TISC Opening Day 2017 a Glittering Success

Start with J/24’s, kayaks, SUPs and Clipper Cove sunny skies. Add attendees of all ages and dedicated volunteers. Mix with paddles, sails, food and free life jackets. Sprinkle with glitter and a gentle breeze.  Wala!  TISC 2017 opening day smiles.

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Our “shore team” played a critical role in the success of Opening Day / Safe Boating Day at the Treasure Island Sailing Center. Staffing the many exhibits and activities is a non-stop job the minute our gates open.   Ditto for managing the check-in, scheduling, and successful “dock-in” and “dock-out” of all the water craft.  No way all this could happen without the many TISC parents and the CAL Berkeley Sailing Team.  TISCOpeningDay2017-101TISCOpeningDay2017-102 TISCOpeningDay2017-103

The guys on the docks making it happen strike a pose.Boat Handlers Strike a Pose TISCOpeningDay2017-104Pushing OffSeveral years back we combined our Opening Day with Safe Boating Day because TISC promotes safety in all we do.  The US Coast Guard Auxiliary District 11 (Northern Region) handed out 100 life jackets provided by the California Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW). Many of the programs provided to children and adults would not be possible without the on-going financial support of DBW.Coast Guard AuxiliaryTISCOpeningDay2017-115Back again for a second time was Glitter in the City.  Lots of sparkles on many cute faces. The face painter and her models steal the show:TISCOpeningDay2017-121 TISCOpeningDay2017-123 TISCOpeningDay2017-124 TISCOpeningDay2017-126Water action included rides in kayaks, stand-up paddle boards (SUPs) and J/24s.  Our J/24 fleet skippered by TISC supporters and Vanguard 15 racers provided rides to over 200.  TISCOpeningDay2017-130TISCOpeningDay2017-132Another 70 happy kayakers and 40 adventurous SUP “drivers” enjoyed time on Clipper Cove. TISCOpeningDay2017-133 TISCOpeningDay2017-134 TISCOpeningDay2017-135TISCOpeningDay2017-136And more happy J/24 drivers and crew.TISCOpeningDay2017-139TISCOpeningDay2017-140 TISCOpeningDay2017-141 TISCOpeningDay2017-142 TISCOpeningDay2017-143TISCOpeningDay2017-145Bruce Holaday also joined us along with his hand-made Petie Bateau, a Shellback Dinghy designed by Joel White.  For a great children’s book (kids from 8-80 will love it!) you can order “A Boy’s Boat” directly from Amazon.TISCOpeningDay2017-146Other exhibitors also participated to help provide a fun day.  And an educational one, with Recology Golden Gate passing out flyers and information to help educate attendees on what goes in which bin.TISCOpeningDay2017-147This year Adams Grub Truck joined us.   They promised “explosions of flavor, magnitude of size, served with a smile” and did not disappoint.  Their upcoming schedules are HERE.TISCOpeningDay2017-117TISCOpeningDay2017-149The next generation gets some time on the Bay too.TISCOpeningDay2017-150Over 50 volunteers supported this successful day. Here’s a few more photos from the shore-side fun and games.TISCOpeningDay2017-137 TISCOpeningDay2017-127 TISCOpeningDay2017-119 Luxine Smith wears many hats at TISC.  As our volunteer coordinator she is responsible for sorting out the many jobs needed for Opening Day and filling them with volunteers. Way to Go ! on another great turnout of volunteers and attendees.TISCOpeningDay2017-148PLEASE don’t forget out sponsors.  Next time you’re in Berkeley stop by the Peets Coffee at 2916 Domingo Ave and THANK THEM for their support of the Treasure Island Sailing Center.  Ditto for the Costco on 2400 Monument Blvd. in Concord.

Regards from On The Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

Thanks and a tip-of-the-hat to Brian Hill for the opening day photographs. Great shots, nice framing and well organized to share the fun times had by all on Clipper Cove !

HS Sailing (and Chicken-in-Waffles) On Clipper Cove

School’s back in session, and Envision Academy Sailing Team (E*A*S*T) is getting an early start on Fall practice. Clipper Cove hosted hundreds of High Schoolers, coaches and parents in 2016. Chicken-in-Waffles anyone (they’re really good).

2016-09-07-16-29-08After dealing with a nearly-deflated trailer tire last week (tenants – check those valve stems !), I connected with two E*A*S*T students  getting an early start on Fall practice.  Seeing them out tuning up with their TISC coach reminded me to highlight great progress for their team, as well as a ton of smiles from hundreds of High School skippers, crew and parents that utilized Clipper Cove this year.

img_1498High school sailboat racing offers opportunities to learn all kinds of life skills – teamwork, socialization, decision making, integrity, fairness, focus, communication, leadership and more – while developing good stewards of our Bay.  Because of the steady winds, protected waters, and public access to boats and docks, Clipper Cove offers an ideal location for high school kids to learn sailing then progress to serious racing.

Oakland’s Envision Academy has a tremendous track record for placing their seniors in college.  Two years ago TISC teamed up with OCSC to start the Envision Academy Sailing Team (E*A*S*T) to provide not only life skills, but also an extra boost that provides these young sailors with experience they can take with them to college – a big plus for making new friends and expanding their secondary school experience. And to provide these students with additional incentive as well as social connections to stay in school.

You may have seen posts from Spring practices earlier this year.  It was a windy afternoon and the team used the breeze to their advantage for practice in BUGS (remember when Team New Zealand raced BUGS on Clipper Cove). Mock racing and re-capping rounded out much of the day’s practice.img_1526-en

And took advantage of those winds to get in some capsize drills as well – capsizing under supervision then righting and recovering.img_1519

 

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Earlier this year the team competed in their first regatta, PCISA Norcal #2, and are getting even more psyched for the Fall 2016 season.  What great progress since E*A*S*T started sailing in 2014.

Over 120 high school students from 30 schools enjoyed sailing on the cove at this regatta. Thanks and a tip of the hat to Steve Harris for sharing his photos from the February 2016 Golden Bear Regatta at TISC. Much Appreciated.east-1st-regatta-nor-cal-2-crAll toll this year 59 Teams from 43 schools competed at TISC, resulting in well over 350 sailors competing on Clipper Cove, as many teams brought multiple crews. Including coaches, chaperones and volunteers, the Cove hosted well over 500 High School students and parents in 2016.
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The unique characteristics (steady wind, protected waters, minimum current and safe access) served up by Clipper Cove make it unique in all the bay, and actually in Northern California.  That’s why hundreds of youth, coaches and parents descend to the Cove for races sponsored by the Pacific Coast Inter-Scholastic Sailing Association (PCISA).

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High school sailing regattas use a format that maximizes participants and number of races.  TISC adds our own unique capabilities to these regattas – docks 5 minutes from the race course so teams can switch in/out quickly, and a venue where coaches and parents can view the races.  Faster turn-around close to the docks means more racing for the kids.

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And while it’s a “tight fit”, Clipper Cove delivers the space to just barely house a high school race course, as shown by a few photos from our 2015 High School Sailing on Clipper Cove blog (photos courtesy of Lyn Hines).IMG_6867 IMG_6461 IMG_6703 IMG_6383

To provide an adequate course for our normal rotation of 32 boats per fleet, the course need to be about 1/3 of a mile long, which is about the minimum viable first beat length for a fleet of 32 boats.  Even today, Clipper Cove is a VERY confined space already to run proper races like Pacific Coast high school regattas.

The starting line for High School races almost always ends up as far east and south as possible in order to have a square course with the weather mark in the NW corner of the cove.  There is a shoal that even FJs run aground on in that SE corner, so being down there is tide specific, although experienced race PROs such as those from San Francisco Yacht Club have often anchored just offshore of the building under the western section of the Bay Bridge.IMG_6729

According to Forrest Gay, Director of Sailing at The San Francisco Yacht Club, “For a viable high school race course, 2,000 feet is needed from top to bottom, plus an additional 400-500 feet above the weather mark.  This distance is not ideal, but provides a minimum workable space, and is what exists currently in Clipper Cove.”

“Pacific Coast Interscholastic Sailing Association could not survive without non-profit community sailing centers like Treasure Island Sailing Center. They provide the only low-cost public access for high school sailing available in many locations in California.  These organizations introduce thousands of people, children as well as high schoolers, to the joys of access to the water with safety and proper equipment use as a key ingredient of their programs.

PCISA has been holding regattas on Clipper Cove for 15 years.  These regattas enable 50-60 teams from 30-40 California schools to learn, compete, and develop their sailing skills as well as life skills. Clipper Cove is the ONLY venue in Northern California that provides safe protected waters, consistent winds, and key facilities including docks and staging areas adjacent to the sailing area. There really are no other options in the Bay Area.”

It was well past my dinner time when I left TI after changing tires, checking in with E*A*S*T team and catching a bit of the Cal Sailing practice.  Kinda hungry by then.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the new “Chicken in Waffles” food stand at the corner of California and Avenue of the Palms – just north of the traffic circle. This recent addition to TI serves up a tasty, unique and value-priced plate full of “hockey puck” sized waffles with grilled chicken tenders inside. Plus other items including ice cream of course !

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Chicken In Waffles Food Stand (Check back for photos of the new new lighted sign).

October Update – On a subsequent visit to TI I caught up with a few very happy customers.  And a brighter, sunny-day photo. img_7363-cr img_7359-cr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regards from On The Cove, Dave G

In the Wake:

 

Kids Smiles Fill Clipper Cove – TISC Instructors Rock !

IMG_4276 School’s Over. Kids are Smiling. Clipper Cove is doing its thing: developing self confidence, building life skills, creating friendships and introducing Mother Nature to kids from all over the Bay Area. TISC instructors are the catalyst for these magic moments.

June is such a great time on Clipper Cove.  And this year there’s so much happening one blog can’t even come close to covering all the action.  So we’ll tack away from adaptive and visually impaired sailing, adult keel boat lessons, the SF Social Sailing League and more, to focus on kids smiles. Check out the many ways our instructors interact, support, lead, protect, and encourage.  All ingredients for developing self-confidence, self-esteem and SMILES! IMG_4520-cr-smallMost of these photos were taken weeks 2 and 4 – the end of a two week sailing session.  Kids are tired, morning winds are often light.  Then the afternoon westerly kicks in.

Sun screen is getting lathered on. Boats are getting rigged. Many lessons start with chalk talks.IMG_3898IMG_3912

IMG_3910 Then word gets out – Time to Sail ! No more tired kids.IMG_3915

Oooppsss – not much wind.  Great – let’s just continue to hang out.  Or should I say Raft Up (some day these kids may be the ones who are Hooked on Clipper Cove).IMG_4022 IMG_4154

In addition to our youth sailing program we also sponsor outreach programs to get kids out on (and in) the water.  Up on Top kids were at TICS also enjoying all that Clipper Cove has to offer.IMG_4168 IMG_4311-EN

We tell visitors that you will always see something new when you sail on SF Bay.  We can’t predict what it will be, but you WILL see it.  Same way with photographing these kids – I never know how they will help us tell our story – teaching life lessons like respect, goal setting, communications & teamwork, self-reliance and leadership through sailing – however they’ve never let me down so far.

Respect is an element of all programs starting with orientation and continuing through 5-step progression program to level V. Goal setting also starts early because kids relate to short-term challenges like “learning to sail backwards” or “recovering from a capsize”.IMG_4187

Communications and teamwork go together on and between sailboats.  And paddle boards.IMG_3764 IMG_4109-cr IMG_4411-EN

And teamwork is always an easy story to “shoot” because kids just naturally help other kids out on the water. Age, gender, family background just doesn’t seem to matter to happy, often waterlogged, kids.IMG_4143 IMG_4145

Many urban sailing centers are located in busy harbors or on open, unprotected waters. Clipper Cove is a unique gem in all of SF Bay (some would say in the world) for learning life lessons through sailing because of its protected location with great winds and little current.  At TISC we give kids their own boat, teach them the skills needed to sail it, and let them go.IMG_3730 IMG_4208 IMG_4527

Yes, it blows hard here most afternoons. We view these as the best learning times for the kids and teaching time for the instructors.IMG_4362 IMG_4435

IMG_4520 IMG_4553And there are many learning opportunities, often ending in situations where kids “crash and burn”. And then self-rescue themselves –  –  –  IMG_3789-cr IMG_3790-cr1 IMG_3791-cr1

IMG_3736 IMG_3738 IMG_3739 IMG_3741–  –  –   all under the careful watch of TISC instructors, many who learned to sail here on Clipper Cove.  And often at the end of the day instructors lend a hand to tired sailors.IMG_3789-cr2

IMG_3806Kids love the independence and empowerment offered by sailing their own boat.  They build self-reliance and “figure it out”.  These skills last a lifetime.

And the combination of protected waters, minimal current and always-close-by instructors provides an ideal learning and confidence-building environment.IMG_4229 IMG_3746IMG_4462

Photographing leadership is not so easy.  I joked with the instructors about this photo as the more experience sailor “bailed out” then demonstrated goal setting, communications, teamwork and leadership to get cranked up for more sailing. All captured in one visual image.IMG_4157

No way to share the hundreds of Clipper Cove June smiles. Here are a few more.  If you are a parent or one of our program associates and would like to see more pictures, please contact the TISC office and they can provide access to password-protected photo folders from two June photo-shoots.

Our 5-level progression program leverages the development of sailing skills along with life skills. You can see the self-confidence shining brightly on Clipper Cove as the breeze picks up and lesson plans move from chalk talks to flat sailing.IMG_4320 IMG_4431

IMG_4212 IMG_4215 IMG_4222 More 1:1 time with our instructors.IMG_3810 IMG_3824 IMG_3841

Here are a few more Up On Top smiles, and an interesting stat why summer programs are so important.  Did you know that by high school, 67% of the cumulative achievement gap between middle-class and disadvantaged children can be explained by summer learning loss? Another reason Clipper Cove is such an important San Francisco Gem – the connection between learning to drive an RS Venture and brushing up on math and reading skills during the summer break. IMG_4123 IMG_4311-EN IMG_4356 And beach time is FUN time!IMG_4396

IMG_4404 IMG_4416Blogs have to wrap up just like fun days on Clipper Cove. More teamwork, then time to put our keyboards and rudders away.IMG_4541IMG_4567IMG_3827 IMG_3831

And a quick debrief.IMG_4570

Regards from On The Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

The photos in this blog plus many more are available on line – check with the TISC office for links to password-protected photo folders.

And one final THANK YOU to our rock-star instructor team.  Keep smiling, and creating smiles.  Your classroom changes every few minutes. Mother Nature is awesome, even when she puffs too hard or not enough.  And remember – the kids are always learning and benefiting, even when they’re having too much fun to listen or having a “bad tack” day.  You Rock !IMG_4576-EN-faces

TISC Marks Milestone: 3,566 4th Graders on Clipper Cove

Tenderloin Elementary Class Marks 3566 SSL Students at TISC-IMG_2949-cr

Tenderloin Elementary 4th Graders Mark 3,566 SSL Students at TISC Since 2013 Launch

Treasure Island Sailing Center’s STEM Program for San Francisco elementary students reached a major milestone in May: Over 3,500 Fourth Graders have now learned, explored and sailed on Clipper Cove. The St. Francis Sailing Foundation was a major donor.

IMG_2378-cr-enIn 2013 TISC launched the pilot for a unique, STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) experiential learning program called Set Sail Learn.  This program, designed to meet 4th grade California core standards, is a one-day exploration trip incorporating curriculum-aligned science and math learning, together with sailing on San Francisco Bay.

Last October the St. Francis Sailing Foundation announced a partnership with TISC to continue the program, providing San Francisco fourth graders with the opportunity for STEM learning while opening the door to San Francisco Bay, sailing and environmental stewardship at no cost to the schools. This StFSF Fall 2015 grant was a major milestone in reaching our Spring 2016 milestone of 3,566 kids through the SSL Program.

While referred to as a “hand on” experience, Set Sail Learn is really a “hands-in” program as you can see from these photos of 4th graders from Tenderloin Elementary School.IMG_3051IMG_2818 IMG_2825 IMG_3027 IMG_3071 IMG_3157The sailing part of the program is what makes it unique.  And connects the kids to Mother Nature while establishing them as stewards of “their”  bay.  The action in and around the activity center, however,  is also a big part of the lessons. Because no chairs, plenty of physical activity and a highly interactive curriculum makes for fun, memorable learning.class IMG_2437

class IMG_2365 class IMG_2434-en-crclass IMG_2769

And the lab just outside the door to the activity center is like nothing most of the kids have ever seen or experienced. A true window onto life in, around and below the waters of San Francisco Bay.class IMG_2556

IMG_3173It’s no wonder this program has been a huge win for teachers –   –   -:

  • “Set Sail Learn engages the different learning modalities of the kids, visual, kinetic, song, dance and sailing.”
  • “I saw this program touch every part of each of my children. Thank you so much for allowing my native San Franciscans to really experience the Bay.”

IMG_2989–  –  –  and a favorite for kids:

  • “The best day of my life.”
  • “I got to steer the boat.”
  • “I’m crabby, day had to end.”

Another star of the program is Clipper Cove itself.  Same rule applies here as with all sailing on SF Bay: “you can never be sure what you’ll see, however you WILL see something swimming, floating or flying that’s a keeper for your memory banks”.IMG_2536-cr

Along with the fish and wildlife, Clipper Cove also serves up curiosity-building views of San Francisco, Yerba Buena Island (its long-time-ago name is HERE), and the new Bay Bridge super-structure.IMG_2940IMG_2440-cr IMG_2799

And boatloads of smiles are always present whenever kids are on Clipper Cove.
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IMG_2544-crOf course a bit of excitement aboard an RS Venture sailboat always goes a long way to score big with 4th graders.  In fact a number of SSL graduates have signed up for summer sailing lessons at TISC.  Interested?  You can find out more and register here.IMG_3191IMG_2968Set Sail Learn Session 5, Spring of 2016, is in the log books; our focus has now turned to summer programs.  Teachers interested in registering for the next SSL session can use this Fall 2016 SSL Registration Form.

I’ll wrap up this blog with a few statistics on our Set Sail Learn program and the number of Bay Area residents who sail, kayak and paddle board at TISC on Clipper Cove.

  • 3,566 elementary kids from 31 San Francisco public schools have attended 135 SSL classes since the program was launched in the Fall of 2013. These kids came from all 11 SF school districts.
  • Last year TISC served approximately 3,800 sailors, kayakers and paddlers.  Most from San Francisco, others from all parts of the Bay Area. All walks of life.  Nearly 15,000 over last 5 years.

Regards from On The Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

Here are links to previous Set Sail Learn blogs with more smiles from San Francisco Public School kids.

 

TISC Opening Day 2016 Packs Clipper Cove

TISC Opening Day and Safe Boating Day packed Clipper Cove with 723 excited attendees.  Thank you staff, sponsors, volunteers and Mother Nature for providing free sailboat rides & paddling on protected waters, fun, games and free life jackets.IMG_1958

IMG_2133Next week is National Safe Boating week. The Treasure Island Sailing Center hosted its combined Opening Day / Safe Boating Day on April 30th to kick off our season and get a head start on summer safety. And to pass out 140 life jackets plus water safety and boating guides courtesy of California Division of Boating and Waterways

Group 3 - enhancedPlanning and promotion starts months in advance. Then our trusty army of 50-plus volunteers starts arriving Friday afternoon, early Saturday morning and stay well past closing.  Opening day would not be possible without volunteers from the Cal Boating team, the Vanguard 15 racers, Envision Academy Sailing Team (E*A*S*T), TISC tenants who helped with set-up & boat driving, and the local Treasure Island community.

Sperry LineUpVisitors from all over the Bay Area lined up for the free sailboat, kayak and paddle board rides.

Our fleet of J/24’s, RS Ventures, kayaks and stand up paddle boards were all voted MVP’s of the day.IMG_2212

Safe in CCove6-crcr Safe in CCove7IMG_9526CG AuxUS Coast Guard Auxiliary answered questions and further stressed safe boating. And passed out the free DBW life jackets.

IMG_9460Talented supporting cast from Glitter in the City and TISC volunteers kept kids of all ages psyched and occupied during the day.  Needless to say Peets Coffee in Berkeley and Beauty’s Bagels in Oakland were morning favorites, while  Adam’s Grub Truck was the preferred afternoon stop for many hungry sailors.

Clipper Cove is the only venue in San Francisco Bay that can host events like this because of the steady winds, protected space, lack of current and easy water access via docks and ramps. IMG_2178IMG_2227IMG_1992 IMG_2149

It’s no wonder nearly 4,000 children, youth and adults sailed or paddled on Clipper Cove last year.  This number 1,338 San Francisco 4th graders who took part in 51 TISC-sponsored hands-on STEM classes plus sailing in RS Ventures during 2015 (since Fall, 2013 SSL inception, TISC has sponsored 3,566 students in 135 classes from 31 SFUSD elementary schools).

On this picture perfect day all areas of the cove provided a fun, safe and protected place to sail and paddle. IMG_2027 Kayak Dad2 kayaker 6IMG_1916As ideal and safe as Clipper Cove is for our opening day festivities we still had several safety boats on duty.  In a few cases even the light winds lead to a few paddlers “calling for a taxi”.Rescue 1 Rescue 5

I didn’t see much traffic to and from the marina, however the boats I did see were careful and respectful of the smaller craft that dotted the cove.
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Not everyone was ready for getting out on the Cove, and our team had plenty of fun and games lined up for the future sailors.Dad & boy at bubbles

Which is not to say kids were left ashore. To the contrary they were focused and engaged in all points of sail (including the very active 2 year-old who triggered our man-overboard drill when he threw his dad’s new hat overboard).
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Based on the many phones and cameras I saw, I’m guessing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram had plenty of action from our visitors.IMG_1941

Kayak selfies1Clipper Cove is a great place to admire the new Bay Bridge. IMG_9530

Hard to see in the above photo, however the eastern area of the cove is very shallow before getting much deeper as you depart the cove and head to the flats. And this bottom bathymetry is exactly what keeps the high currents out of the cove.

So another TISC Opening Day is on the books.  Now YOUR family’s fun can begin.  Here’s the link with an overview of the many classes offered by Treasure Island Sailing Center:  http://tisailing.org/basics.

And as you head out onto California waters this summer, WEAR YOUR LIFEJACKET.wear-it-calif-web

Regards from On The Cove, Dave G

PS – A special tip-of-the-hat to Valerie Santori and Andrew Shaw for many of the photos in this blog post.

In the wake:

Here are a few more links to the California Division of Boating and Waterway website:

 

 

St. Francis Sailing Foundation Grant Launches Set Sail Learn

Which blog title better says “Thanks!” while delivering kids smiles:  “The best day of my life” or “Set Sail Learn – Investing in our Children”?  How to choose between two winning teams: Lawton Elementary School and St. Francis Sailing Foundation?

IMG_9401I decided to lead with a big THANK YOU to St. Francis, recap Media Day’s events along with Lawton smiles and end with a few stats on TISC’s banner year.  So cool all this took place right here on Clipper Cove.  Even cooler – today’s blog makes a nice 2015 wrap-up given Clipper Cove is where we started back in January (Clipper Cove – Our Platform for Smiles and Self-Confidence).

On October 15th Carolyn Patrick, President of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, announced a significant grant that officially launches TISC’s Set Sail Learn program. This unique and innovative program, first piloted in 2013, serves up core-curriculum STEM classes along with “hands-in” sailing on Clipper Cove. And it will now continue thanks to STFSF.Speakers-Carolyn IMG_9507_resize

You can read more about this major grant, the largest in STFSF history here: Press Release STFSF Grant for Set Sail Learn.   Details on the Set Sail Learn Program are here: Set Sail Learn Media Day-Fact Sheet.

There were smiles all around when excited kids from Lawton Alternative School showed up for their day at TISC. As with all SSL classes at TISC the kids are split in the morning so half can focus on the curriculum and half can sail.  After lunch they switch.Smiles arriving IMG_9387-cr-resize

Lawton chose the Renewable Energy curriculum.  Whichever course of study is chosen the teacher receives a workbook for review prior to class arrival. All classes work in math and science.TISC Curriculum IMG_9347_resize workbook IMG_9554_resize

With plenty of time for interactive discussion.  So rewarding to see fourth graders so “into” our environment.class discussion IMG_9567_resize class overview IMG_9559_resize

Action highlight for this module is always the “windboat” races.  Teams of two design and build their craft.windboat building IMG_9624_resize windboat building IMG_9627_resize windboat building IMG_9630_resize

The races are the most fun . . .windboat racing IMG_9635_resize – – – and exciting !windboat racing IMG_9640_resize

More smiles as the kids prepare to leave the dock.  A majority of SSL students experience their first time on the water here at TISC on Clipper Cove.IMG_9426_resize IMG_9434_resize

Feeling the water as it passes by is always the sailing highlight.  All part of creating passionate stewards to help care for San Francisco Bay for decades to come. A true “hands-in” experience for 2,940 SFUSD fourth graders so far.hand 2 in water IMG_9593_resize hands 1 in water IMG_9622_resize hands 3 in water IMG_9612_resize

More smiles from kids sailing out on Clipper Cove. 110 SFUSD classes from 27 schools have participated in SSL to date.   IMG_9546_resize IMG_9574_resize

Other key speakers at SSL Media day included Carisa Harris-Adamson Chair of the TISC Board of Directors, V. Fei Tsen Chair of the Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors and Sean Svendsen Commodore of the St. Francis Yacht Club.  If only I had recorded the laughs and excited chatter from Clipper Cove that backstopped our dedication speakers. Speakers- Carisa IMG_9496_resize Speakers- V. Fei IMG_9502_resize Speakers-Sean IMG_9514_resize

We never know which guests will join SSL classes, however “someone” always does.  On this day the kids saw pelicans and gulls.visitors - pelican IMG_9377 visitors - pelican IMG_9604_resize

Our RS Ventures framed by Clipper Cove with San Francisco in the back ground make a nice segue into our banner year at TISC. Notice the many (do you see all ten) hands in Clipper Cove !Three RS V on Clipper Cove IMG_9473_resize RSV framed by SF IMG_9445_resize

Today’s many smiles added to our 2015 totals:

  • TISC awarded over $160,000 of scholarships to under-served Youth and Adaptive Sailors
  • Our team delivered over 25,000 hours of instruction spread over 2,300 class spaces.  The break-down of kids attending each segment of our programs was:
    • 1338  Set Sail Learn
    • 596    Group Orientations
    • 123    1 Week Summer Camp
    • 167    2 Week Summer Camp
    •  87     Adaptive Sailors

“The best day of my life” or “Set Sail Learn – Investing in our Children”?  Happiness is being able to have the flexibility and space to use both 🙂IMG_9645_resize SSL Banner IMG_9349_resize

Regards from On The Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

As we end 2015 our team is conducting a fund raising drive for 2016 scholarships. Here is the link, and we appreciate all donations no matter how small. Learn More or Donate Now.

Here are links to previous Set Sail Learn blogs with more smiles and lessons learned.

 

I Got to Steer the Boat

The kids from Jefferson Elementary studied Marine History and smiled a lot.  Their comments and questions about sailing and history were engaging and non-stop – in the TISC activity center and while sailing on Clipper Cove.

I have a new sure-fire way to select titles for Set Sail Learn blogs – just ask the kids.  “Can you please give me six words that describe your day here at TISC” usually works like a champ.  One smiling fourth immediately replied “I got to steer the boat.” Bingo- blog title.IMG_8537

Always nice to see self-confidence in so many kids who in general have not been on San Francisco Bay, certainly have not sailed or actually touched the water and in many cases have not been over the Bay Bridge.

As you can see they were psyched up and ready for the day when they arrived.  Of course smiling goes both ways – our lead instructor Zoe Wadkins can also light up a room with her smile.IMG_8479 IMG_8498

After introduction, paperwork is passed and safety drills are completed.  Then kids are split into two groups.  While first group departs our dock for Clipper Cove the second spend time in the activity center on the day’s lesson. IMG_8486

TISC provides workbooks in advance of each class.  They cover Renewable Energy, Ecology of the Bay or Marine History depending on which curriculum was selected by their teacher.  Jefferson selected Marine History.IMG_8507

We used the term “activity center” or “learning center” to describe the inside space where SSL and other classes meet.  Classroom seems too formal, we have stand-up tables not desks, and sitting down is not part of our curriculum.IMG_8505Sailing on Clipper Cove provides SFUSD fourth graders the opportunity to touch the water, feel the wind, and truly connect to our environment.  We feel this type of hands-on is one of the best ways to instill stewardship into the minds and bodies who will one day bring their families sailing and boating on Clipper Cove, SF Bay and other great playgrounds.IMG_8522

Kids study wind, tides and currents while out on the RS Ventures.  Centrally located, Clipper Cove provides views of key landmarks in all directions. IMG_8560

IMG_8678-SSL Framed by CC and SFThese fourth graders may some day attend UC Berkeley and look up at the iconic clock tower. Or they may sail down to Alameda and see the massive container ships being unloaded. The huge Bay Bridge tower is clearly visible from the TISC dock.  The camera lens can be deceiving, often giving the impression of sailing much closer to these SF landmarks that are so visible from Clipper Cove.IMG_8582

IMG_8661-crSailing on Clipper Cove also provides fourth graders with the opportunity to see our world from a different perspective.  For example looking up at the Bay Bridge tower rather than down onto San Francisco Bay.IMG_8492

Of course no matter which direction the boats are heading the kids are clearly happy. Smiles are standard issue for kids in boats.  Here are more Clipper Cove smiles: July Smiles On Clipper Cove.IMG_8656 IMG_8622

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Other classes have studied about renewable energy and the ecology of the bay.  Here’s the story behind “the crab is in” sign in the activity center:  JYC Kids’ Crabby Day at TISC.

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By the time we finish the Fall 2015 Set Sail Learn classes at the end of this month more than 3,000 San Francisco Unified School District fourth graders will have benefited from the TISC Set Sail Learn Program.

Regards, from on the Cove, Dave G

In the Wake:

Here are links to previous SSL blogs with more smiles and lessons learned.

Lending Club 2 Bounces TISC Kids Around SF Bay

Seeing smiles of excitement on TISC kids faces hurtling across SF Bay on a trampoline skimming over the waves at 30 knots – no surprise.  Driving 105’ world-class trimaran speedster Lending Club 2 – an even bigger thrill for them.

IMG_0714-en_resizeOur June 12th Friday fun adventure at Treasure Island Sailing Center came courtesy of the Lending Club2 sailing teamTheir launch docked at 12:45 and a dozen Opti and FJ sailors were off on their afternoon adventure. The transit from Clipper Cove to Pier 27 was the fastest these TISC campers ever experience – by far. The adventure was repeated for a second group later in the afternoon.

IMG_6495_resizeWhat they thought was a cool ride (“I’ve never been on a boat this fast”) was just a warm-up.  After transferring to LC2 and listening to the safety talk the fun really began.

First thrill – seeing water just a few feet below going by very, very fast.IMG_6510_resizeIMG_6525_resize

Once our young sailors figured out port & starboard netting was like a trampoline, smiles emerged and energy burn commenced.  Non-stop running, bouncing and jumping between mid-boom and foredeck soon became comfortable and energizing.IMG_6713_resize

IMG_6700_resize IMG_6565_resizeEven the Golden Gate Bridge got into the trampoline action.IMG_6663-en_resize IMG_6653_resize

There’s more!  Once Captain Ryan offered up the helm to all interested, attention immediately shifted to the dual wheels as the kids lined up for their chance to steer. The thrills just kept building (along with respect for Mother Nature’s cool windy breath and the many wonders offered up by San Francisco Bay). IMG_6624_resize

IMG_6558_resize IMG_6591_resize By the way, that’s not a tide-line in the background.  It’s 30 knots of wake being left behind faster than you can imagine.IMG_6698_resizePlayful, bouncing giggling kids suddenly became thoughtful watchful kids. With smiles.IMG_6551_resize IMG_6575_resize IMG_6724_resize

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Fun Friday often features sails around Treasure Island, perhaps to Angel Island.  On this Friday, landscapes seen in the distance zoomed closer and closer – in no time at all.  Incredible how fast you can cross SF Bay cranking at 30+ knots.
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Alcatraz.  Golden Gate Bridge.  Belvedere.  St. Francis and Golden Gate Yacht Clubs.  Oh so close.IMG_6511_resizeIMG_6726_resize

IMG_6751-en_resize IMG_6691_resizeTISC’s mission is to create opportunities for the Bay Area community to learn and grow through sailing.  We use sailing as a platform to teach life lessons to underserved youth with a focus on self-esteem and respect for the Bay.

IMG_6622_resizeAboard Lending Club 2 our kids saw these life lessons for real.  They saw the LC2 team communicating, working together.  Goal setting and leadership all had their obvious place on the boat.

Self-esteem?  I think mentioning that you just finished driving a 105’ trimaran on SF Bay qualifies. Overheard as the kids departed: “Wow I never expected to be jumping on a trampoline in the middle of San Francisco Bay”.  For sure LC2 crew can add a check-mark next to “help create respect and love for Mother Nature.”

Many thanks to the Lending Club team for reaching out to TISC and to the Crew of Lending Club 2 for a not-to-be forgotten adventure.

Regards from Aboard Lending Club 2, just around the corner from Clipper Cove,

Dave G

In the wake:

dave-lending club 2Twenty five smiling kids (plus 3 fortunate chaperones), SF Bay, Mother Nature and the star of the day – Lending Club 2 – served up many more photos than can be included in a blog.

You can see additional TISC Week 2 Fun Friday photos from LC2 on our Facebook page HERE or download hi-res versions here: bit.ly/LC2-TISC

Now THIS is the Life!

Classic comment heard on the dock as Guadalupe Elementary kids ended their “hands-in” Bay Sail: “Now THIS is the life”.  These fourth graders plotted crab populations in our activity center and wind & tides on Clipper Cove.

IMG_5600My planned work day turned into a bonus photo shoot with the kids when Guadalupe Elementary School arrived for a Set Sail Learn (SSL) class at TISC on May 5th.  Trading a power washer wand for camera shutter is always a good deal in my book.  Especially on a picture-perfect day with a nice breeze and near-ideal lighting.

First order of business for SSL classes, after their safety orientation, is to split into two groups. For their Ecology of the Bay study group one started with an active learning session and plenty of student participation.IMG_5470

They simulated ten years of crab population using a “crabby” game. The focus can change from class to class – the Guadalupe kids took turns selecting a “crab” with a huge pincer arm to see how that might affect population and adaptation.  Tables make for great temporary crab housing.IMG_5399IMG_5478

Prior to arriving at TISC teachers are provided with workbooks kids review in advance, a key ingredient of the experiential STEM learning experience. Treasure Island Sailing Center provides SSL classes at no charge to SFUSD fourth graders – 2,300 students since the fall of 2013.IMG_9763-booklet feinstein-cr

A few “hands in the water” photos are a regular feature of the SSL classes and outreach programs at TISC.  Guadalupe Elementary kids really connected with Mother Nature – even more than I’ve noticed in the past.

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Giving fourth graders the opportunity to touch and feel the waters of SF Bay certainly does provide the best “hands-in” experience possible.  The kids couldn’t get enough and we feel all future “Bay Stewards” benefit from these touching connections.IMG_5511-cr

This particular day at least one seal was spotted and the kids were on the lookout for others.  Sea gulls are almost always flying about on Clipper Cove.IMG_5597

IMG_5577-crLearning about direction and major landmarks is easy with the 853′ tall Transamerica Pyramid to the west and the Port of Oakland cranes to the south.IMG_5591

IMG_5525TISC is full and by into our summer programs now that Set Sail Learn classes have ended for the spring.  SSL students are encouraged to continue at TISC in one of the many on-the-water programs available this summer.  Check out our Registration Page for additional information.

Regards from On the Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

SSL Classes are finished for the Spring of 2015.  They will resume in the Fall.  Watch for registration updates  HERE. You can read a program brochure.

If you are a parent or teacher at Guadalupe and would like to have access to the hi-res version of the photos above – and many more -please contact the TISC office (tiscprograms@tisailing.org) or send along an email to me:
daveg at onclippercove dot com.

You can read about other TISC SSL Classes below:

Like Water Off a Duck’s Back

IMG_1873-cr2At first glance, I didn’t connect with Highlander 874’s stern graphic – something lost in translation.  Then two ducks flew into the picture.  Two ducks? Visions of Jimmy Spithill showed up on the finish line of race seven.

 

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Last week I crewed for Bruce Busbey in the 2015 edition of the Highlander Nationals.  Bruce is the son of my college swimming coach, life coach and sailing mentor Bob Busbey, the “Skipper” in Skipper’s Gift. Joining Bruce and his son Justin was a real trip –  east to Hartwell Lake at Western Carolina Sailing Club then down a 50 year old memory lane.

As the Highlander Nationals progressed, interesting stories and life lessons emerged, along with action-capturing pictures courtesy of Gayle Kaufholz.

A great reminder on how to deal with snags, headers and glitches – whether sailing or not – flew in courtesy of “The Duck”. Simple explanation: Jen Kafsky always encourages her kids to shake off problems, not let them build up. “Let ’em go, just like water running off a duck’s back”.  Hence their boat name – “The Duck”. DSC_0071

All sailors (well, most of us !)  know skippering & crewing together makes for great family sport. Family geometries became more evident as the Nationals played out around the buoys.

Many boats, including the winner of the Championship Division and third place in the President’s Division, were all-family.DSCb_1002-crDSC_0393-bob

There’s more. The Bauer family had sailors on three different boats.DSC_0500 DSC_0017

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The Kafsky’s, including one of their daughters, skippered and crewed on two.DSC_0910 DSC_0099

DSC_0967Not to mention on-the-water husband/wife teams plus grandparents and parents on shore duty with future sailors.

Family sailing doesn’t get any better than in the Highlander class! Back to life lessons.

DSC_0250Lake Hartwell and Mother Nature served up a variety of wind conditions over the course of the seven-race / one-throw-out series. The lead changed five times. Thanks to a “Class A” WCSC race committee the sailing was impartial to the 24 competitors throughout the entire series – not easy, but fair to all.

An important life lesson we’ve discussed in the past, never give up (Jimmy to Kids: “Never Give UP”), was clearly in play .  The winning boat tanked in race six then came back with a bullet in the last race.

DSC_0818-crHats off to Tanner Shultz along with his father and teenage son & daughter.  They sailed a solid series and didn’t let a catastrophic race 6 get them down.  They made like a duck, cleared their minds and picked up a well-earned bullet in race 7 to win the Highlander Nationals in what turned out to be the closest finish in recent memory.

Going into the last race four boats were tied for third, a mere few points behind the first and second boats.  After the final gun only five points separated the top six boats. Did someone say competitive Highlander fleet?

So the 2015 Highlander Nationals are history – and will be remembered for challenging races, close finishes, a nearly-clairvoyant race committee and outstanding shore-side southern hospitality.

If you’re interested in getting a big dose of life lessons, teamwork, and a super family sport check out any of the Highlander Fleets back east.  If you’re here in the Bay Area and you want to get your kids into sailing – or learn how to keep up with them on the water – check out the treasure chest of classes available at Treasure Island Sailing Center.

Regards from On the Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

Here’s a link to more of Gayle’s photographs from the 2015 Highlander Nationals: bit.ly/2015-highlander-nationals

Here’s the 2015 schedule of classes at TISC:  http://tisailing.org/registration