Archive for the 'Sailing Clubs' Category

Jul 13 2008

Cal Sailing Club: San Francisco Laser Dinghy Sailing

Saturday morning, I headed up to the Cal Sailing Club in Berkeley to do a little sailing.

I have already discussed how I think the Cal Sailing Club is the best value in the San Francisco Bay for sailing.  But, to re-iterate–the Cal Sailing Club is the best value for San Francisco Bay for learning to sail and sailing.  At $60 and 4 hours of volunteer service to the club PER Quarter, it is the most economical–much more like a sailing co-op than a club or a school.

That being said, I showed up to the Cal Sailing Club a little after 9am on Saturday morning.  I helped rig a few dinghys, and around 10am, the instructors arrived and took us out on the bay for some lessons.

We sailed in a Laser Bahia–a lightweight, sport boat-type dinghy.  It is a bit tippy, but has a gennaker and retractable bow-sprit, is REALLY agile, and fast.  The square-topped sails keep the sail area high, and that little boat flies through the water.

A little time at the helm, some gybes and tacks, and then keeping my weight centered for the remainder of the time.

Great fun, great lessons, great people.  I love that little Cal Sailing Club.

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Jul 06 2008

Cal Sailing Club: Dinghy Sailing and Rigging Lessons

The Cal Sailing Club may be the absolute best value in San Francisco for learning and practicing how to sail, repair boats, and just about everything else sailing-related.  In addition to running a fabulous sailing-co-op style club, they also like to barbeque, share with everyone involved, are welcoming, fun-loving, love to race, and even have members who have completed the Mini-Transat–a 30-day race with two legs from France to Brazil solo in 21-foot boats.  Uhhhhm–yeah.

Okay, Saturday rolls around, and myself and a friend roll up to the Cal Sailing Club.  We get a rigging lesson on the relatively new Laser Bahia (fantastic little boat), and then she gets a sailing lesson in a 14-foot Hunter dinghy.  Super-fun!

If you are looking for me during most of the summer, I have an idea where you might start . . . .

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Jun 25 2008

Dinghy Maintenance: Repairing the Cal Sailing Club Dinghy Carnage

Last weekend, the Cal Sailing Club hosted an intensive sailing workshop.  As a result, there were more than a few casualties to the fleet of dinghys, and I swung by the club to help repair them last night.

The club has 5 Laser Bahia’s with a tiny Gennaker sail, a roller furling jib, and little square-top main sail (with reefing points).  They are cute little boats, pretty fast, and really popular.

I spent a couple of hours last night swapping out shackles, fitting cotter pins, and taping sharp things (that could catch wetsuits, cut hands, etc.).  Some of the other volunteers were working on different portions of the same boats.  Towards the end of the evening, we replaced two of the repaired rudders, and the bulk of the mini-fleet of Bahias were back into operation.

This was excellent fun–almost therapeutic.  Working on something, fixing something that was broken, and improving on designs with new ideas. And, then to have the product of your labors be seaworthy afterwards.

Great fun.

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Jun 21 2008

Cal Sailing Club: Best Value for Sailing on San Francisco Bay

For those of you who may not know, the Cal Sailing Club is one of the best values for sailing on the San Francisco Bay.

The basic premise of the Cal Sailing Club is to function like a co-op for sailing.  For $60/quarter and 2 hours of your labor, you can be a member of the club.  This also entitles you to FREE LESSONS!  As many free lessons as you would like, actually.

After you have achieved a sufficient level of skill and the ability to teach sailing to others, you can earn your Junior Skipper Rating.  With that, you immediately become a Sailing Instructor (you learn the most about a subject matter when you teach it to others).

Do not fret if you are not a natural teacher.  The Cal Sailing Club offer teaching workshops–sort of, train-the-trainer classes for Sailing Instructors.

If you would like to advance your knowledge even further, you can earn your Senior Skipper Rating which includes Keel Boat Sailing, and, of course, the ability to teach it to others.  Your Senior Skipper Rating requires the completion of an approved project.  This may be some maintenance work (leading a work crew) on one of the 6 club-owned keel boats, some dinghy retrofits (again, think work party), or some project of equivalent scope.

And, further still, you can earn your Cruising Skipper rating–which entitles you to plan and lead long-distance cruises in the Keel Boats.  Recent cruises include trips to Angel Island, trips to various locations around the San Francisco Bay for lunch/dinner, night-time cruises, etc.

All of this wonderful instruction is completed under the loving supervision of other members of the club who have earned and passed each of the levels of sailing.

Imagine: all of this fun for $60/quarter and a few hours of your volunteer help.

PS. The Cal Sailing Club still teaches harbor sailing–motorless navigation of the congested waterways of a harbor and th docking of your sailboat.

See the Cal Sailing Club website for details

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