I wish all our juniors could have attended the Memorial Celebration of Life held in Tom Allen’s honor at St. Francis Yacht Club last Saturday. Many take-aways relevant to young aspiring sailors like those in the TISC and StFYC junior programs.
My top three: big picture thinking; mentoring is one of life’s most important responsibilities; and leave your ego at home. If Tom read this he’d likely add a fourth: have fun following your passion!
Tom’s passion lead him on a course from sailor to racer in his beloved IOD “Whitecap” to judge; he progressed from participant to ”helmsman” at US Sailing, the San Francisco IOD Fleet, PICYA and the St Francis Yacht Club. He was well known and highly respected on all levels: local, national and international.
Tom attacked problems from the top. He worked with other sailing judges to train race committees and create a better environment for racers. Then he worked to improve judging.
To keep our sport growing Tom co-founded the St Francis Sailing Foundation 27 years ago and has worked tirelessly to encourage and support young aspiring sailors. He and the foundation have helped countless sailors develop here on San Francisco Bay and around the world.
Tom helped launch the Treasure Island Sailing Center in 1999 and has been a board member ever since. He understood kids gained self-esteem sailing while having a boat load of fun. More importantly, he believed every child should have this opportunity regardless of their socio-economic community.
His efforts had a dramatic effect on the growth and stability of TISC. He was instrumental in making sailing accessible to San Francisco youth of limited means. And now his generosity and vision will continue in perpetuity through his transformational gifts to each foundation.
Last year TISC honored two of our Junior Instructors with the first annual Tom V. Allen, Jr. Service and Leadership Award. The winners of the Award receive support for sailing classes, leadership training and Junior Instructor stipends. Tom’s Award will help exceptional youth hone their skills as leaders as they continue to work with TISC.
Ashley and Ivan demonstrated a passion for sailing, a commitment to our community, and a clear intent of giving back. These junior instructors acted as role models for TISC youth. They are exceptional volunteers dedicating their time to their personal development as sailors and teachers and to the development of TISC’s youth as sailors and individuals. Like Tom, they understand the importance of growing our community of sailors.
Tom was a special guy. He will be missed by everyone in the sailing community especially those who were fortunate to have worked with him.
Remembering Tom’s sailing legacy, from On The Cove,
In the Wake:
If you knew Tom or have kids in a junior sailing program or simply want to help children learn life skills through sailing, please consider a gift in Tom’s memory to the St. Francis Sailing Foundation or the Treasure Island Sailing Center Foundation.
Tom Allen’s photo by Tom Moulin