Opening Day: Sails, Paddles and Smiles On Clipper Cove

Saturday’s Opening Day Featured blue skies, steady winds, eight sails, a bunch of kayaks & paddleboards, and hundreds of smiles. Our supportive volunteer force worked Wednesday through Saturday.  Kudos to our TISC team for a job well done!Kayak J24 Bridge

Opening day was combined with Safe Boating Day this year. The rain on Friday was unusual however the Cal Sailing Team showed up to finish the set up anyway, then returned first thing Saturday to make sure all was ready and greet visitors.  No way this event happens without their dedicated support.

Parents and students also turned out in force to help set up and manage beach logistics.  It was great to see them having fun while giving back. Thanks also to the Life Learning Academy volunteers.Parents Setting Up

MadisonThere are many, many, many moving parts to opening day.  Some happen in real time, some must be ready days, weeks or months in advance. Madison Gattis, our Director of Operations, has been on this since the beginning of the year.


ChrisOnce the day started Chris Childers, our Programs Director, oversaw the boats, dock workers and hundreds of guests on Clipper Cove.  New this year was the use of the west beach for the water toys with launches transporting guests to/from the docks to the beach.

AnnieAnnie Butts, our Head Instructor, had her hands full with driving, coordinating crash boats and answering lots of volunteer questions. Thanks also for her many hours of boat prep prior to the event.RS Ventures Ready

  • Staging the paddleboards and kayaks at the beach and using launches to ferry people to and from was a great idea.  This plan provided a completely separate venue and afforded a different view and experience for non-sailors.  Not everyone came to sail, yet everyone enjoyed being on Clipper Cove. Here again, volunteers were in place to help ensure safety.Beach Girl

Beach Hands






The old Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge is being deconstructed.  You can see the initial gap which will continue to widen over time.Bay Bridge Deconstruction

Bay Bridge Framed by J24

The highlights of the day were the huge smiles, compliments, high-fives and sincere thanks from the many guests (we stopped counting sometime after 500) who attended Opening Day 2014.  Some were repeats from last year; many were new to Clipper Cove and wanted to bring their families out for awesome time on the water courtesy of Treasure Island Sailing Center.Painted Face with Wind in HairYoung Driver West Coast Sailing

Skipper in TrainingThree Smiles on Deck-resize Four sail boats departed the docks every fifteen minutes from 11:30 until 3pm. Do the math;  that’s over 300 opening day sailboat rides.  Our volunteers registered all these people, gave them a safety briefing, fitted life jackets and escorted them to and from the docks for embarking and disembarking the five J24s and three RS Ventures. Many thanks to the TI Vanguard and Laser fleets, Cal Sailing, TISC tenants, and Bay Area Association of Disable Sailors for keeping managing the constant flow on the ramps and docks.  Special thanks to the V15 and Laser sailers for setting up the tent (and taking it down tomorrow).Dock Boarding Instructions Dock Lined up to Sail Dock Volunteer

Mother Nature favored us with a gorgeous day.  Rather windy toward the afternoon, which put an even higher premium on the efforts from Cal Sailing team who helped with dock logistics the entire day.  Here are three smiling faces who greeted just about all my guests; this was taken after my last trip – they’re still smiling!Smiling Cal Dock Hands

Regards, from On The Cove,

Dave G

In the wake:

Many of the great pictures above, including the first which captured the variety of the day framed by the new Bay Bridge Eastern Section, were courtesy of Valerie Santorini from Golden Gate Yacht Club.  She and other GGYC volunteers spent the entire day On Clipper Cove ferrying guests from the dock to the beach while taking great pictures.  Thank You Val !!


Dock-In Sunday, Smiles on Monday

float transportVanguard 15s are in TISC’s DNA !  V15ers have provided major support for kids’ smiles since TISC’s founding in 1997.   The docks are in; racing starts April 3rd on Clipper Cove – arguably one the best dinghy racing venues anywhere.

Last Sunday sailors from Vanguard 15 West Coast Fleet 53 and the TI Laser Fleet worked with the TISC team  to install the docks and launching ramp float stored across the cove to protect against winter storms since last fall.  This volunteer day is often viewed as the beginning of summer at TISC.  It certainly marks the start of V15 and Laser racing on Clipper Cove.

hoist awayMany of the “bakers dozen” or so who showed up for the Dock-in are experienced hands at this task.  There are a few traditions that have built up over time.  For example, first one to sign up gets to run the hoist.  Most charged up about dock-in and season opener gets to use the power tools. And best dressed gets to ride the ramp float back to the docks.tool guy

positioning the float









The fact is, all these volunteers “get it”.  They understand a great way to support their sport and help kids learn life lessons – communication skills, team building, decision making, leadership – is by volunteering at the same place they love to sail, here at TISC on Clipper Cove.

Here are a few more pictures of Sunday’s Dock-in process.

from the ramp dropping the dock dock in







ready to lift










And a few more smiles as the docks were assembled and cleaned up.

cleaning cleaning smiles









Dock-in was just in time. Students from the Life Learning Academy used the ramp and float on Monday for the first in a series of classes covering boat handling, self-confidence and SF Bay ecology.

LLA SmilesRegards from On the Cove, and a “tip of the hat” to Madeline Eustis, Claire Hulse and Al Sargent for the great pictures from Dock-In Sunday,

Dave G.

In the wake:

Below are a few pictures from a post about Thursday Night Racing on Clipper Cove. If you own a Vanguard15 or Laser and haven’t joined in on the fun, you’re really missing out.  Thursday night racing is a blast on Clipper Cove!

approaching the mark bridge background downwind mark lasers frame by the bride off the wind port starboard



Park Presidio Marine Long on Service

After two trips to Park Presidio Marine Services in five days, I HAD to ask.  How come your address is 25th Street at Pennsylvania just 5 minutes from McCovey Cove?

Our maintenance team services our outboard engines regularly and tackles most projects, even major overhauls when needed.  Our Merc 90, however, was in sad shape after 1,056 hours of operation.  Way beyond our maintenance magician’s capabilities.

I drove our trusty Whaler with rusty Merc 90 from TISC to 25th St. Thursday afternoon.  Next day Ryan Berrango called with three options: spend $2,500 (could be more) to  fix the motor, buy a new motor for $9,000, or purchase a used motor for much less (turns out a customer with IDENTICAL ’05 motor with only 50 hrs decided to upgrade).   Bonus – Ryan convinced owner to sell to TISC at reduced price and PPM would give our kids a break on the transfer tune-up costs.

TISC's Nearly-New Merc 90 Arrives at TI

TISC’s New Merc 90 Arrives at TI

By Tuesday our Whaler with nearly-new Merc 90 was ready and on rainy Wednesday behind our trusty Explorer and back to TISC.

OK, so why is Park Presidio Marine on 25th? Here’s what I found out from Gary Barrango:

  • Park Presido Marine was founded in 1963 (sounds like a 50 year anniversary soon!)
  • Gary joined in early 70’s after leaving the Coast Guard, eventually bought the business and moved PPM to 25th street in 1983.  I can imagine what the traffic would be like now at the old address on 19th avenue !
  • Working with his son is rewarding and they see eye-eye (most of the time 🙂 )
Park Presidio Marine

Park Presidio Marine – 1300 25th St.

Gary and Ryan – THANKS for helping us out on this 50-hour motor.  Also thanks for the constant supply of quality parts and timely expert advice you provide that enables us to keep our small armada of safety boats on Clipper Cove watching over kids learning to sail, starting  Vanguard 15 & Laser races on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and enabling the sailing community to enjoy SF Bay via our Community Sailing days.

Regards from On Clipper Cove, Dave G



Thursday Night On Clipper Cove

Watching 11 Vanguard 15s and 6 Lasers enjoying gusty winds on Clipper Cove brought back memories from our 470 days on Pontoosuc Lake in Western Mass.  Both have tall, unique postcard settings.  Bay Bridge towers and Alameda loading cranes backstop the cove; Mt. Greylock provides a postcard setting for Pontoosuc.

The loading cranes inspired George Lucas to design the Star Wars Battle Bots. The Pontoosuc story can be as simple as the Indian name “falls on the brook” or can lead you to an old Indian Legend.

We ran a regatta for forty seven 470s on that tiny lake half the size of Angel Island – complete with a gear-buster lightning storm one day and fluky mountain winds the next.  Nothing like our predictable San Francisco Bay breezes!

I signed on as Thursday’s “grillmeister” to connect with the Vanguard 15 and Laser sailors to get their views and suggestions about sailing at TISC.  Nick Adamson also stopped by – a bonus to those who know him and those newer sailors who met him for the first time.  He was one of the TISC and Vanguard 15 Fleet 53 founders.

Hearing about the origins of the center firsthand was a good reminder that we’re fortunate to have such great racing just 5 minutes off the Treasure Island Sailing Center dock in a safe harbor ideal for introducing kids to sailing and life lessons.  What a great place for launching new horizons!

From the cove, Dave G.

In the wake:

Clipper Cove offers close-up race viewing right from the shore. Before cranking up the grill I took photos of all the racers.  They’re here:  Dave G photos from Svendsen’s Thursday Night Vanguard 15 and Laser series


Welcome to On Clipper Cove

In May ’12 I joined the Board of Directors at Treasure Island Sailing Center. After a couple of decades in Electronic Design Automation I’m transitioning to the world of non-profits. Trading in my .doc, .ppt and .xls tools for G/flex, sandpaper and sunscreen – and WordPress :).

I’m already enjoying my time with a great team whose vision is to get all the kids in San Francisco on the water and into sail boats. In my case that means hands-on boat repair and maintenance, sharing Skipper’s Gift with kids and their families, and working with TISC tenants to provide them with an additional resource as we work together to grow our community of service-minded sailors.

The passion of the TISC founders over ten years ago provided us with a platform to sail, race and share the best location in the world with those not fortunate enough to sail solo. Most who sail from TISC undertand the crucial role volunteers play here; not all are aware the grants we receive and the land we use are available because of our volunteers and our non-profit status.

I look forward to meeting more of our tenants here at TISC as well as the college students and parent volunteers who keep us full and by on the starboard tack. If you have questions about sailing in and around Clipper Cove, comments specific to our space at TISC and ESPECIALLY suggestions for upcoming blogs please let me know.

From On the Cove, Dave G  ( DaveG @

In the wake:

Sailors often ask our staff about the weather in the Bay. Here’s one of my favorite weather links because it also tracks the gusts we use for “tens” on the way home from Angel Island: San Francisco Sailing Weather.   Which ones do you count on? Send them along!