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Black Rock Sailing School

ASA Course Challenges (Test Outs)

Many of you have quite a bit of sailing experience and would like to “skip” a course or two and take a more advanced course.

Some experienced boaters have realized that certain countries require an International Proficiency Certificate that you can obtain by having ASA 104 Bareboat Cruising certification and applying for one through the American Sailing Association (instructions are on their website).

Course challenges are pass/fail, take approximately four hours to complete (an ASA 104 challenge requires an overnight), and cost $400 per course (for ASA 101 & 103).

We take the ASA standards seriously, and our school’s curriculum greatly exceeds the ASA standards at every level.  We do not give these certifications away – so you will have to earn it.

To “Challenge” ASA 101 or not?

You have two options:

1) You can Challenge out of the first level – ASA 101 Basic Keelboat.  If you have a good amount of prior experience, have checked out the link on this websites ASA 101 course description page to see the theory and practical skills needed to pass ASA 101, and feel you can EASILY pass the course, then challenging out of the class is the way to go.  Only challenge if you are 100% confident that you will pass!  Most people do pass because of this advice.

Instead of spending three days with us, you would spend four hours with us at a cost of $400 plus a one-time ASA certification fee of $39.  You would take the 100 question multiple choice exam, demonstrate tying about seven knots, and then go out on a Colgate 26 for a few hours to prove all of the practical skills.  If you pass, we simply sign off on 101.

2) If you are NOT 100% confident that you could pass a Challenge on the first try, then we highly recommend you take the actual three day 101 course to build a solid foundation and fill in any knowledge/practical gaps that may exist.

Our curriculum is designed to meet a wide range of experience levels.  Parts of the course will be review, a large portion will fill in knowledge/practical gaps, and then a certain amount of the course content will be completely new to you.

Our instructors teach to each individual, and can easily switch from “teaching mode” to “coaching mode” to challenge those in need and make things more interesting.  Hundreds of experienced sailors seeking a refresher have taken our 101 course over the years and everyone found it to be worthwhile.  We will ensure that everyone knows the proper way to perform each skill.

To “Challenge” ASA 103 or not?

This has the same exact format and pricing as the ASA 101 Challenge – except all practical skills will be completed on a larger Hunter yacht with an inboard diesel.  Here is a link to the ASA 103 standards/requirements to pass.

Quite a few people have successfully challenged ASA 103 with us, and all who took the course after an unsuccessful challenge were extremely happy that they went through our rigorous program.  The structured docking, anchoring, reefing, c.o.b. recovery, chart orientation, etc. etc. etc. is beneficial to most.   I highly recommend taking the 103 course since the 103 challenge looks for near perfection on everything.  If you are 100% confident that you can pass, then a challenge is the way to go!

To “Challenge” ASA 104 or not?

ASA courses are progressive and require ASA certification in all levels leading up to the Bareboat Charter Course 104 (i.e. Basic Keelboat 101, and Basic Coastal Cruising 103).

We usually recommend registering for the Coastal Cruising Course as an excellent review, a way for us to insure that there are no gaps in knowledge, and for the student to get used to our teaching style and curriculum.  There isn’t really enough time in the Bareboat Charter Course to go back and “re-teach” skills that should have been mastered in either 101 or 103.  Here is a link to the ASA 104 standards/requirements to pass.

To date, we have not met anyone who hasn’t benefited greatly from taking our four-day livaboard ASA 104 course.  Because of this fact, we rarely offer ASA 104 challenges.  However, if you have an exceptional sailing background, and are eager to challenge, we will consider 104 challenges on a case by case basis.


These are treated like private lessons.  We recommend booking weeks in advance.  ASA 101 & 103 challenges are available Monday – Thursday from 10am – 2pm OR 2pm – 6pm, as well as Friday – Sunday from 9am – 1pm.

ASA 104 challenges to be scheduled on a case by case basis.



$425 per person/per course for ASA 101 & 103

Plus OPTIONAL ASA textbook package (Sailing Made Easy & ASA Logbook) or (Coastal Cruising Made Easy & ASA Logbook) for $29.95, OR ASA Logbook for $14.00, and a required one-time ASA processing fee of $39.00 (includes a one-year ASA membership and a sailing magazine subscription)

$999 per person for an ASA 104 challenge
Plus OPTIONAL ASA textbook package (Bareboat Cruising Made Easy & ASA Logbook) for $49.95, OR ASA Logbook for $14.00, and a required one-time ASA processing fee of $39.00 (includes a one-year ASA membership and a sailing magazine subscription)

Note: Sales tax on books is required, and a $7 shipping fee will be charged for all book packages.


  • Learn aboard boats that are young, safe, comfortable and simply the best learning platforms available.
  • We provide all safety equipment.  Information on what to wear/bring will be sent out upon course registration.

All course dates and pricing are subject to change until you are registered. REFER to your Registration Card provided in your course information for the actual course dates that were discussed at time of your course registration, or give Brenton a call!

Our course policies and refund/date switching policies are mailed with all course books and course information – otherwise available upon request – and are subject to change until you are registered.

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