With 100 California High School Sailing teams no surprise 60 showed up at Clipper Cove for the February, 2015 PCISA Golden Bear Regatta. 600+ sailors, coaches, parents, chaperones and spectators participated over the course of the two-day, blue sky weekend.
Excuse me – last February? OK, Full disclosure: I plead “out of town without pictures” for that weekend. Hence the big delay in writing this post.
Fall practice for the E*A*S*T Sailing Team started last week (April blog about E*A*S*T) and was a wake-up call to me to get on the favored tack and share the excitement of High School Sailing on Clipper Cove. We’ll check in with their team later this fall.
The real enablers for this blog were photos from Lyn Hines and Steve Harris, plus stories from Mike Segerblom. I now have pictures and can catch everyone up on the PCISA Golden Bear regatta. Formerly The Cardinal Regatta, this event has been held at TISC since 2012. Clipper Cove delivers a unique and perfect venue for High School Sailing with its combination of protected waters, minimal current, good winds and excellent viewing opportunities.
Early Saturday was calm on the water which provided time for preparation on the shore.
Once the 60 teams from 50 schools arrived just about every square inch of space at TISC was filled with boats, sailors and parents. Landside and waterside were equally busy.
Kudos to St. Francis Yacht Club for providing a staff of expert volunteers plus the safety boats needed to run Golden Bear. They had their work cut out for them for sure.
The clockwork-like summer westerlies are “off duty” from November to February. They did show up (late) on Saturday, however Sunday the sailors found themselves racing “out” of the cove rather than “into” the cove – which made for great viewing and iconic photographing but challenging racing. Thanks to the SFYC race committee, the teams raced until sunset.
The Treasure Island Sailing Center docks – minutes from the course- made for ideal launching and “shift changes” between the two divisions racing.
Clipper Cove’s long shoreline parallel to the course made for tremendous view platforms with opportunity for “Kodak Moments” taken in by hundreds of parents and spectators.
Sailing is one of the few co-ed high school sports. Great to see teamwork and communications skills developing in these young sailors.
Mark roundings were hectic with frequent lead changes.
Clipper Cove is unique not only in the sailing venue it provides but also in its iconic location. From CC you can see the new Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s Skyline and the loading docks in Alameda.
At the end of the day Clipper Cove was back to its picture-perfect self.
The importance of High School sailing goes way beyond the friends made, seamanship skills, and even life lessons such as goal setting, communications teamwork & leadership. For many students their sailing experience equates to sharing and bonding opportunities during their freshmen years at college. We know firsthand these opportunities are the difference between fitting in and surviving that first tough year vs not making it to the sophomore year.
Regards (Courtesy of Lyn Hines, Steve Harris and Mike Segerblom) from On the Cove,
In the Wake:
Here are a few additional links related to this post.
July is a great month for smile creation on Clipper Cove. School is still over the horizon, the skies are bright blue, and afternoon winds fill sails and create smiles.
With three weeks of summer classes to go kids are charged.
And TISC instructors are leading the enthusiastic parade. Mother Nature has been on best behavior (for the most part).Our younger sailors start in Bugs. Classes are structured to focus on goal setting and building confidence from day one. Many kids think capsizing drills are “just the best”.
Classes progress into Opti’s. This is where kids begin to really figure out the winds on Clipper Cove.
Those who have mastered all points of sailing are allowed to venture past the eastern end of the cove between Pier 1 and the new Bay Bridge Tower. Advanced students who sail here benefit from stronger winds and the ability to recognize “tide lines” and learn more about the currents which can be very strong in the deeper water in this area.
Youth sailors utilize our FJ fleet to prepare for regional regattas. This class is also popular with many colleges and we use them for our Envision Academy Sailing Team (E*A*S*T).
No surprise to anyone familiar with youth sailing that fun Friday’s are a big hit with all ages. This is when skills learned during the week get parlayed into games of all types.
As our sailors “mix it up” with each other and in different craft on these free-form Friday afternoons, it’s clear their skills have progressed over the course of their one or two-week sessions. They test the limits of the boats, weave in/around each other with ease and display advanced helmsman-ship.
Self-esteem runs high with confidence not only on the boats but also in and around the water.
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.
Our June 12th Friday fun adventure at Treasure Island Sailing Center came courtesy of the Lending Club2 sailing team. Their 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.
What 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.
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.
Even the Golden Gate Bridge got into the trampoline action.
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).
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.Playful, bouncing giggling kids suddenly became thoughtful watchful kids. With smiles.
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.
Alcatraz. Golden Gate Bridge. Belvedere. St. Francis and Golden Gate Yacht Clubs. Oh so close.
TISC’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.
Aboard 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,
In the wake:
Twenty 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 HEREor download hi-res versions here: bit.ly/LC2-TISC
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.
My planned work day turned into a bonus photo shoot with the kids when Guadalupe Elementary Schoolarrived 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Learning 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.
TISC 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 ourRegistration 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 (email@example.com) or send along an email to me:
daveg at onclippercove dot com.
At 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.
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 Clubthen 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”.
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.
There’s more. The Bauer family had sailors on three different boats.
The Kafsky’s, including one of their daughters, skippered and crewed on two.
Not 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.
Lake 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.
Hats 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.
Gordon J. Lau Elementary school fourth graders from Chinatown studied canoes, schooners and container ships at TISC on Monday. And mapped SF Bay mystery spots using compasses. Hands-on-the-tiller of a real sailboat created big smiles – no surprise there.
Last year eleven hundred fourth graders from SFUSD spent a Set Sail Learn (SSL) day at Treasure Island Sailing Center. You may have read the stories from Francis Scott Key, Cleveland & Feinstein, and John Yehal Chin schools. By the end of 2015, 3,000 students will have benefited from this unique experiential learning program, selecting a choice of three curriculums: Ecology of the Bay, Maritime History or Alternative Energy.
Half the class spent the morning sailing on Clipper Cove in the shadow of the new Bay Bridge Eastern Span, the other half in our activity center. After lunch, they switched. Teachers love the fact curriculum is provided in advance and each student is given their own workbook.
Those in the activity center studied boats of all sizes and learned how they fit into the Maritime History of San Francisco Bay. Some were tiny, some huge. The container ships in Oakland appeared closer than they really were.
Another topic – compass navigation. Students identified five “mystery spots” around the bay, always setting a course from Clipper Cove. For example: Steer a course bearing 320 from Clipper Cove. During the mid-1940’s, when America was involved in World War II against Japan, this was the place where many Japanese people were forced to stay.
Wildlife abounded during the day. The Western Grebe welcomed the morning classes. After lunch sea gulls were constant companions. A seal was also reported.
The kids sailed past a barge bound from Pt. Richmond heading south and watched a trimaran sailing west into Clipper Cove anchorage. Full disclosure: not every future sailor was able to point to each of the five “mystery points” after the morning compass lesson, however 100% were excited to return to Clipper Cove. Our “no kid ever denied sailing lessons” philosophy encourages all SSL students to sign up for one of our summer sessions,
Views from all points of the compass opened up new vistas – majestic cranes, more container ships, San Francisco skyline and the shadowy details of the new Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge. Those with sharp eyes were treated to a view of the Crown Princess in town for the day.
Mentioned here last but always stressed first: SAFETY. Every student in each of the 64 SSL classes to-date has always been briefed on boating safety and equipped with a life jacket on the docks and in the boats. We use J/24 and RS Venture sailboats – safe and ideal for this program.
TISC Launched SSL in 2013 with support from the America’s Cup Organizing Committee and Mayor Ed Lee’s office. The program provides an experiential learning opportunity open to every fourth grader in the San Francisco Unified School District at no charge. Our objective: open a door to the Bay and the world of sailing using hands-on lessons while teaching 4th grade core standards.
Based on the smiles we saw Monday the kids from Gordon Lau Elementary enjoyed the dose of STEM mixed with their hands-in (the water) experience.Regards from On The Cove, Dave G
In the wake:
Hi-resolution downloads of the pictures above – and more – are available for sharing with school representatives and parents. If interested please contact the TISC office.
By the way, thanks and a tip-of-the-cap to our excellent instructors who are vital to the success of the SSL program.
Wednesday’s chilly swirling wind on Clipper Cove – not an ideal setting for Envision Academy Sailing Team’s first day back on the water. Tack, gibe and intentionally capsize they did, however, with bright smiles and cool determination.
In 2014 Treasure Island Sailing Center and OCSC Sailing teamed up to provide an opportunity for all students at Envision Academy to learn about the Bay, winds, tides and the physics behind sailing. And to get a jump start on life lessons from two of the best teaching teams on San Francisco Bay. You can read more about that partnership in the June ’14 “Bay Crossings” article featuring an interview with Anthony Sanberg and his new goal – to offer the experience of sailing to hundreds of Oakland teenagers.
I spent April Fools Day – no joke – with five members of the Envision Academy Sailing Team (E*A*S*T) during their first on-the-water training session of 2015. Although our head instructor Annie Butts has been working with the kids at EA in Oakland on chalk talks and PE since their team training ended last fall, Wednesday was their first time on Clipper Cove this year.
With the temperature at 61 and gusty winds of 15+ the kids did not get a warm welcome from Mother Nature. Undeterred they rigged and launched.
Then with Annie standing by in the safety boat they executed the capsizing and righting drills so important in all our youth sailing classes. Whether 8 or 18, TISC kids must know how to self-rescue from any boat they sail – from Bugs to FJ’s to RS Ventures.
Raise your hand, zip up your foulies and head for Clipper Cove if you can do a pull-up wearing a wet suit and water-laden life jacket !
We’ve discussed life lessons in past blogs – like teamwork, for example. Righting a sailboat quickly and safely requires many of the same skills – goal setting, communications, teamwork and leadership – stressed at Envision Academy and drilled in by instructors at TISC and OCSC on a daily basis.
Oh – and be sure to smile after the capsize drills. It helps to hide some of the inevitable angst and tends to build confidence in other students.
Those of you who’ve raced on Clipper Cove know the wind gusts can be pretty squirrely as they blast east toward the Emmeryville Flats. I was impressed by the degree to which these EA students – remember they just started sailing last year – kept themselves and their boat flat and in good form (how may sit-ups can you pull off these days?) on this blustery day.
Anthony and his team are “all in” on getting teenagers sailing on SF Bay. His instructors are volunteering their time, owners are making their boats available, and OCSC members are donating time and money to support the program. TISC is underwriting the project and has launched a fundraising campaign to continue the E*A*S*T racing program. You can add your support here: Sponsor a Sailor.
Regards from On The Cove, Dave G
In the Wake:
Here’s a short video on Envision Academy’s philosophy and approach to raise the graduation and college matriculation rates: Envision Philosophy.
TISC teaches life lessons and builds self-confidence in under-served youth and new sailors. Best wishes for 2015 as we give credit where credit is due, to Clipper Cove – our platform for smiles, volunteer hours, goal-setting, teamwork, communications and leadership.
Treasure Island Sailing Center is fortunate to be located on arguably one of the best venues in the US if not the World for teaching life lessons to under-served children and youth while providing access to water sports for our entire community. Clipper Cove is unique in its central location, protected waters, predictable winds, minimum effect of the tidal currents and access to San Francisco Bay for sailing year around.
Below are favorite pictures taken on Clipper Cove since we started photo-blogging three years ago. No particular order, simply a collection of groups and activities with two commonalities – smiles and Clipper Cove.
TISC provides community outreach so kids can learn about the bay after school and during the summer. And adults come here to access SF Bay for many reasons including lessons, community sailing, and organized racing.
More and more today youth and adults are realizing sailing is not just about racing; they’re using the wind as a free source of propulsion to simply have fun and enjoy what Mother Nature has given us. And the Bay’s shoreline provides a nice alternative path to exercise.
Clipper Cove is generally gentle most mornings. Ideal time of day for new sailors to learn the basics of sailing.
Of course sailors love wind and even our novice sailors soon progress to a point where flying spray and feet dragging in the water makes for a fun time. North west summer arrive predictably around 11 am most days and build until 6pm.
As counter-intuitive as it may seem to non-sailors, capsize drills seem to be at the top of the list with many TISC students. Could be their confidence and self-esteem showing through, or the chance to jump in, or simply a way to remind themselves and others that they’re in charge. Clipper Cove is a safe, ideal place for such drills, well away from the currents prevalent in nearly all other bay locations.
And along with the basics of sailing come the life lessons we speak of so often such as goal setting which is a pathway to self-confidence, communications which must be a way of life on the water and teamwork which is pretty much an integral part of any sailing program – it’s just plain natural for kids to help each other in almost any aspect of the sport from launching to sailing to putting away at the end of the day.
Friday afternoons offer a chance for our sailing classes to kick back and have fun on the beach. Many days outreach classes, PE classes from local schools and youngsters from our young “Harbor Seals” can be found on protected beach at the western end of Clipper Cove.
As students progress, our lessons introduce leadership for those interested in taking their skills further – into teaching, coaching, on to college and beyond. TISC provides internships and scholarships for these talented youth, many of whom represent our next generation of Bay Stewards.
Clipper Cove is home port for the Cal Berkeley Sailing Team in the fall and SF Bay Laser and V15 fleets in the summer. Winter brings out the BAYS high school regatta.
Since TISC launched Set Sail Learn in the fall of 2013 over 1,600 fourth graders from 33 schools have sailed on Clipper Cove. These newest visitors to Clipper Cove have come from 59 San Francisco fourth grade classes. Regards from On The Cove, Dave G
In the wake:
The Treasure Island Sailing Center Foundation raises money so no child or youth who wants to take lessons or join in our outreach program is ever refused for their inability to pay. Last year our summer and outreach programs hosted 968 youth. Our community sailing events, always open to the public, and adaptive sailing and Co-Able Youth lessons provided access to the bay for another 1,000+ participants. Here are a few more of the many smiling faces from 2014:
A generous grant from the St. Francis Sailing Foundation could provide $10,000 for our children and youth programs. We need to match this $5,000 challenge grant by year- end. Can you please help us help a child learn to sail?
Every $1 you donate by December 31st means our youth programs will receive a $2 contribution toward children and youth sailing programs, community outreach and our innovative Sailing into Schools programs for 4th graders. To fully cash in on this matching grant we need to match the $5,000 challenge by the end of the year (Donate On-Line HERE).
Here’s what your donation ++ match could mean to an underserved Bay Area child:
Your $540++ donation provides instructors and skippers for TWO Set Sail Learn classes for thirty 4th graders
Your $350++ donation provides a full week of summer camp for TWO kids
Your $250++ donations provides SSL bus transportation for THIRTY 4th graders
Your $175++ donation provides a group orientation sail for TEN youth
Your $70++ donation provides a full day of summer sailing lessons for TWO kids
Your $25++ donation provides a group orientation sail for TWO kids
Our goal is to raise $5,000 in the next five weeks in order to match every dollar in this gracious donation. The resulting $10,000 would mean a lot to kids who depend on TISC fundraising to provide them with the opportunity to learn important life lessons through sailing.
As you plan your year-end giving please consider support for a child, or a group of after-school students or a class of 4th graders. Your donation in any amount (perhaps your employer has a matching-gift program as well?) is greatly appreciated and can be made quickly and simply using the TISC Secure On-Line Donation Page.
Regards from On the Cove, Dave G
In the wake:
TISC uses sailing as a platform to teach life lessons including goal setting, teamwork, communications, and leadership. Our higher level objectives are to provide access to the bay, instill a feeling of stewardship, and develop self-esteem. We raise money for scholarships so that no child is ever turned away in order to reach these objectives. We’ve included a few 2014 smiles from kids who benefited from your 2013 generosity.
Goal setting is one of the first life lessons taught in our classes. Sailing up wind is not obvious to newbie sailors. That is often one of the first goals – sail west toward San Francisco. These kids mastered that skill.
Teamwork is the easiest of the skills we teach because sailing is all about working together. Setting up, crewing, hauling out and cleaning up all work much better when teamwork kicks in. Parents are a valuable part of our team and often join in for special event.
Parents are a valuable part of our team and often join in for special event.
Our first co-able class took teamwork to a whole new level by forming teams of kids with varying levels and types of disabilities to work together as first-time sailors. TISC joined forces with Bay Area Association of Disable Sailors last summer to run the first-ever Co-Able Sailing Camp on San Francisco Bay.
Communications between skipper and crew can be difficult with new sailors. We often team up more experienced with less experienced kids. Its not unusual to find one of our instructors or junior instructors to hop in a boat with kids to help them tune up these skills.
Leadership skills emerge as experience builds. We see it in small ways weekly and over the course of the summer in our older youth. Many TISC junior instructors have “come up through the ranks” to become excellent full time instructors.
Confidence and self esteem are some of the most important byproducts the TISC sailing program. Many of our summer students have not sailed before their first week of classes. Some have been around the water, most have not. Drills such as capsizing can be scary. After several days I’m amazed at how many kids proclaim “capsizing was the best part of the day”. Confidence at its best!
Community outreach programs provide Bay Area Children and Youth with the opportunity to enjoy San Francisco Bay from aboard a sailboat. These programs run nearly all year long and provide opportunities with youth from over 35 of our partners after school in the spring and fall and during the summer.
We partner with agencies who provide outreach and learning for youth as well as children. These soon-to-be young adults are an ideal age to understand all about bay ecology and stewardship. They “get it”.
Our Set Sail Learn (SSL) classes provide opportunities to get on the bay – to touch the water, grab a handful of seaweed and take a look at Clipper Cove “residents” large and small. These kids leave with a much better appreciation of the water, wind, tide, sailboats and creatures who hang out here. Great way to develop future bay stewards!
Our innovative SSL experiential learning classes also provide an opportunity for kids to communicate with their classmates and lead discussions. TISC provides curriculum, bus transportation, instructors, boats and skippers at no charge to SFUSD fourth grade classes.
Francis Scott Key Elementary students sailed on Clipper Cove and studied SF Bay ecology. They used gaming theory and mathematics to forecast Dungeness crab populations. Crab calling lessons to rouse crabs from the sea wall were a big hit!
Last week the fourth graders from Ms. Huschke’s class at Francis Scott Key Elementary School experienced life on top of and in the waters of Clipper Cove and learned about the ecology of SF Bay. Our unique experiential learning program combines on-the-water time in RS Venture sailboats, participation in outdoor games, and active learning about ecology, math, biology and other sciences in our lab.
Thanks to the America’s Cup and the Mayor’s office TISC launched Set Sail Learn (SSL) in the Fall of 2013. Set Sail Learn provides an experiential learning opportunity to every fourth grader in the San Francisco Unified School District by opening a door to the Bay and the world of sailing. The program uses hands-on lessons to teach 4th grade core standards; there is no cost to the schools for transportation, instructors, or materials.
FSK students were here to learn about the Ecology of the Bay. TISC developed the curricula specifically for SSL. Teachers are provided with workbooks and instructions in advance of each visit. Other class options include Maritime History and The Power of the Wind.
Over 1,600 SSL participants from 25 SFUSD schools have seen and felt SF Bay first hand in RS Venture sailboats since the start of the program. The protected environment of Clipper Cove, complete with backdrops of Oakland cranes, the Bay Bridge and San Francisco, provides a safe, accessible location to integrate sailing with learning.
Even with a small amount of wind, and some help from Newton’s third law, the RS Ventures ghosted over the waters of Clipper Cove.
Half the kids sail while the other half learn about ecology and the needs of Dungeness crabs. They learn food, oxygen and habitat is required for the population to grow. The “crab game” helps them visualize nature at work. They also learn how to plot data to show their results.
Active participation in our learning lab makes for lively discussions and encourages open communications. Some classes provide opportunities for working in teams as part of the lesson.
While some fourth graders have been on or near the bay, few have been in sailboats or actually touched and played in the water. Or skippered a sailboat!
Clipper Cove is home to a wide range of plant and animal sea life. Seaweed can be found while sailing or around the docks. This seaweed is home to even smaller organisms.
Docks and ramps provide ideal source of seaweed and algie. Microscopes enabled FSK students to see these living parts of SF Bay up close in our lab and lead students to even more discoveries. Some only visible under the microscope.
While advanced navigation is not part of our SSL curricula the instructors explain maps, directions, and basic navigation – from bearings on the dock to tracking landmarks on the Bay. When taking pictures I was pleased to note the kids did a good job of pointing in the right direction when asked, for example, “where’s north?”
Or, “point toward the west”.
The October 16th tide was dropping as SSLearn progressed. The “crab calling” lessons provided by Chris Childers, Program Director and SSL Instructor, brought out the rock crabs. This lead to further investigation along the break wall.
SSL students weren’t the only ones interested in the rock crabs.
SF Bay is famous for its Dungeness crab population. Clipper Cove is home to many, and sometimes they join our classes for a brief cameo appearance. Such was the case when FSK Elementary was here.
Not only seeing but actually touching “the real thing” of course makes the classes even more memorable.
At the end of the day our “crabby” friend headed home. As did the FSK Students.
The Francis Scott Key staff stress skills that enable their students to be successful citizens and life long learners. The TISC SSL Learn program fits well with their core curriculum and resonated directly with their goals to develop an understanding and appreciation in the areas of technology, art, music, and physical education. Their time at TISC here on Clipper Cove fit right into their school theme: “Building Healthy Minds and Bodies.”
While filling rapidly, there are still classes available for TISC’s Spring SSL Session which start Monday, April 13, 2015. Interested fourth grade teachers, principals and PTO leaders can read more about our program and sign up for sessions on line at the TISC website here: Sailing into Schools. I recommendyou register immediately if interested in brining your class to an April 2015 session.
Regards from On the Cove, Dave G ( daveg @ onclippercove . com )
In the wake:
If you are a parent, grandparent of family member of a student whose class is featured below, please contact your teacher for the link to a directory of all the pictures taken during the class visit to TISC.
Francis Scott Key Elementary students sailed on Clipper Cove and studied SF Bay ecology. They used gaming theory and mathematics to forecast Dungeness crab populations. Crab calling lessons to rouse crabs from the sea wall were a big hit!
SSLearn 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!
As 33 John Yehall Chin Elementary School fourth graders departed TISC after their SSLearn Day, I asked for six words describing their feelings. I was blown away when one student excitedly exclaimed “I’m crabby, day had to end”!