Byline: Ambrosia Brody
NEWPORT BEACH — Newport Beach Sailing School has been recognized for the quality of its courses and teaching methods by the American Sailing Association (ASA). The school has received ASA’s Outstanding Sailing School of the Year award, besting 350 ASA-affiliated sailing institutions worldwide.
Each year, the top 20 schools receive the coveted award, which is based on student feedback. ASA sends surveys to students who have taken courses in those 350 schools, asking them to evaluate the course and instructor.
“This is a validation of the fact that we always thought we provided the best sailing lessons,” said Chris Jester, president of Newport Beach Sailing School. “This kind of proves that.”
Newport Beach Sailing School also received the award in 2008 and 2010.
Located on Pacific Coast Highway, the school specializes in private and semi-private sailing instruction. Standing by its motto “the best value in private sailing lessons,” Newport Beach Sailing School never puts more than two students in the course at a time. The individualized attention helps set the school apart from other sailing institutions.
“Students learn better in a smaller class and come away really feeling they have a private coach,” Jester said.
First-time sailors and old salts looking to brush up on their skills will both find courses of interest at the school. Numerous classes, from basic keelboat to advanced coastal cruising certification classes, are offered. Courses are scheduled based on each student’s time availability, so that work and school do not interfere with sailing instruction.
Newport Beach Sailing School participants also spoke highly of Capt. Mike Kohl, who received ASA’s Outstanding Sailing Instructor of the Year award.
“I was surprised to receive the award, since we have so many talented instructors at our school,” Kohl said. “I like working for Newport Beach Sailing School, because we have one of the newest and best-maintained fleets in the industry.”
For the past six years, the Huntington Beach native has taught students the ins and outs of sailing on the school’s fleet of Harbor 20s and boats in the 35-foot range. Kohl brings 20 years of sailing experience to his courses and a love of boating that is addicting.
“Capt. Kohl is one of those people who is really easy to get along with,” Jester said. “He really knows his stuff and bonds with people.”
The avid sailor began sailing when he was 16 years old. He sailed for five years on a cruise that took him down the Panama Canal and through the Caribbean on his 39-foot Catalina 390, Haleakala.
ASA presents the award to the top 30 sailing instructors. There are 1,500 instructors worldwide.