Cleveland and Feinstein Schools On Clipper Cove

crabs in trapSSLearn is in full swing at TICS. Spring classes started in April and continue through May. Fourth graders from Cleveland School and Dianne Feinstein School each spent a day at Treasure Island Sailing Center recently. Experiential learning looks like fun!

Thanks to the San Francisco America’s Cup Organizing Committee and Citry of San Francisco’s ONESF:Celebrate the Cup program every fourth grader in San Francisco will be able to spend a day on the bay learning about the ecology of the bay and Dungeness crabs, San Francisco maritime history, or renewable energy. And go for a sail at Treasure Island Sailing Center on Clipper Cove!

What makes TISC’s SSLearn experiential learning program unique is the curriculum and how it’s delivered. Each day is split into two parts: inside and outside ivan framed by oakland craneshands-on activities sharing ideas, learning about bay creatures and history, and reinforcing what’s been learned through open discussion; and time in a sailboat driving, touching the water, grabbing seaweed, and experiencing the effects of wind, tide, currents.Luxine explains



Presentation timeSan Francisco Unified School District 4th grade classes are split into two groups for their SSLearn day at TISC. While 15 kids pilot RS Venture sailboats the other group learns about crabs, ecology, math and the environment through open discussions. After lunch they switch.

Our activity center is for learning and exploring; we never refer to it as a classroom. No chairs – sometimes the kids stand for open discussion, other times they’re on the floor listening to group presentations.Activity center - three

Playing “The Oh Crab Population Game” provides a chance for outside “energy burn” while gathering statistics which the kids graph, analyze and discuss. Our ecology curriculum teaches kids about what’s needed to survive, like oxygen, food and shelter.

Kids line up representing either the environment or crabs. With backs turned (OK, some prefer to “peek”) each decides on oxygen (holding nose), food (hands on stomachs) or shelter (hands over heads). A match means more crabs – population increases. If what the crabs decide they need is not available in the environment crabs die and their population decreases.

crab game - lookingcrab game - matching

crab game - deciding
SSL Work bookEach student receives a workbook they fill out and take home with them for post-trip study. Other land-based lessons include, crab finding, compass study, and discussions about rising or falling tides. Our SSL curriculum meets California State Standards; the lesson plans identify how the materials support reading, writing, math, graphing skills, and communication to name a few.

We keep the activity center stocked with pictures and posters from sailing on and around the bay. Reference materials and “eyes on” equipment are also readily available.OTUSA poster microscope

Students get to experience the wind and water while in sailboats on Clipper Cove. Some get to steer the boat if they want to. Notice the break in the eastern span of the old Bay Bridge.correy kids drivingthree RSVs framed by old eastern span

While taking pictures I always challenge them with questions about the wind and compass directions -“Point toward Ohio”, or “Which way is West”? By the way, the Golden Gate Bridge is almost perfectly aligned north/ south, and can be seen from most points on Clipper Cove. East is that way

west is that wayWhen asked “what was your favorite part of the sail?” one student answered “I put my feet in the water.” Others were excited to find “mermaid hair” on the cove and by the dock.mermaid hair on the water

mermaid hair - on the dockMy favorite pictures from these SSL days are the kids smiles – whether on or off the water. Can never be too many of them!romell with five pointing and smilescorrey kids smiling activity center - southern view Annie four waving activity center - fiveIvan hiking

Free BusThese classes are provided at no charge to SFUSD fourth graders. Bus transportation to/from Treasure Island Sailing Center is also included.

Regards from On Clipper Cove, D-

In the wake:

You can read another post about the John Yehall Chin Elementary School fourth grade kids who attended an SS Learn class at TISC last fall.

Go to the registration page to sign up for the few remaining Spring Classes. If you have questions about the SS LEARN program or would like to register for the Fall 2014 session send an email to

You can also download a brochure with more information about SS Learn at TISC.


Connecting the Donor Dots

Thanks to supportive donors and generous grants our J/24 fleet has grown to seven.  Because of volunteers like Michael, Nigel and Sam, Delos and Barney headed for Pt. Richmond in yesterday’s fog. They’ll look new after Bay Marine Boatworks finishes.fog and bay bridge frame Clipper Cove

As we drove over the new Bay Bridge back to TISC after delivering two  J/24’s and a trailer to Bay Marine I was struck by the number of people and organizations who made this first step in our fleet renovation possible.  As always the beneficiaries of their generosity are kids in our summer youth classes, year-around outreach program, and just-started SS Learn program.

delos arriving at TISC DockDelos arrived on New Year’s Eve 2009.  I remember the ultra high tide as we motored from Marina Green to TI, arriving to a Bay Bridge still very much under construction.  The motor donated by Adam Slote and the trailer from RIch Jepson at OCSC are still key ingredients to our fleet.  While the bottom growth on Delos was not as populated with marine Delos Keelgrowth as we found on Barney, it did take some serious scraping to remove it.

When I asked Michael Weinman to help with our transit to Richmond, I made sure he knew this was a fun “messing about in boats” job, not the grungy job he signed up for when Barney arrived.  You may recall that clean up job from a previous blog.

Nigel and Mike unstepping the mastNigel Tunecliff showed up early Wednesday to help get boats launched and masts out..  We decided to use the 1-ton crane rather than ginn-poles, and with the tide rather low all proceeded smoothly after coaxing a few turnbuckles clockwise. Michael arrived right on time just as we removed the second mast..

With Delos and Skipper’s Gift motors mounted, Michael and Sam Warner got under way slightly behind schedule after a rudder switch on Delos. While starting to lift, the fog was still very much with us as they headed into a rather gray bay to “Red 6” just outside the Richmond Break wall.Departing for Pt. Richmond

Left at the end of Pier 1Michael took these two pictures after they turned north at Pier 1 and as they ghosted  past Angel Island. Sam ghosts past Angel Island

Bay Marine Boatworks will sand and fix the hulls, apply two coats of epoxy, then polish the hulls above the waterline.  To accomplish this they will use our only road-worthy trailer, retired  earlier this year from Moore 24 duty after Karl Robrock’s gracious donation in support of Matt Harper’s gift of Barney.

My plan to get a nice picture with the sun out and two J/24’s teaming into Richmond Breakwater was foiled by Michael and Sam’s rapid transit. They made it just over 90 minutes !Mike and Sam at Bay Marine

Many connections, donations and volunteer hours lead up to our J/24 Fleet upgrade. The final and most critical was this summer’s donation from Team Luna Rossa via the Americas Cup Event Authority.  Funds from their donation provided the opportunity for the work now being started at Bay Marine, and for the furniture in the new Activity Center now on line to support SS Learn.  Both support our goal of providing launching points for new horizons for kids of all ages.

Regards from On the Cove,

Dave G





Jimmy to Kids: “Never Give Up”

On Clipper Cove is usually about kids’ smiles and volunteers’ hours. This one is different.  Today’s message is for our kids, not about them: “Never give up and always support your team”.

We watched 19 America’s Cup races on our iPad, from the spit in front of Marina Green or from The Bay. Our entire family was aboard Skipper’s Gift as we watched fateful race 8 from the windward mark when the Kiwis nearly tipped over. Yesterday we were fortunate to watch from the deck on  Golden Gate Yacht Club.

The media briefings following each day’s racing were as educational, insightful and motivational as the races were exciting.  Jimmy Spithill and Dean Barker both remained poised under the relentless barrage of questions from the media.

Jimmy was positive and “single-messaged” at all times. As the score started to heavily favor New Zealand and even when Oracle Team USA was down 1-8 his message remained the same: “Our design team, shore team and sailing team are all working together to make the boat faster and we will never give up”.

Building self-confidence can often be harder than teaching communications, goal setting and team work to young sailors. In fact, self confidence can only be gained, it can’t be taught.  Dedicated instructors and coaches, adults who really care, and role models like ALL the AC teams make a big difference in motivate kids to work toward self-confidence.

We have always taught our teams to play their best and have fun.  At the end of the day, winning is always more fun than loosing.

Here again, Jimmy’s final message was positive and encouraging.  He acknowledged the boat performance and boat handling leadership New Zealand provided to everyone.  When he said this was a tough fought match and unfortunate someone had to loose, it was clear he meant it.  Same with everyone from OTUSA I saw interviewed.

Were you able to fight back that small tear in your eye when the TV cameras showed the young kiwi on his father’s shoulders with the New Zealand flag in the background during the presentation of the Americas Cup ?  I was not.

Sailing programs around the world will benefit from the excitement generated by the 34th America’s Cup. The 19 races over 19 days on these amazing foiling 72′ cats delivered a historical event which has changed how people view sailing forever.

The material legacy from this event can already be seen around SF Bay with new docks and refurbished piers.  The Cup’s impact on fourth graders in the San Francisco Unified School District will start next week when students show up at TISC to attend the first “Set Sail Learn” classes we created in  partnership with the San Francisco America’s Cup Organizing Committee and ONESF: Celebrate the Cup.

Regards from On The Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

All the races and press briefings are located here: America’s Cup on Youtube

Jimmy’s “imagine what an upset this would be if we won out from here” is at the very end (21:05) of the September 14th media briefingThe snippet where Jimmy talks about that possibility is here: Imagine . . .

Links to the Redbull/Oracle “No Second Place” videos about the AC 72’s and SF bay.

Episode 1 – About the race
Episode 2 – Training
Episode 3 – AC72 Technology
Episode 4 – Foiling
Episode 5 – Sailing the Bay
Episode 6 – Defending the Cup

A few pictures from the final race:

Jimmy talked about “the old girl” and the increase in upwind speed obtained over the last two weeks. It was this upwind performance that turned the tide in favor of AC17.   AC17 Upwind

OTUSA AC17 and Aotearoa foil downwind during the last race.AC17 Foiling Downwind

AotearoaCrowds from all over the bay watch as Oracle Team USA head for the finish line after 19 hard-fought races.OTUSA Heads For Finish Line

StFYC Juniors Head Out As the crowds dissipated junior sailors from St. Francis Yacht Club head out for practice on what just hours ago was the greatest racetrack in America’s Cup History.StFYC Juniors on SF Bay






Two Days, Two Bays, Kids Smiles

We spent yesterday with our kids on the bay with AC72s, O’pen BICs and Emirates Simulators.  Thursday was photo day on Clipper Cove for the last TISC summer session. Hiking, gybing and capsizing with kids smiles all around.

Last things first. On Sunday we watched race two of the LVC series with our kids.  Our favorite viewing spot is just east of Golden Gate Yacht Club.  The stands west of St. Francis Yacht Club also offer great views, as do the stands and breakwall at Marina Green.

The Americas Cup Event Authority created a packed schedule of events on and off the water at Marina Green and AC Village.  This weekend BIC Sports hosted 20 kids aged 10-14 from the US, New Zealand, Hawaii and Bermuda to sail O’pen BICs right in front of the Marina Green grandstand. The course was a zig-zag with final upwind.  Check out this video for some of the action from Sunday.bic-slalom

The rules for this event include required sailing maneuvers called for in real-time by on-course judges.  As the kids rounded a mark the may be told “stand up”, “gybe”, or “capsize”.bic-stand upbic - alcatraz bic-capsize

Following the AC72 and O’Pen BIC sailing we visited AC park where we enjoyed the Kids Zone and racing the Emirates sailing simulators. Would have been nice to have time for a nap on the bean bag chairs!

We often talk about the many life lessons included in the TISC sailing curriculum such as self confidence, communication, teamwork and leadership.  Of course a key objective of our programs is to train junior sailors to continue with their life on the bay be it through racing, instructing or simply enjoying.  This means seamanship, boathandling and safety drills.

Last Thursday’s lessons during the final summer sailing session of the year, were typical of a day on Clipper Cove.  Some kids were challenged with mark rounding rules while racing FJs while others in Bugs played follow the leader.TISC - sorting it out TISC - upwind

As was the case with the O’pen BIC races, our instructors also required sailors to capsize “on demand” while racing.  Winds were on the light side Thursday morning so some capsizes had to be helped along by shifting weight to leeward.TISC- fj righting TISC - team practice TISC - going over

The bugs also got in the act with capsize drills.TISC-bug righting

Just like on SF Bay, the winds pick up in the afternoon at TISC as well.  A favorite part of the day is the downwind sail home.TISC-homeward bound TISC - downwind

Above all else, safety is the #1 Priority at Treasure Island Sailing Center.  Lifejackets are worn at all times and instructors watch over the capsize drills.TISC-Lifejackets TISC-rigging and safety

TISC-safety boat

While most of our instructors have returned to school or jobs, others are looking forward to the Fall.  You can find information on our Fall Programs HERE.

Regards from on the Bay and on the Cove,

Dave G


In the Wake:

If you are a parent with a child who took lessons at TISC and would like to view more pictures let me know via email ( and I will provide a link to high quality, password-protected JPEGs you can view or download.  Be sure to include your name, your child’s name, the session attended and a memory your student shared with you about sailing at TISC.

Even better, if you would like to help our team create a 2-3 minute slide show about TISC  SMILES please contact Madison in the TISC office.

ACEA Community Outreach Programs Benefit TISC

Twenty three TISC students had front-row seats for Race 3 of the Louis Vuitton Cup semi-finals courtesy of the America’s Cup Event Authority.  Our team used public transportation and boats to get everyone to Marina Green. Some made it back.

Thank you Kelly Cowden for providing tickets to last Friday’s LVC race between Artemis and Luna Rosa. Thanks also to Chris Childers and Madison Gattis for figuring out the logistics of getting kids, staff, guests and parents to the venue before the event and re-connected after the event.  Even real-time glitches in the public transportation system did not prevent our team from pulling off a fun and educational day for all.

The pre-race events included youth racing right in front of the Marina Green bleachers.  Following the races the teams were interviewed live – more good training for these young sailors who handled questions on strategy and tactics as easily as a C420 gybe.

Close finishes were the norm during LVC pre-race program

Close finishes were the norm during LVC pre-race program

Marina Green provides awesome viewing.  The “defender access” period (have you been watching “No Second Place“) before races ensures lots of action well in advance of the races.

Marina Green provides great "head on" view of Oracle team practicing their starts

Marina Green provides great “head on” view of Oracle team practicing their starts

Prada practice start prior to LVC Race #3

Prada practice start prior to LVC Race #3

While our RS Ventures provide exciting planning experience and flying water, there is nothing like seeing AC72s foiling close by.  Pictures below are two more examples of the excellent non-stop viewing from Marina Green.

Prada foils past Marina Green during LVC Race #3

Prada foils past Marina Green during LVC Race #3

Artemis crew foils during LVC semifinal race #3

Artemis crew foils during LVC semifinal race #3

Our kids, staff and guests were glued to the action during the race. The large TV screens on both sides of the Marina Green bleachers give the feeling of being on the boats at all times.  Easy access and ring-side seats make this an excellent location for taking in America’s Cup action.

Action all around engaged TISC student sailors at LVC semifinal race #3

Action all around engaged TISC student sailors at LVC semifinal race #3

Jumbo screens bring AC excitement to the Marina Green bleachers

Jumbo screens bring AC excitement to the Marina Green bleachers

ACEA’s Community Outreach Program managed by Kelly Cowden is focused on exposing as many people in the Bay Area as possible to sailing, especially kids. One of our parent volunteers and a junior instructor took in the Friday race from course-side on the San Francisco Fire Department “Guardian”, also courtesy of  Kelly and her team.

SF Fire Boat Guardian Hosted Community Service Volunteers During the Race

SF Fire Boat Guardian Hosted Community Service Volunteers During the Race

Students, instructors and staff gather for a quick “Hi and thank you Americas Cup Community Outreach Program” after Friday’s races at Marina Green.  Our team is also very appreciative of the financial support received from ACEA through their generous donation from the rockin’ Sublime concert on August 4th.

TISC Kids at LVC

As the afternoon came to an end, some kids met parents in San Francisco after the races.  Others did make it back to TISC in two of our safety boats. AC72 viewing continued as Oracle Team USA boats continued their practice session.

Oracle AC72s dwarf CFD's during practice run following LVC Race #3

Oracle AC72s dwarf CFD’s during practice run following LVC Race #3

TISC students head back to Clipper Cove following LVC semi-final Race #3

TISC students head back to Clipper Cove following LVC semi-final Race #3

Treasure Island Sailing Center is working with thirty plus outreach partners to provide positive life experiences on the bay for kids in the Bay Area.  The support from the America’s Cup Community Outreach program is greatly appreciated.

Regards from Marina Green, Dave G