TISC Launches Low-Cost Sailing Initiative for Bay Area

According to Statista, US Sailing participation grew to over 4 million participants in 2016 including 811,000 youth. The Treasure Island Sailing Center Volunteers Reward Program provides low-cost or no-cost access to training, boats and facilities for Bay Area families.2017 Opening Day Volunteers

We recognize the importance of giving back to our communities. Some people get involved with TISC to meet new friends, others to sharpen their skills.  Some sailors are passionate for “the cause” while non-sailors often volunteer to learn how to sail.

TISC’s new Volunteer Rewards Program serves all of these people. Whatever their motivation, all are welcome!

Key elements of the TISC Volunteer Rewards Program:

  • The program is available to TISC Volunteers with a minimum of 16 hours of service.
  • Volunteers may utilize credit for hours previously accumulated for equal hours of instruction for any TISC course, or toward use of TISCs fleet of sailboats.
  • Adherence to TISC’s progression of courses and boat usage policies must be followed at all times.
  • Volunteer Rewards are non-transferrable unless in the case of a minor to whom the volunteer is a legal guardian
  • TISC will reserve 25% of its courses for volunteers per availability.

If you have any questions about the Volunteer Rewards Program or volunteer opportunities, please email programs@tisailing.org or call us at 415 421-2225. You can also click HERE to see the complete list of volunteer opportunities available at TISC.

By the way, heads up to parents: Spring sailing classes begin  Sunday, April 8th at TISC and Summer classes begin Monday, June 11th (you can REGISTER HERE).  No child is ever turned away from TISC for financial reasons.

Also, if you are considering sailing classes for your kids, you should read the informative blog post from US Sailing: Thoughts on Choosing a Sailing School.

Regards from On The Cove, Dave G

In the Wake:

Here are a few upcoming On-The-Water and On-Land volunteer openings that are available to be filled.

Opening Day:  Saturday, April 21, 2018P4220037-skipper on j24

This one day event kicks off our sailing season while promoting the sport of sailing and National Safe Boating Week.  We are looking for volunteers to help with the water activities on the Bay and with on land activities on shore.

Visually Impaired Sailing Programvisually impaired sailors

Volunteer Opportunities to assist sailors who are blind or visually impaired is a one-Saturday or Sunday-a-month event hosted at TISC in partnership with BlindSail SF Bay. TISC is seeking experienced sailors to participate in these events either as instructors or as crew members on a J24. Some training will be required and will be provided by instructors experienced in teaching people who are blind and visually impaired.

Boat Work Daysalex fixing boats

We need your help keeping TISC’s boats clean and ready to sail. Our boats have made it through the Winter, and now it’s time to get them bright and shiny for another season of sailing!  Whether you are working part or full-time or are retired, you can choose a that suits you.

Group Sailkids smiling on j24 bow

Come sail a J24 around Clipper Cove for a couple of hours! Volunteers take a small group of people sailing around the cove and teach them to the basics of sailing. Volunteers need to pass TISC’s J24 checkout and are required to do a background check if they are going to be working with youths.

Summer Camp Support – starting June 11thsand castle

We are looking for volunteers (18+) to help supervise children during their lunch hour and assist the sailing Instructors on the beach after lunch.  One week commitment preferable

Regatta SupportBAYS-Oct-2017_in-action_3-min

No sailing program is complete without the racing aspect.  TISC host several Youth Regattas each year and each of these regattas could use your support on land.  This is a fun way to watch the competition and help the youth enjoy the sport of sailing.

Hooked on Clipper Cove

Clipper Cove offers quiet, protected water ideal for solitary anchoring or multi-boat raft-ups.  Many boaters and sailors spent Memorial Day Weekend on The Cove enjoying sunny weather, warm water and a sandy beach.

The south-west quadrant of Clipper Cove is protected from wind and waves.  Ample deep water for large boats to anchor very close to shore makes for easy swimming or rowing to the beach.  A truly unique anchorage in all of San Francisco Bay.

Twenty or so boats shared space on Clipper Cove last weekend. This was our view of the action from Treasure Island Sailing Center Saturday morning.IMG_3328

There were power boat raft-ups just off the beach. You can read the story behind Quarters 10 (in the photo below framed by the two sailboat masts) to learn more about the origin of this building and possible uses for it as Yerba Buena Island continues on its upgrade path.IMG_3247-cr1

Sailboats from around the Bay met, greetings and tie-ups were exchanged and additional raft-ups sprang up.IMG_3318-cr


Along with many solo visitors who stayed the weekend.IMG_3321-cr

The anchorage in Clipper Cove is normally “home” to a small number of boats.  Here’s one that provided a backdrop to opening day last month.IMG_1958-cr

And more boats from the Memorial Day crowd.IMG_3242-cr


As we rounded the corner from South Bay and returned to the cove Saturday afternoon we were presented with this west-facing view of the many boats anchored in Clipper Cove. Framed by the bridge abutment on our port side and shadows from the main span above.IMG_3311-cr-cr

IMG_1488 - j24 framed by SF Cove and BugThere are many ways to enjoy Clipper Cove. Treasure Island Sailing Center offers Adult Sailing Lessons. Or sign up for the new TISC Adult Keelboat Certification class.

Recreational boaters are welcome to anchor in Clipper Cove for up to 24 hours.  For stays of longer than 24 hours you can register with the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA).  Here is the link to read more about Anchoring in Clipper Cove.

Regards from On The Cove, Dave G

In the Wake:

  • I found a 1939 photo of small boats, large schooners and steam ships at the West End of Clipper Cove.  You can see it here.
  • And if you missed last month’s blog that showed 723 visitors having fun smiling, paddling, kayaking and sailing you can see those smiles and photos of Opening Day and Safe Boating Day hosted by TISC and sponsored in part by the California Division of Boating and Waterways.

Clipper Cove – Our Platform for Smiles and Self-Confidence

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.

Clipper Cove from the EastTreasure 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.

views IMG_1078Below 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.outreach IMG_0314_resize (2)

outreach IMG_1831 outreach IMG_9962community IMG_0435More 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.community_GGY1751

IMG_1780 standup onclippercove

Clipper Cove is generally gentle most mornings.  Ideal time of day for new sailors to learn the basics of sailing.gentle IMG_2938 enjoy and respect IMG_1507 gentle  IMG_0056_resize (2) gentle IMG_0048_resize (2)

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.windy TISC-homeward bound

windy TISC - downwind windy IMG_0338_resize (2)

windy optis onclippercoveAs 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.

safety and more safety IMG_0113_resize (2) safety righting a bug - 4533

IMG_1886smiling capsize onclippercoveAnd 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.team building IMG_9895 IMG_1882 teamworkteamwork TISC-on the board

team racing IMG_2406-crFriday 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.relaxing IMG_1460 team building IMG_1536 relaxing  IMG_0290_resize (2)

IMG_1833-young smiles onclippercoveAs 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.   IMG_1907-JI smiling

IMG_1764 JI coachingIMG_1782 ji and kids smilesClipper 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.IMG_9536-calsailing-onclippercove

community clipper cove plus kids and parents-en

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. crab watching_resize JYC Seaweed Discovery JYC Crab Lab at TISCSSL IMG_0031_resize (2) SSL  Rommel framed by TransamericaRegards 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:pointing and smiles IMG_9633 IMG_0449 IMG_4130 IMG_1787 co-able smiles with MMIMG_1748 IMG_1683 IMG_1641 IMG_1637 IMG_1073 IMG_0904 IMG_0701 smiles framed by bay bridge IMG_0649 IMG_0559

IMG_1875 IMG_1831 Bow Happy-cr

ETNZ and TISC Teams Race to Encourage Junior Sailors

New Zealand Starts Foiling

Picture from our vantage point on Marina Green taken 7/23

Aotearoa would never clear the shallow sandbar protecting Clipper Cove’s entrance. Fortunately several members of ETNZ used a land route to visit TISC on Wednesday, sharing high 5’s with our kids and challenging our instructors to a few informal races.

The excitement of this year’s Americas Cup is not lost on our students, especially those involved in weekend regattas California.  No surprise our students were all smiles to see four members of Emirates Team New Zealand show up at Pier 12 to watch them sail, answer their questions and get out in TISC BUGS for a few races with our instructors.

ETNZ with TISC Kids

ETNZ smiles with TISC kid’s smiles

Rigging an 8′ Opti or Bug is simple compared to readying a 13,500 pound carbon fiber winged catamaran to race (see “Preparing ETNZ for Racing“), however they share one common characteristic: there is a right and wrong way to rig any sailboat and to be successful during a race you better do it the right way.  Learning early on to rig their own boats helps build student self conficence.

The impact positive role models have on our students is even more valuable than the four-point “life skills” learning we teach here at TISC. When the role models are wearing black shirts, represent Emirates Team New Zealand and speak “with a way cool accent” ( according to the students I talked with at TISC today at lunch) then even better. Kids “get it” when adults are willing to share time with them – even if the the “thank you”s are not alway verbalized.

Clipper Cove provides a picturesqe venue for sailing and hosting a few races for our visitors from Down Under and TISC instructors provided everyone with an opportunity to do what we all like best -SAIL !  The pictures below are courtesy of our Program Director Chris Childers and Head Instructor Ann Butts.

Clean Start on Clipper Cove

Clean Start on Clipper Cove

Close quarters on Clipper Cove

Close quarters on Clipper Cove

Splitting Tacks on Clipper Cove

Splitting tacks on Clipper Cove

Crossing on Clipper Cove

Port – starboard on Clipper Cove

Friendly conversation on Clipper Cove framed by Oakland cranes

Friendly conversation on Clipper Cove framed by Oakland cranes

Racing Framed by new Bay Bridge

Racing onn Clipper Cove framed by new Bay Bridge

There are many opportunities for volunteers to support our programs here at Treasure Island Sailing Center.  The most fun are the on-the-water sailing and by far the most rewarding are seeing the smiles on the faces of kids of all ages when the light first goes and they’re able to sail solo around Clipper Cove.

Thanks again Emirates Team New Zealand for sharing your time and love of sailing with our team, much appreciated !

From On the Cove, Dave G

In the Wake:

If you are a friend, a regular volunteer or a tenant here at TISC looking for volunteer hours you may have received an email recently listing up-coming opportunities to spend time on the water sharing YOUR love of sailing with others.  In case you missed it, see below.  Please contact Chris Childers (programs@tisailing.org, 415-421-2225) if you can help on one or more of these dates.

  • Saturday 7/27 Group Sail – 11am-2pm (2 volunteers)
  • Sunday 7/28 Community Sailing Day – 10am-1pm (1 volunteer)
  • Monday 7/29 Group Sail – 10am-1pm – (1 volunteer)
  • Tuesday 7/30 Group Sail – 10am-1pm – (1 volunteer)
  • Wednesday 7/31 Group Sail – 10am-1pm – (1 volunteer)
  • Thursday 8/1 Group Sail – 9am-12pm – (2 volunteers)
  • Saturday 8/3 Group Sail – 1pm-4pm (1 volunteer)
  • Saturday 8/3 Blind Sailing Day – 10am-3pm (5 volunteers) – This requires a training session on 7/31 in the afternoon
  • Wednesday 8/7 Group Sail – 10am-1pm – (1 volunteers)
  • Wednesday 8/7 Group Sail – 12pm-3pm – (5 volunteers)
  • Thursday 8/8 Group Sail – 10am-2pm – (7 volunteers)

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.

On Boston Pond

Boston is a great place to visit anytime – what’s not to like about their sports teams (sorry Yankees fans), art museums, restaurants, theaters, the new Boston Harborwalk, the red brick Freedom Trail and history galore!  Summer is even better with many sailing venues available to out-of-town visitors on the Charles River, Boston Harbor and the Harbor Islands.

CBI was chartered in 1946

During my family visit to Boston two weeks ago I spent a day visiting Boston Sailing Center at Lewis Wharf, Courageous Sailing Center in the Navy Yard next to the USS Constitution and Community Boating on the Charles River.  My objective was to connect with these great teams in person and  find out what’s working for them especially related to their volunteer programs.  Piers Park Sailing was a pioneer in adaptive sailing programs and I hop to visit their team during my next visit.

Many of their most successful programs – especially the racing programs – are driven exclusively by the volunteers who sail on the Charles River and Boston Harbor. These centers benefit from sailors of all levels of skill and all ages, most minutes away from their docks via sidewalks, subways or water shuttles.

Thanks and a tip-of-the-hat to Wade Edwards at BSC, Dave DiLorenzo at CSC and Charles Zechel and Andrew Alletag at CBI for their openness, inputs and suggestions.  They share our common passion for sailing; their goals are like ours – provide learning tools and access for kids and adults to get them on the water safely and at reasonable cost.  And they were of course envious of our 12 month sailing season that serves as a Launching Point for New Horizons

Several TISC tenants responded to our first blog and suggested a central calendar for upcoming events that may affect access.  That’s in the works on the TISC website.  For now check out this List of Upcoming TISC Events and Opportunities.

From On The Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

When visiting Boston, load your Charlie Card and use public transportation.  My feet and public transportation got me from my son’s condo in Somerville to all three sailing venues and back on a gorgeous sunny day in the 70’s. Here’s a few handy links for Buses, Subways and Harbor Shuttles in Boston.


Thursday Night On Clipper Cove

Watching 11 Vanguard 15s and 6 Lasers enjoying gusty winds on Clipper Cove brought back memories from our 470 days on Pontoosuc Lake in Western Mass.  Both have tall, unique postcard settings.  Bay Bridge towers and Alameda loading cranes backstop the cove; Mt. Greylock provides a postcard setting for Pontoosuc.

The loading cranes inspired George Lucas to design the Star Wars Battle Bots. The Pontoosuc story can be as simple as the Indian name “falls on the brook” or can lead you to an old Indian Legend.

We ran a regatta for forty seven 470s on that tiny lake half the size of Angel Island – complete with a gear-buster lightning storm one day and fluky mountain winds the next.  Nothing like our predictable San Francisco Bay breezes!

I signed on as Thursday’s “grillmeister” to connect with the Vanguard 15 and Laser sailors to get their views and suggestions about sailing at TISC.  Nick Adamson also stopped by – a bonus to those who know him and those newer sailors who met him for the first time.  He was one of the TISC and Vanguard 15 Fleet 53 founders.

Hearing about the origins of the center firsthand was a good reminder that we’re fortunate to have such great racing just 5 minutes off the Treasure Island Sailing Center dock in a safe harbor ideal for introducing kids to sailing and life lessons.  What a great place for launching new horizons!

From the cove, Dave G.

In the wake:

Clipper Cove offers close-up race viewing right from the shore. Before cranking up the grill I took photos of all the racers.  They’re here:  Dave G photos from Svendsen’s Thursday Night Vanguard 15 and Laser series


Welcome to On Clipper Cove

In May ’12 I joined the Board of Directors at Treasure Island Sailing Center. After a couple of decades in Electronic Design Automation I’m transitioning to the world of non-profits. Trading in my .doc, .ppt and .xls tools for G/flex, sandpaper and sunscreen – and WordPress :).

I’m already enjoying my time with a great team whose vision is to get all the kids in San Francisco on the water and into sail boats. In my case that means hands-on boat repair and maintenance, sharing Skipper’s Gift with kids and their families, and working with TISC tenants to provide them with an additional resource as we work together to grow our community of service-minded sailors.

The passion of the TISC founders over ten years ago provided us with a platform to sail, race and share the best location in the world with those not fortunate enough to sail solo. Most who sail from TISC undertand the crucial role volunteers play here; not all are aware the grants we receive and the land we use are available because of our volunteers and our non-profit status.

I look forward to meeting more of our tenants here at TISC as well as the college students and parent volunteers who keep us full and by on the starboard tack. If you have questions about sailing in and around Clipper Cove, comments specific to our space at TISC and ESPECIALLY suggestions for upcoming blogs please let me know.

From On the Cove, Dave G  ( DaveG @ OnClipperCove.com)

In the wake:

Sailors often ask our staff about the weather in the Bay. Here’s one of my favorite weather links because it also tracks the gusts we use for “tens” on the way home from Angel Island: San Francisco Sailing Weather.   Which ones do you count on? Send them along!