In the words of the brilliant Lao Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Or for a sailor, a single tack. A similar transformation occurs for the youth that choose to partake in the sailing education programs provided by Treasure Island Sailing Center. Whether it is the spring, fall, or summer, the root of the sailing center presents the spectacular sport of sailing and its related positive attributes to all those interested. In the spring and fall, the lessons are comprised of seven or eight sequential Sundays, with the program lasting three hours each weekend. During the summer, one or two-week programs occurring all day long are the norm. And along with the set schedules, private lessons are sprinkled in whenever requested or needed. All in all, the sailing never stops for the insatiable desire of our sailors.
Resulting from the easy accessibility of the sailing lessons, student’s improvement becomes very apparent as the children progress through the program. Moreover, this sailing center focuses primarily on the sport itself. As a community sailing center, students sail here and continue to do so for the same reason that all mariners began in the first place: for the love of sailing. Furthermore, TISC constantly does its best to break down the barriers to entry that exist in the expensive sport. For example, scholarships are offered to any that need them, with the goal of more individuals out on the water. At Treasure Island Sailing Center, if the desire to sail is there, money should not be a concern.
In line with the metamorphosis of our children, an ideal example would be our very own Team TISC. After the success of our students at the regatta over Labor Day Weekend, Team TISC traveled to St. Francis Yacht Club for an event as part of the Northern California BAYS Winter Series. The weekend of October 21-22, the regatta was a culmination of the Advanced Youth and Learn to Race classes of our Fall Program. With five weeks of sailing practices under their belts, they tackled the challenge of Team TISC’s first ever travel regatta. Even more incredible, for numerous racers the sailing competition was the final test after months of practice via courses in the spring and summer.
Contrary to many sports, the competitors could not just show up on game day. The Thursday before the event, four Flying Juniors and two Optimists were towed across the San Francisco Bay. On Friday, the coach boat was loaded up with supplies. On Saturday, the coach and sailors showed up at St. Francis Yacht Club at 7:30 AM, with the whole day of rigging, racing, and derigging lasting until 3:30 PM. On Sunday, the same process occurred as the day before, along with the added job of towing the boats back to Treasure Island. When everything was said and done, the final hard workers returned home around 8:00 PM Sunday evening. To anyone that says sailing is an easy sport, Team TISC will tell you otherwise.
Overall though, the weekend was a fantastic learning experience! Team TISC’s FJ pairs consisted of Declan Donovan and Felix Quinteiro, Alexa Soucy and Alex VanScoy, Rowan Clinch and Grady Florance, and Raffy Weiner and Cal Stewart, with the skippers being the first name listed and the crew the second. Our Opti sailors of the Green Fleet were Ben O’Neill and Zach Gordon. Dealing with cancelled races, repeated postponements, strong currents, and light wind gently rolling through the Golden Gate, our sailors had to quickly learn to live outside of Clipper Cove. While frustrated at times, the initial irritation rapidly dissolved to new-found understanding and strategy. The sailors improved with each race.
By the completion of the regatta and a limited number of races, Team TISC displayed a strong finish. For the FJs, Declan and Felix came in at 7th out of 15 boats, Alexa and Alex at 9th, Rowan and Grady at 10th, and Raffy and Cal at 13th. For the Optis of the Green Fleet, Ben came in at 6th out of 17 boats and Zach at 7th. All of the results were outstanding, especially given that this was only the first or second regatta for our racers! As the committed sailors continue the transformative experience of the program, the results will do nothing but improve.
At TISC, we center ourselves around sailing and the lessons it presents. Entering like a fresh piece of clay, untouched and ready to be molded, our sailors leave with a better understanding of teamwork, hard work, patience, and most importantly, respect. Consequently, the success effortlessly follows. In the words of our very own Ben O’Neill, “TISC is like the underdog in all of the stories. We always win.”
Regards from On the cove,
Smitty & Alec
In the wake: While the Fall Program is coming to a close, begin considering the start of your own journey of a thousand miles: The Spring Program. We would love to have you! The link will be accessible shortly on the main page of the website. For information about the next youth programs as well as regattas in the Northern California BAYS Series or Team TISC, send an email to the Program Manager, Alec Liguori, at email@example.com.