I’m Basic Keelboat Sailing Certified (ASA 101)

Here in SF Bay you are great crew but still can’t do a bareboat charter yourself. You need to graduate Basic Coastal Cruising to skipper. Some great ways to get some practice?

  • Put your name on the bulletin board in the office whether you are looking to crew or for crew. It's a great way to go sailing with folks who know the boats and the area you'll be sailing.  Do this on your first day of Basic Keelboat! It's a great idea to share your contact info with your classmates when you are going through the lessons.  
  • Join a crew list. For some reason there isn’t much popularity to crew lists. We have no idea why. We tried to manage our own crew list years ago but it was too hard to manage as people were using it inappropriately (trying to find dates). Three good sources are:
  • Crew on a race boat.  This is quite possibly the BEST way to hone your skills. It’s much easier than you think. Near our office in the Harbor is South Beach Yacht Club which hosts a very successful Friday Night ‘Beercan” series. SBYC is a friendly group and it’s as simple as standing by Gate 2 on a Friday night with your lifejacket in hand, maybe a 6-pak of beer and note saying “Have Beer - Take Me Sailing”  The average sailboat effectively needs 5-6 (often more) people aboard to go racing. Expect on day one that you’ll be riding the rail as moveable ballast but the more you show up, the more responsibility you’ll have. It’s difficult for boat owners to develop reliable crew so they’re more than willing to provide opportunity to those who show up!  By the third time out on the boat you’ll be trimming sails, rigging and helping get the boat around the racecourse. One season of racing will equal 5 seasons of cruising. The average racing sailor is out on the water 18+ times per year vs the cruiser who sails less than 8 times per year.  Once you fall in love with racing, the world is your oyster. On average there are over 1200 regatta events on SF Bay Annually, some of them part of the “West Coast Majors (Multi-Day Events)”….it really is a racing mecca here!
  • Too shy to just show up?  Let us know you’re interested in racing and we’ll invite you to one of the post race gatherings after one of the Friday Night Regattas. SBYC opens its doors to crews to enjoy some post race beers, burgers etc while waiting for the race results. Just go in, grab a badge saying you’re a host of Drew and meet lots of crews and skippers. Tell them you are certified and looking to join a crew. You’ll walkout with more contacts than you can possibly manage.

I’m Basic Coastal Cruising Certified (ASA 103)

Thank you for taking Basic Coastal Cruising with the Spinnaker Sailing Team! Assuming you’ve taken and passed your BCC written exam, you are now eligible to take ASA 118a “Docking, Maneuvering, Outboard Operation & Troubleshooting.” Once you’ve passed this class you are good to go on bareboat charter boats up to 27ft including the Andrews 21, Santana 22 , Santa Cruz 27 and the new J/80.

Planning on going all the way to ASA 104 - Bareboat Cruising? The Learn to Sail + add-on (below) is a GREAT way to save money while passing all the prerequesits for this class. One fee covers all your lessons and bareboat charters, saving you $515


Your first 5 charters MUST be SOUTH of the Bay Bridge. Once you’ve done those, you then take the “High Wind Endorsement Class” (HWE) which is taught in very high winds, in the middle of the Bay aboard the J/80. This class will build your confidence and skills so you can sail the Bay safely and confidently with your crew. After that you can go anywhere east of the Golden Gate. Additionally, every time you take a new boat out you MUST start at 9am. As part of our agreement with our insurance underwriters, your first 2 charters must be on the Andrews 21  It’s the simplest boat in the fleet as the engine/tiller are next to each other for ease of operation. Additionally we have just installed long range fuel tanks on the 21’a so you never have to worry about running out of gas! We’ve also installed new mainsails with higher booms so there’s plenty of headroom now! Once you get your first couple of charters under your belt on the Andrews we suggest you try the Santana 22. Like the A21 she also has the convenience of the engine/tiller being next to each other. The S22 was designed for SF Bay by Gary Mull, a world famous naval architect. She handles the Bay’s blustery winds very well and has a lovely interior too.  She sails like a dream!

Here’s the Bareboat Charter Prices.

Here's a great checklist to help you on your first few charters.

As you are now becoming a skipper you need the following:


Central Bay Chart

San Pablo Bay Chart

South Bay Chart

- Tide Book (we have them at the office for free
- or -
- Even Better, the Ayetides App

- Navigation Tools (we have these in stock at the office)

Weather Forecasting

    • Chris Bedford & Peter Isler have done a great job with this Intro to Weather. Both are very successful offshore races and KNOW weather!  

    Local Weather forecasting Apps
  • - Predict Wind

  • - Sailflow


    You may want to think about getting a copy of the book, Cruising San Francisco Bay (we have these in stock at the office). It’s an awesome overview of all the spots to sail to in the Bay.


    Here’s a great little video to remind you how to start the Suzuki 2.5 Outboard! https://youtu.be/QKsO-Eogk90?t=445

    Since reefing is almost a daily activity on the Bay, below you’ll find a comprehensive guide on how to reef properly. Please read it and if you have ANY questions, contact the office.

    USE (memorize) THIS BAREBOAT CHECKLIST. It's a very helpful document 

    Sailing on San Francisco Bay. Please be very respectful and observant of the elements. The weather can change very quickly here. SF Bay is one of the toughest inland bodies of water to sail safely. The combination of very high winds, extreme currents and commercial ship traffic make this a sailors mecca for those who plan ahead and keep their wits about them and for those who don’t it can quickly turn into your own private hell. Stay sharp, stay Safe!

    Here’s the “First Charter Agreement” you’ll be signing on day one.

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    If you're interested in moving onto the next step in the program, Intermediate Coastal Cruising, (sometimes call Bareboat Charter Class) you need 7 charters plus HWE (high wind endorsement) with you as captain on record. So give us a call and start scheduling your charters now!

    Intermediate Coastal Cruising is taught on the J/105, a top of the line racing vessel that will surely invigorate your sailing mojo. ICC is a two day course starting at 9am and ending at 5pm. Much like BCC we have a heavy emphasis on safety. Typically you’ll start the class crawling through the boat and learning all the ins and outs...then straight out onto the water for a long, fun day of sailing! ASA 105 Coastal Navigation is pre-requisite to your ASA 104 certificate being issued. Coastal Navigation is a self-paced, self-study course that is easy, fun and one of the better life skills you can master!

    I’m Bareboat Charter Certified (ASA 104 Intermediate Coastal Cruising)

    After passing Intermediate Coastal Cruising You’ll then be eligible to join our fantastic TimeShare Sailing Program which includes three GREAT large yachts, the sailing yachts J/105 ‘Wonder,’ the Beautiful Beneteau 37 ‘Valkyrie’ and the motor yacht 'SeaBee'







  • You’re now eligible to charter everything in the Spinnaker Sailing fleet, East of the Golden Gate Bridge. You will also find chartering everywhere else on the planet much easier. It’s imperative that you log every single sailing day, even the ones where you’re crewing. You don’t know, perhaps one day you’ll want to get your US Coast Guard Captains license and you’ll need to document 360 8 hour days at sea to get your first rating.

    Interested in Buying a Boat?

    Many of our students go on to boat ownership. Both Drew and Garett at Spinnaker Sailing have Yacht Sales licenses at Rubicon Yachts.  We can help find the perfect boat for you. A quick conversation and we'll have a few options for you to look at online. Interested in seeing a couple?  We can set it up so you can safely view a few boats which greatly helps define what you'll ultimately buy. We do this as a service to our students at no cost. Even if you're interested in buying a boat off Craigslist, we'll gladly guide you through the process. It's part of us going the extra mile to ensure that your sailing experiences are fun & safe. Call us with any questions you have. We're here for you.  Call the office at 415-543-7333

    Obtaining the International Proficiency Certification


    Chartering your own sailboat in a new destination is a rite of passage for most sailors. The freedom to sail your own plan and set your itinerary is a dream come true for anyone who has ever tossed the lines and held onto the mainsheet.  A bareboat charter is the definition of freedom on the water. 

    Are you qualified to Bareboat Charter? That is a question that charter companies will ask when deciding whether or not to put you in charge of your own vessel.  In the Caribbean, charter companies will often use your ASA logbook, certifications, and sailing resume as evidence of your sailing experience.  In Europe, the situation is a bit different and you will most likely need an International Proficiency Certificate (IPC) to charter your own boat. 

    We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the International Proficiency Certificate to help you on your journey.

    International Proficiency Certificate FAQ's

    How do I get the IPC? 

    Only sailors who have been certified through ASA 104, Bareboat Cruising can get the International Proficiency Certificate by completing the application on the ASA website. Find it here. The IPC is valid for 5 years from the date of issue.

    What do I need to do to get the IPC?

    You must be certified through at least ASA 104, Bareboat Cruising, in order to be eligible to apply for an International Proficiency Certificate.  Your certifications should include:

    Where do I get the discounted membership?

    All sailors applying for an IPC through the ASA website are also eligible for special pricing on a 1-year ASA Membership – Save 20%, pay only $39 and take advantage of all the benefits of being a member of ASA. (Available to members within the United States)

    What is the IPC?

    The IPC serves as proof of bareboat charter competency for Mediterranean chartering companies, many of whom require the proficiency information displayed in a different format than the ASA Log Book. This certificate is mandatory when chartering in most European / Mediterranean waters. 

    An International Proficiency Certificate indicates that you have a certain level of proficiency and competency to safely operate a type/size of vessel. An IPC provides a certification which many Mediterranean charter companies view as equivalent to the ICC. Please note that any certification should also be paired with the appropriate sailing resume and you should check with your intended charter company to verify what they require.

    Do I need an IPC to sail in the Med or internationally?

    This certificate is mandatory when chartering in most European / Mediterranean waters. ASA strongly recommends you apply for an International Proficiency Certificate if you are chartering in the Mediterranean as well as the inland waterways of Europe and northern Europe.

    What’s the difference between the IPC and the ICC?

    The International Certificate of Competence (ICC) came about via UN Resolution 40 (UNR40), which was signed at various levels by some governments.  Only agents of countries that have signed UNR40 can issue it. The United States is not a signatory to UNR40, so there is no US-based ICC agent. The ICC is exactly what it is named. It is mostly used around EU countries to certify that the charterer has the minimum skills necessary. Some countries require you to have the ICC before they will charter a yacht to you.

    Not every country requires you to have an ICC. However, most charter companies will not charter a boat to you without an ICC, or an equivalent certificate. Since it isn’t easy for a US-based sailor to obtain an ICC, the ASA has an agreement with Mediterranean charter companies to provide a certification similar to the ICC called the International Proficiency Certificate (IPC).

    Please note that any certification should also be paired with the appropriate sailing resume and you should check with your intended charter company to verify what they require.

    What countries does the IPC work in?

    Belarus, Croatia, France, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey.

    Do I need an IPC if I’m using my own boat / motorboat?

    No. These certifications are typically utilized by charter companies. However, you should inform yourself on the boating rules and regulations of the regions you plan on sailing in.

    How long does the IPC last for?

    The IPC is valid for 5 years from date of issue.

    When applying for an IPC you must:

    • Be an ASA member in good standing. (current)
    • Have the required ASA certifications: ASA 101, ASA 103, ASA 104
    • Provide a photo for the IPC certificate

    Questions?  Call or Email us

    Pier 40 South Beach Harbor San Francisco, CA 94107


    E: staff@Spinnaker-Sailing.com

    W: http://spinnaker-sailing.com

    Fair Winds.....the Crew