Volunteers Launch TISC Opening Day

TISC Opening Day - Low tide in the morning

Low tide on a quiet Clipper Cove Saturday, April 27

TISC Opening Day 2013 was smooth sailing from first launch at low tide to 6pm high fives thanks to the massive volunteer effort coordinated by our team.  I spent the day driving Skipper’s Gift, secretly envious of the lucky RS Venture drivers.

Based on the iPhone activity from the sixty six Skipper’s Gift “crew” yesterday there will be plenty of images on social media of smiling faces, happy families and passionate volunteers.  This blog is about the volunteers who helped enable our 850+ visitors to have enjoyable day On Clipper Cove.

Tide low during drop in

Low ( -1.4 ft) tides on Clipper Cove make launching and retrieving boats more difficult.

Tide high for hauling out

When the tides on Clipper Cove are higher launching is easier because the vertical distance from water to yard is less.

Mother Nature delivered up a nearly astronomically low tide of -1.4 just as we were launching the J/24s, RS Ventures and safety boats.  Made for a long drop, although we were rewarded later in the day with a convenient high tide for hauled out. 

Two USF Service-Learning teams working with our staff played a huge part in the planning and preparation of the day’s events.  I’m still not sure if they’ve all had a chance to get out for a sail, and will try to make sure that happens as they wrap up their work on the volunteer-enabling software for us and make their recommendations for any opening day “tune ups” we should consider for next year.

USF Team Ready to Register

USF Service-Learning team ready for registration. Notice the huge pile of life jackets in the background – they were ALL in used during busy times!

USF Team Managing Goods and Services

USF Service-Learning teams also sold TISC gear during the event.

As they have done for all major events over last few years, the Cal Berkeley Sailing team turned out in force.  They were there from first launch until last evening shadows began to settle over TISC launching boats, keeping our drivers on time, and helping visitors – many who had never sailed or even been on boats – on/off the J/24’s, RS Ventures and smaller water craft.  Their team sails out of TISC and are a model tenant in terms of sail hard, enjoy the bay and give back to enable others to benefit from the sport of sailing.

Cal Sailing Rigging J24s

Cal Berkely Sailing Team readies the J/24 fleet for a busy day on Clipper Cove.

Crowded day on the pier

Notice the huge crowds in the background ready for their turn at rides. Cal Sailing team helped visitors on/off the J/24’s during the day.

Tenants from TISC turned out in force to support opening day.  21 skippers and crew from our J/24, Melges 24, Thistle and V15 fleets showed up to help with driving and managing a small armada of watercraft.  A great showing of support from the “locals”.

Kevin and Chris lead skippers meeting

Kevin and Chris briefed the TISC Tenant Volunteers on plans for the day, stressing safety and timeliness during hand-off at the dock.

chris with radios and answers

Chris answered questions and passed out TISC-provided hand-helds to drivers for the J/24’s and safety boats.

RS Ventures and Kayaks ready

Volunteers setting up the RS Ventures, stand-up paddle boards and kayaks in preparation for the many free rides of the day.

The real stars of the day were the kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, Optis, RS Ventures and J/24s.  People came to enjoy the water and it doesn’t get better than an exciting eco-friendly day On Clipper Cove.

New RS Venture framed by HMB1

During low tide entrance to Clipper Cove must be made near the large pier temporarily occupied by the Hughes Mining Barge recently renovated for use in off-shore barge refurbishing by Bay Ship and Yacht.

RS Venture framed by Alameda Battle Bots

RS Ventures provided lively rides as the winds cooperated with 15-20 knot gusts. Notice huge “battle bots” in the background.

Opti and RS Venture

TISC’s fleet was augmented this year by the just-arrived RS Ventures. They will offer ability to have instructor-lead “on-the-water” classes for several students at the same time. The Opti on left sails with one or two students only.

RS Venture and J24 framed by Bay Bridge

J/24s, RS Ventures and kayaks were big hit with hundreds of visitors to TISC during Opening Day 2013

Safety Boat and RS Venture Framed by new bridge

Most common questions from guests on Skipper’s Gift were about TISC, our mission and sailing lessons.  Other popular ones: “How do boats sail upwind”, “where can I rent a boat like this”, and “what’s inside that large gray barge on the big pier”.

What started out for many as a Facebook link, email from a friend or outdoor pick on funCheapSF turned into an opportunity to share background on our mission of delivering life-lessons to kids through sailing.

THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS, or enabling our team to kick off another year as a “Launching Point for New Horizons” for bay area kids, and a fun place to sail and race for adults.

Regards from on The Cove, Dave G

 In the wake: As I was preparing to swap out five smiling faces for a new crew just after lunch I was taken aback by a sleek PROTECTOR ribby parked under our two-ton hoist.  With a PIZZA sign on top?  I later found out Waypoint Pizza (history here, founded in 1997 same year as TISC) made a high speed run from Tiburon to provide hot pizza for many of our volunteers.  More in a later blog on the many “gifts in kind” that added to the cost-effective success of TISC Opening Day 2013.

Spreaders, Smiles and Straight Courses

Friday morning’s lesson:  the “pop” in stainless steel pop rivets can be tough.  Very Tough!  The afternoon served up an opportunity for more Mission Beacon kids smiles outside the cove, in the “flats” and under the new Bay Bridge.

broken spreaderLate last year we lost a spreader on one of our J/24’s.  Friday offered up an opportunity to remove old brackets and install new ones complete with an updated “through-mast” spreader bar. Drilling out old rivets was easy; removing the brackets went without a hitch.

Installing the new brackets using 16 3/16 x 3/4  stainless pop rivets not so easy. The rivets took serious pressure to get them to “pop”.  I was able to do so using a combination “double wrist grip” plus “brace the gun on the mast and push” approach. Took more time than expected.

If anyone has suggestions on better approach let me know.  Although both guns were on the “aged” side they’ve worked fine on recent jobs using aluminum rivets.

Ten middle-school students from San Francisco Beacon Initiative showed up at 2pm.  The wind was cranking nicely so Philip and I decided to pass on a bay sail and treat the kids and two advisors to close up views of the large buoys and barges in the flats, underneath views of the new Bay Bridge and opportunity to see the Alameda cranes loading a container ship.

Friends Under New Bay Bridge     Afternoon Sun at our Backs

Angel Island BackgroundJ/24’s are great platforms for such cruises.  On our boat the two favorite spots were hanging out on (but not over) the bow and driving.  Everyone took a turn at both.  I was also reminded of the origins of the Star Wars battle bots by one of our guests (you’ve heard that story, right)?An Inspiration for Star Wars BattlebotEyes on the Bay

Focusing on where we were heading and keeping steady course was challenging for some, natural for others.  While a minor lesson compared to the goal setting, teamwork, communications and leadership taught as key elements of our summer youth program, these Everett Middle School students enjoyed their time with us and drove straight courses.  Something about being On the Cove and away from city distractions, I guess.

Focused Driving

Our programs staff is always on the alert for volunteers to help with orientation sails like the one above.  If you would be willing to help out call the office and get your name on our volunteer driving list. 

Regards from On the Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

Link to Volunteer Opportunities at TISC: HERE

Call the TISC office to discuss volunteer opportunities: 415.421.2225


USF Service-Learning on Clipper Cove

USF Orientation Sail

USF Service-Learning Team Orientation Sail on Clipper Cove

Last Friday three students from  USF’s Service-Learning program delivered recommendations for a volunteer tracking app for integration with our salesforce.com platform. Complete with requirements, objective and solution pros/cons.  Their next step – deliver documented phase-1 of a working, deployable system.

Service-learning at USF offers motivated students an opportunity to work on a range of projects while developing valuable experience rooted to real-world constraints. The community partner benefits are many, including ability to expand resources available for key projects, access to latest thinking and technology and effective way to development additional skills within their teams. Big win-win all around

Next steps for USF team: to provide a “cheat sheet” for those features we need (the system has many more bells and whistles than we require) then populate new app with real data. Final phase will be roll out and guiding TISC team through use on live volunteer project.

TISC could not function without our volunteers. They provide needed skills, hundreds of hours of applied time each year and gifts-in-kind for major events. More important, many grants are tied to our non-profit status; if we cannot show documented volunteer hours some of them would disappear of our radarscope.

Thanks to USF efforts we will soon have a cloud-based system to enable our team to easily set up and promote volunteer projects then track and report volunteer hours quickly and efficiently.  Our tenants will benefit through an easy path to match their time and skills to projects available to fulfill their contract commitments to TISC. Another big win-win.

TISC teaches life skills to kids through sailing. USF service-learning provides a unique opportunity for students to deliver vital services to the community around them while tuning their basic job skills so important in the workspace they will soon join.

I look forward to meeting our entire USF team in a couple of weeks – they’ll be joining us for our Opening Day on Saturday, April 27th.

Regards from On the Cove, Dave G

In the wake: If you’re interested in learning more about USF service learning you might want to consider joining one of their bi-annual Community Partner Seminars