Learn to sail with Lauren

Getting My Feet Wet

By: Learn To Sail

Join Lauren on her adventure as she embarks on a journey to learn to sail. Follow her as she gets her feet wet as a beginner, gains experience, and earns her ASA certifications. The ultimate goal is to complete ASA 104 and go bareboat chartering somewhere exotic.

ASA 101.1 – Getting My Feet Wet

In just fifteen short hours, my days of watching from the shorelines are over. I usually don’t buy into the “New year, new me” attitude that comes along after the holiday season, but this time is different. I’m feeling a strong sense that this year is the year, when I stop making excuses and start making moves toward the life I want. This is the year I trade in my bystander hat for a flashy pair of partaker shades. Step number one: become a legit, ASA-certified, bonafide sailor.

This is something I have always wanted to do, but it has always seemed out of reach. There has been a little voice in my head who is apparently an impassioned landlubber:

  • I will never be able to afford a boat, so what’s the point?
  • I’m not physically strong enough to maneuver a sailing vessel.
  • What if I get seasick? Or worse, what if I take too much sea-sickness medication?
  • Sailing is reserved for wealthy people and/or salty barnacle-covered people.
  • What if I end up in a “Castaway”-type situation? Can I pull off the loincloth look?

That little voice has been given a striped shirt, strapped into a pair of dock shoes, and is coated in sunblock, because this is happening whether she can pull off the loincloth or not.

Santa Barbara Harbor

Not a bad place to get this adventure started


I headed down to the Santa Barbara Sailing Center this week to sign up for the ASA 101 course, and met the staff with giddy excitement masking slight intimidation. The dock hosts kayaks, paddleboards, several small sailing vessels, a medium one, and a couple large ones (I am looking forward to learning their actual names). One of the larger boats was being loaded up with food and drinks. A few friends in their late twenties were heading out to Channel Islands National Park for the weekend. “They just completed the 103 course.” Ian, the Sailing Center’s manager, shook my hand and gave me a brief tour of the dock. He handed me a textbook with a small log book. “It’s good to keep track of your sails,” he said. Sails, plural. This is going to become a part of my life.

When I got home I received an email with everything I need to know: what to bring, what to wear, and what to study. This week I made some flashcards as I flipped through the Sailing Made Easy book. There are many terms to learn but there’s something neat about learning sailor speak- some of the expressions and terms make me feel like I’m stepping back in time.

Sailing Made Easy Textbook

Jib, jibe, genoa? These flashcards are saving my life right now.


The anticipation is hard to describe: somewhere between a child on a road trip to Disneyland and a fifteen-year-old on the night before the big DMV test. The idea of sailing a ship intimidates me; it’s hard to believe that by the end of this weekend I will be able to leave the dock on a small vessel on my own! That is, of course, if I pass. Back to the flashcards I must go.

Meet Lauren Lauren Coiro

Lauren is a marine conservationist, writer, and advocate for ocean-friendly living. She’s spent her entire life in the water, snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking, and has traveled to various parts of the world to study the ocean’s biodiversity and explore coastal communities. Lauren realized that the very best way to experience and appreciate the marine world is to get out there and start sailing!

With her ASA certifications Lauren hopes to make sailing a permanent part of her life and to connect with like-minded people who share her love of the sea. She admires the hard work and simplicity that can come with the nautical lifestyle and is eager to share how her ASA experience raises questions, challenges, and new opportunities along the way.