are firm believers that being a competent sailor depends on real world experience, so we will hasten to wrap-up the talking early so that we can go SAILING! Review, discussions and lectures should be complete by 10am and then it’s down to the boats and the San Diego Bay for the rest of the day. We strive to be back at the dock by 4:30pm, class ends at 5pm each day.

Helpful Tips

TIP 1. Class will run rain or shine so please check the forecast

TIP 2. The marina deli located on-site offers coffee, breakfast and lunch.

TIP 3. Pack a lunch, or head to the deli for a sandwich or burger. The Basic Keelboat class breaks at noon for one hour each day. Intermediate/Advanced classes may eat lunch onboard and provision ahead of time.

TIP 4. Did we mention layered clothing? Sometimes you’ll be working and moving around the boat, but in between it can get chilly even on sunny days. Stay dry and warm, bring whatever makes you comfortable and stow it onboard… there’s plenty of room!

TIP 5. The Capri 22 used for Basic Keelboat has a Porto Potty onboard, if the Porto Potty is used it must be emptied by the student at the end of each class day. Restrooms are located in the marina for your use; make your instructor aware of your needs.

TIP 6. All other class boats are equipped with a head and will be taken care of as part of the intermediate/advanced classes ASA 103 & 104

Course Challenge

The ASA “Challenge” is for sailors who have completed a sailing resume (approved by HS Sailing Director) and are qualified to the ASA Standards they wish to challenge out of. To challenge the ASA Standards one must successfully demonstrate the ASA system of Standards with both written and on the water practical examinations. The ASA 101 challenge is free with membership to qualified sailors while the ASA 103 challenge is $350 plus 6% port fee (same price as the actual course).