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Old 03-23-2007, 05:58 PM   #1
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I am in the process of finalizing reservations for our American Sailing Association, ASA 101 - 104 Sailing School! The cost is $1295 USD plus sales tax, per person. This is for my first mate and myself, including: tutition, text books, 5 days and nights living aboard, on a USCG approved 41 foot sailing yacht, with an ASA Certified Instructor / Evaluator, and his first mate, in the Carribean in late August 2007.

At the bottom of their Rates web link, it states:

Note: The above prices do not include gratuites for crew.

At first glance I thought that was "tacky". Rethinking that some, perhaps it is "tactful"; serving as a gentle reminder to those whom did not think of "Tipping for Good Service".

Is a Gratuity or Tip appropriate?

For which "services"? The whole bundle of $1295 per person? I do not know how the package deal breaks down, but part of that is "Services" and part of that is "Goods"; tuition, books, postage for the books, food, berth, business overhead, and so on.

We expect we will learn much, obtain our certificates, be treated well, feed respectable meals, and enjoy ourselves. We also expect to work very hard, faced with mental and physical challenges, having to adapt to what ever discomforts exist or occur.

If we tipped 10%, two of us would be giving those two, $52. every day.

Re-looking at their statement it says "For Crew". Are they implying just her the First Mate, and not him the Skipper?

What is an appropriate amount? Range or percentage?
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Old 03-23-2007, 06:47 PM   #2
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Aqua Man - I took all the AA courses through Bareboat as a one-week liveaboard course in the Caribbean. Took the course again a couple years later as a fun review. I think there's a lot to be said about taking a course such as that and when you consider the price is comparable to a charter, but you get all the instruction and certificiation as well, I think it's a good deal. Hope you have a geat time.

On both the courses I was on the average tip to the Captain was about $100 from each student. That was 8 & 10 years ago, but the course price was similar to what you are paying.

I can't say what is common today with different companies, but hope that is of some help.

I should probably mention I'm an ASA certified instructor myself, but don't actually teach any courses for the ASA and so don't receive any tips myself or work with other instructors who do.

- Dave Z, S/V Aurora
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Old 03-23-2007, 08:39 PM   #3
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Late August in the Caribbean...?

Hmmm I didn't realize that ASA had a course in Storm Tactics!

I'm sure you'll learn a lot and have a lot of fun.

To Life!

Kirk
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Old 03-23-2007, 09:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gallivanters View Post
Late August in the Caribbean...?

Hmmm I didn't realize that ASA had a course in Storm Tactics!

I'm sure you'll learn a lot and have a lot of fun.

To Life!

Kirk
I am glad you brought that up! Previously (months ago) I did research on hurricanes and typhons, printed and filed it. It was on my mental list to verfiy the "blow season", and where we fall in that.

I haven't paid anything yet, and will ask about weather delays and the related refund policy or rescheduling.

Maybe we will be lucky, not having to be frustrated with a sea of "glass", and learn a bit more and faster in rather "breezy" conditions.
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Old 03-23-2007, 09:33 PM   #5
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Hurricanes.

The resources today aren't as easy to find as they used to be. "HEAVY WEATHER GUIDE by Rear Admiral William J. Kotsch, USN (Ret.) and Richard Henderson. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD back in the '80s had excellent graphs of atlantic hurricane tracks and frequency by month. I don't know if the new edition does. There is an historical hurricane site on the NOAA pages, but it is more difficult to extract the information - different perspective.

In general hurricanes in June, July, and even the beginning of August tend to start off the West coast of Africa, and one usually has plenty of warning. In September (or maybe late August if the water warms up earlier in the Carib.) the tropical storms and hurricanes begin to form in the Caribbean itself, so there isn't always as much warning of a storm.

If I remember correctly, June and July hurricanes were few and far between, August would show more tropical storms and hurricanes, and September/October were usually the busiest months. Until the past several years, parts of the Carib. could go 5 or 10 years without seeing a hurricane. The odds for any given week during the season are still pretty slim of a hurricane coming through, but you should keep a weather eye.

And make sure there are provisions for: refund if the excursion is cancelled due to forecast hurricane. Refund or rescheduling if a hurricane hits while you are down there and you must evacuate. You might consider buying trip insurance - I think it would be cheap insurance for this type of excursion.

Kirk will have to remind me, but generally winds are a bit lighter in the summer months. It is also call the "wet" season - winter is the "dry". If you stay on the boat it should be comfortable, but land gets pretty hot in the summer, again because the winds are a bit lighter.

Enjoy.
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Old 03-23-2007, 10:22 PM   #6
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Gratuities are not a part of the Australian culture and are seen as one of two things; either as a quaint americanism or, as proof the boss is underpaying his staff.

Aussies are not generally tightfisted, but we do not tip. If a person is paid to do a job, he should do that job to the best of his abilities, and if he excells, his boss should grant compensation through a wage rise.

Aussies will give you 'stuff', will always help out in a pickle, will shout anyone a beer or three... but ask for a tip and you've just lost a mate. Give them a tip and they will suspect sexual motivation.

So Jeff, if I saw any advert which, by inference, begs for the provision of gratuities, I wouldn't respond. By the same token if the advert said bring a six pack and your own sausages, I would trample people in the rush.

David
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Old 03-25-2007, 06:46 AM   #7
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Quote{ I am in the process of finalizing reservations for our American Sailing Association, ASA 101 - 104 Sailing School! The cost is $1295 USD plus sales tax, per person. This is for my first mate and myself, including: tutition, text books, 5 days and nights living aboard, on a USCG approved 41 foot sailing yacht, with an ASA Certified Instructor / Evaluator, and his first mate, in the Carribean in late August 2007.

At the bottom of their Rates web link, it states:

Note: The above prices do not include gratuites for crew. }Unqoute


Why not wind them us for all of us and resquect they supply a clear definition of gratuities? i.e Does a smile from the teachers come with the job or is it part of 'gratuities?

May I suggest you word your request in such a way that you need them to reply to you with a clear simple 'Dummy's Guide to Gartuities' answer? Directly applicable to the course!!!

Look forward to reading their respnse.
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Old 03-25-2007, 04:49 PM   #8
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Auzzee- I've been to Australia a couple times, and I must say I think your approach to tipping makes much more sense than our over here does. I'm not sure how something can be considered a "Gratuity", when it's sometimes even automatically included in a bill. I understand it actually comes from a custom of bribing when our country was a bit more wild. However, it is common place with hired captains in the Caribbean and I don't think a company mentioning it should in anyways be construed as being not legit.

By the way - I really enjoyed my time in Aus. It was a long personal sea kayaking trip there 12 years ago that got me interested in cruising.
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:33 PM   #9
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Hi Yo,

I don't mind tipping and after 20 years in Aus, have to say we never ever had anyone refuse one.

But its surely horse for courses?

In the States lots of roles are so badly paid the workers only live off tips - but maybe the lousy wage is why some things / some places are so cheap?

I mean, if you can get a huge meal in Vegas for 5, whats the issue with another $5 tip, especially when similar meal with no tip in Australia costs more than both combined?

What I can't handle is an expectation of a tip with lousy or even average service..............that for me is a real no go.

Cheers

JOHN
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Old 04-01-2007, 12:27 AM   #10
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Aqua man:

I am also an ASA instructor (20 years) and I never took tips. It seemed immoral to me to expect a student to tip me when I just might fail him/her. Also I never, never allowed a couple to take the course at the same time. The male would take the lead and the partner (female) would hang back and not really learn anything or assert herself. The dynamics of the couple's relationship precludes both learning fully the subject and techniques crucial to safe sailing. Better to be on two different boats or two different time/classes. Bottom line you are waisting one whole tuition cost as one of you will be alpha and the other will milktoast it. Not a good situation when on a boat by yourselves it becomes necessary for the partner to take charge.

Late August is bad timing - like the others have mentioned it you are set on this - be sure to get a clause refunding your money should a "named storm" come your way. And in any case you will be out the airfare. There are good schools in the U.S. that are ASA and others where you can individually get the certifications.

For general info - there is no such thing as a "USCG approved 41 foot sailing yacht." And the USCG has no jurisdiction except in US waters (e.g., Puerto Rico and USVI) A USCG documented boat is not an "approved" boat. Only large passenger carrying vessels or cruise ships, etc. are USCG "inspected" - no such thing as "approved." And the inspection only has to do with the safety equipment and use thereof. Insurance companies are more concerned with the mechanical aspects of the boat and require a Marine Surveyor to go over the boat for seaworthiness. But there are more than a few ways to get around that.

Another thing, learning to sail on a 41 footer is not learning much. Basic sailing is done in under 30 footers and mid 30's are best for bareboat certification. You cannot do the emergency maneuvers and drills - make mistakes - and learn about how to do it better in a large sailboat. Would parallel parking lessons be better done in a tour bus or a compact car.

It sounds as if what your are buying is an overpriced crewed yacht charter where they will let you handle the wheel occasionally. The ASA courses involve much more - from basic nomenclature of the boat to pre-sail inspections, systems operations, sail handling, emergency drills, navigation and regulations. All of that takes more than 5 days and normally you get the books before you arrive as it takes many days to absorb the content and understand how things work.

If you are already an experienced sailor and are only looking for the ASA bareboat certification to be able to "'rent" a charterboat in the Carib then maybe this is an Okay way of doing that. But if you are new to sailing you are risking an awful lot more than the money they are charging. Out on the oceans there isn't anyplace to "pull over" and call AA for assistance. You can do serious damage to your wallet if not your bodies unless you know the basics and take the proper time to learn how and how not to do things.

Enjoy the high priced crewed charter - be sure to get a "named storm" refund clause - and afterwards enroll in a sailing school back home and really learn to safely sail.

I am currently sailing in the Florida to US Virgins area for the last 12 months and so far 4 deaths and 6 sunken sailboats due to inexperience and faulty decision making. And it is only March. Sailing can be the best experience you can share together, but do it slowly and wisely. The ocean does not forgive mistakes and ignorance.
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Old 04-01-2007, 03:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
Gratuities are not a part of the Australian culture and are seen as one of two things; either as a quaint americanism or, as proof the boss is underpaying his staff.

Aussies are not generally tightfisted, but we do not tip. If a person is paid to do a job, he should do that job to the best of his abilities, and if he excells, his boss should grant compensation through a wage rise.

Aussies will give you 'stuff', will always help out in a pickle, will shout anyone a beer or three... but ask for a tip and you've just lost a mate. Give them a tip and they will suspect sexual motivation.

So Jeff, if I saw any advert which, by inference, begs for the provision of gratuities, I wouldn't respond. By the same token if the advert said bring a six pack and your own sausages, I would trample people in the rush.

David
I was going to comment that Aussie wouldn't tip, that I remember from Australia. I always tip though, living here in the states, it's expected, and appreciated.

Robin
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Old 04-01-2007, 08:54 AM   #12
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@osirissailing



Welcome aboard and good post! What you have said is very true. I also don't believe that a couple should do this type of course together AND I prefer the more traditional situation with a lecture room facility ashore with yacht at the dock for the practical. I seriously have my doubts about the courses sold "out on the boat" in the Caribbean, etc. This is serious stuff for which you pay a lot of money - it should not be an "extended, working holiday". Go to a proper accredited academy - not a one-man show aboard his boat.
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:30 PM   #13
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The following link happened to be on my browser window. I had to click and read it, as it reminded me of the question I had in this post, a few months back.

The author provides another perspective of "Tips Out of Control".

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/YourM...3&GT1=10222

Click on: < Full Story > on the right, below the Tip Jar, which redirects to:

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Savin...oseTipJars.aspx

I hate beggars; disguised as service workers, or those insistent on a tip, or think it is mandatory right.

Worse those that get pushy to do a service, (e.g. grab your luggage; which you NEVER wanted them to touch, much less move from your pile, off in a direction you never intended in going, before you finished with business at hand), than insist you OWE them for doing so. ARGH! The nerve!

I still think tip appropriately for good service when and where customary. The problem lies in that one is not always certain of the custom.

Jeff
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