From On the Rocks to On Clipper Cove in 60 Minutes

initial prep grindingWith 1,000 student-drivers per year, dings, nicks and holes can’t be avoided in Treasure Island Sailing Center’s fleet. Dave Collignon, TISC Melges24 sailor and Revchem technical applications expert, shared his fix-it expertise with 26 students using fast-setting UV-cure polyester resin.

Dave’s approach for the class was clever and effective.  He used an old Laser hull with four (self inflicted) holes on the curved chine. He took them to various states of completion before class started then used each to demonstrate a different step in the repair process after students arrive.  At all times he protected the hull from “drips” with paper, and himself from “the itchies” with long sleeved shirt, glasses, respirator and long sleeves.protect the area around the fixDave Callignon Grinding Away

The secret ingredient used during the clinic was UV Cure Polyester Surfboard Laminating Resin that hardens in 10 minutes when exposed to sunlight. Pot life in the shade is hours to days. Along with a few other products (available at Svendsen’s Boat Works), simple tools and mother nature – repairs can be accomplished rapidly, even over lunch between the last morning race and first afternoon race !tools of the trade

Revchem with Bay BridgeDave completed the steps for a simple repair by working on four similar spots in parallel.He used a grinder to remove material around the ding – being careful to leave as much damaged glass intact as a base for the patch.   The entire repair to a real hole would easilly have been completed in an hour.sanding the puttyA hard block was used for fairing to retain the shape of the hull. fairing prior to gelcoatThe final state, before application of gelcoat, was a “50 grit smooth” surface shaped like the hull slightly recessed to make room for the gelcoat.

ready for puttyThree additives provide the basis for repairs: milled fiber for strength and hardness, Q-Cell quartz microspheres to create a filler that’s easy-to-sand, and fumed silica to act as a thickening agent.  Used in various combinations they form a putty with adjustable properties from super strong to super workable.  Sitting on the shady table they remained workable all afternoon and into the evening.stronger-bigger-thicker

Students arrived at 6pm.   With the four dings at various states Dave took the class through each step of the repair class on clipper cove more grinding

Even with the sun’s rays weakening, students were able to observe best practices for each step in the process as dave took the repairs to completion.applying first glass cloth

applying puttyThe final step was the addition of the gelcoat layer.  working in gel coatfinal putty smoothingAfter application of the gelcoat he used a freezer bag to cover the patch to ensure an almost-smooth finish.  After curing the gelcoat is sanded with 220-600-800 grit sandpaper then buffed smooth.before the plastic bag applying gelcoatFiberglass cloth is available in a wide range of weights, construction and materials. Dave went through many of them, including a short discussion of carbon fiber cloth. He also touched on the use of epoxy resin (best for structural repair) vs the polyester resin used in class ( best for cosmetic repairs).about glass cloth

The last repair of the day was a J/24 hatch cover damaged on one edge. This was a good segue into the use of thick, unwoven glass fiber cloth.  Dave showed the key to success with this ungainly material: gloves and various sized resin rollers !user rollers for wetting chopped glass matfirst layer of chopped glass on hatch first layer of chopped glass adding mat to hatch for bulk

As the sun was finally setting Dave talked through the repair of an Opti with damage to the bow.  The trick on this one was a combination putty made with both milled fibers and fumed silica.  The deck and hull were then clamped securely but not quite touching.  For both the J/24 hatch cover and Opti bow, the last step would be external finishing using same techniques as with the Laser.  Questions and wrap-up followed at 7:30.

UVA GoneAfter the last pizza box was cleared and tables/chairs put away the UVA from Mother Nature was replaced with moon beams over the new Bay Bridge.  While not great for UV Cure resin it made a nice bookend for the first annual TISC “Glass Class”.

Thanks again to Dave Collignon for an entertaining, fact-filled, hands-on fiberglass boat repair clinic.  And thanks in advance to those attendees who will be using their new-found-skills to help maintain the Treasure Island Sailing Center fleet as they set sail heading out for new horizons.

From On the Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

Here is a link to the reference materials from Wednesday’s clinic: TISC-glass-class-aug-2013

Phone number for  Matt Ford, the manager at Svendson’s Chandlery: 510-521-8454 ext# 34.  These guys sponsor the Thursday night Laser/V15 races and are great TISC supporters. If you need supplies they are willing to drop off at TISC.

And by the way, if you have a skill you’d like to share with other tenants or a suggestion for upcoming clinic let me know:


Two Days, Two Bays, Kids Smiles

We spent yesterday with our kids on the bay with AC72s, O’pen BICs and Emirates Simulators.  Thursday was photo day on Clipper Cove for the last TISC summer session. Hiking, gybing and capsizing with kids smiles all around.

Last things first. On Sunday we watched race two of the LVC series with our kids.  Our favorite viewing spot is just east of Golden Gate Yacht Club.  The stands west of St. Francis Yacht Club also offer great views, as do the stands and breakwall at Marina Green.

The Americas Cup Event Authority created a packed schedule of events on and off the water at Marina Green and AC Village.  This weekend BIC Sports hosted 20 kids aged 10-14 from the US, New Zealand, Hawaii and Bermuda to sail O’pen BICs right in front of the Marina Green grandstand. The course was a zig-zag with final upwind.  Check out this video for some of the action from Sunday.bic-slalom

The rules for this event include required sailing maneuvers called for in real-time by on-course judges.  As the kids rounded a mark the may be told “stand up”, “gybe”, or “capsize”.bic-stand upbic - alcatraz bic-capsize

Following the AC72 and O’Pen BIC sailing we visited AC park where we enjoyed the Kids Zone and racing the Emirates sailing simulators. Would have been nice to have time for a nap on the bean bag chairs!

We often talk about the many life lessons included in the TISC sailing curriculum such as self confidence, communication, teamwork and leadership.  Of course a key objective of our programs is to train junior sailors to continue with their life on the bay be it through racing, instructing or simply enjoying.  This means seamanship, boathandling and safety drills.

Last Thursday’s lessons during the final summer sailing session of the year, were typical of a day on Clipper Cove.  Some kids were challenged with mark rounding rules while racing FJs while others in Bugs played follow the leader.TISC - sorting it out TISC - upwind

As was the case with the O’pen BIC races, our instructors also required sailors to capsize “on demand” while racing.  Winds were on the light side Thursday morning so some capsizes had to be helped along by shifting weight to leeward.TISC- fj righting TISC - team practice TISC - going over

The bugs also got in the act with capsize drills.TISC-bug righting

Just like on SF Bay, the winds pick up in the afternoon at TISC as well.  A favorite part of the day is the downwind sail home.TISC-homeward bound TISC - downwind

Above all else, safety is the #1 Priority at Treasure Island Sailing Center.  Lifejackets are worn at all times and instructors watch over the capsize drills.TISC-Lifejackets TISC-rigging and safety

TISC-safety boat

While most of our instructors have returned to school or jobs, others are looking forward to the Fall.  You can find information on our Fall Programs HERE.

Regards from on the Bay and on the Cove,

Dave G


In the Wake:

If you are a parent with a child who took lessons at TISC and would like to view more pictures let me know via email ( and I will provide a link to high quality, password-protected JPEGs you can view or download.  Be sure to include your name, your child’s name, the session attended and a memory your student shared with you about sailing at TISC.

Even better, if you would like to help our team create a 2-3 minute slide show about TISC  SMILES please contact Madison in the TISC office.

ACEA Community Outreach Programs Benefit TISC

Twenty three TISC students had front-row seats for Race 3 of the Louis Vuitton Cup semi-finals courtesy of the America’s Cup Event Authority.  Our team used public transportation and boats to get everyone to Marina Green. Some made it back.

Thank you Kelly Cowden for providing tickets to last Friday’s LVC race between Artemis and Luna Rosa. Thanks also to Chris Childers and Madison Gattis for figuring out the logistics of getting kids, staff, guests and parents to the venue before the event and re-connected after the event.  Even real-time glitches in the public transportation system did not prevent our team from pulling off a fun and educational day for all.

The pre-race events included youth racing right in front of the Marina Green bleachers.  Following the races the teams were interviewed live – more good training for these young sailors who handled questions on strategy and tactics as easily as a C420 gybe.

Close finishes were the norm during LVC pre-race program

Close finishes were the norm during LVC pre-race program

Marina Green provides awesome viewing.  The “defender access” period (have you been watching “No Second Place“) before races ensures lots of action well in advance of the races.

Marina Green provides great "head on" view of Oracle team practicing their starts

Marina Green provides great “head on” view of Oracle team practicing their starts

Prada practice start prior to LVC Race #3

Prada practice start prior to LVC Race #3

While our RS Ventures provide exciting planning experience and flying water, there is nothing like seeing AC72s foiling close by.  Pictures below are two more examples of the excellent non-stop viewing from Marina Green.

Prada foils past Marina Green during LVC Race #3

Prada foils past Marina Green during LVC Race #3

Artemis crew foils during LVC semifinal race #3

Artemis crew foils during LVC semifinal race #3

Our kids, staff and guests were glued to the action during the race. The large TV screens on both sides of the Marina Green bleachers give the feeling of being on the boats at all times.  Easy access and ring-side seats make this an excellent location for taking in America’s Cup action.

Action all around engaged TISC student sailors at LVC semifinal race #3

Action all around engaged TISC student sailors at LVC semifinal race #3

Jumbo screens bring AC excitement to the Marina Green bleachers

Jumbo screens bring AC excitement to the Marina Green bleachers

ACEA’s Community Outreach Program managed by Kelly Cowden is focused on exposing as many people in the Bay Area as possible to sailing, especially kids. One of our parent volunteers and a junior instructor took in the Friday race from course-side on the San Francisco Fire Department “Guardian”, also courtesy of  Kelly and her team.

SF Fire Boat Guardian Hosted Community Service Volunteers During the Race

SF Fire Boat Guardian Hosted Community Service Volunteers During the Race

Students, instructors and staff gather for a quick “Hi and thank you Americas Cup Community Outreach Program” after Friday’s races at Marina Green.  Our team is also very appreciative of the financial support received from ACEA through their generous donation from the rockin’ Sublime concert on August 4th.

TISC Kids at LVC

As the afternoon came to an end, some kids met parents in San Francisco after the races.  Others did make it back to TISC in two of our safety boats. AC72 viewing continued as Oracle Team USA boats continued their practice session.

Oracle AC72s dwarf CFD's during practice run following LVC Race #3

Oracle AC72s dwarf CFD’s during practice run following LVC Race #3

TISC students head back to Clipper Cove following LVC semi-final Race #3

TISC students head back to Clipper Cove following LVC semi-final Race #3

Treasure Island Sailing Center is working with thirty plus outreach partners to provide positive life experiences on the bay for kids in the Bay Area.  The support from the America’s Cup Community Outreach program is greatly appreciated.

Regards from Marina Green, Dave G





Photographing kids can be challenging.  Moving boats, variable winds, clouds, shaddows and dynamic backgrounds add further complications.  Fortunately our TISC instructors are there to help with boats and drills. The kids favorite was CAPSIZE!

IMG_3723Taking pictures for our annual report is best done toward the end of a two-week youth sailing session after the kids have learned basic sailing and are tuning up their boat handling skills.  They can navigate inside and outside of Clipper Cove, play follow-the-leader, turn when the whistle blows and consistently pluck a life jacket (“Man Overboard”) out of the water on the first pass.

IMG_3801_resizeAnd tip over on cue.

By 11:30 on my first “shoot” the same question came from several students after running through morning drills: “Can we capsize now?”. “OK”, Alison announced, “You can capsize now,  then we’ll head in for lunch”.








Treasure Island Sailing Center classes stress on-the-water safety and self confidence. Safety is stressed at all times whether on the land or on the water.  Self-confidence builds as students’ skills progress from day to day. Our instructors encourage students and guide them to the next level in their sailing and life skills.

everyone involvedand even moreSome of the pictures in this blog were taken while an instructor was simultaneously driving, commanding students, and trying to go where I asked.  Others were made possible when they shared boats so I could have one to myself. None would be available without our top-notch instructors who created these self-confident smiles. life jacket safetyReflections

teamworkBeach time provides another opportunity for kids to gain confidence around watercraft while having fun.kayak and board funAs students progress from level to level their horizons expand as they move beyond Clipper Cove both in terms of skills learned as well as waters sailed.Hiked and PsychedOutside Clipper Cove

RS Venture ScreamingLooking forward to our next shoot, regards from on the Cove, on the beach and in the water, Dave G

In the Wake:

If you are a parent with a child who took lessons during the last two sessions or the current session here at TISC and would like to view more pictures send me an email ( and I will provide a link to high quality, password-protected JPEGs you can view or download.  Be sure to include your name, your child’s name, the session attended and a memory your student shared with you about their time at TISC.

If you are a parent or simply a friend of TISC and would like to help us create a 2-3 minute slide show from TISC please contact Madison in the TISC office to work out the production logistics.  If you have videographer skills, even better !