Spaulding Marine Center’s Boatworks 101 apprenticeship program launched on Monday, August 16, with six apprentices aged between 17 and 30 donning their jackets for the 15-month-long program. Using the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) syllabus for marine technicians as its core platform, the program consists of nine months’ instruction with Spaulding and six months’ rotation through Bay Area boat-servicing businesses.
“We have a great group of apprentices,” education director and program facilitator Jay Grant said. “They’re all new to the industry and very enthusiastic.”
In their first week, the apprentices were schooled in a series of basic but essential skills and techniques. Starting with shop and yard safety, they learned the industry’s own specific nomenclature, practiced everything from marine knots to maneuvering boats at the dock, and were hands-on in learning about hauling and securing boats in the yard before moving on to water blasting, sanding, and painting boat bottoms.
At other times throughout the week the group of future technicians was given instruction in woodworking and the proper and safe use of the numerous tools used in wood joinery.
As with all studies, field trips are an important part of learning. On day four the apprentices toured local marine businesses, KKMI in Richmond and Helmut’s Marine Service in San Rafael.
KKMI’s Paul Kaplan is thrilled with the Boatworks 101 program, which he says is long overdue. “It’s much, much needed for the West Coast boating community,” Kaplan said, adding, “though better late than never.”
A large part of Kaplan’s enthusiasm for the program is based on the apprentices themselves.
“It was delightful to see their faces as they realized they could develop a profession that they could continue their whole lives. Even as the market cycles.”
“I love the diversity of the program and the participants. Targeting young people who might be disadvantaged, who are not in mainstream boating.”
KKMI is one of the Bay Area businesses that will take on the apprentices for their six months of work experience next year.
Although the apprentices are only in their first two weeks of the program, they have already learned a great deal, and both the students and the facilitators are looking forward to the coming months during which they will learn about marine electrical systems and electronics, plumbing, diesel engines and outboard motors, and more.
“I’m really happy to see how this is evolving,” Kaplan added.
One of the great things about racing is that when you sign up for a race, you feel pretty committed to going out sailing. But what if you don’t race or don’t sign up? What gets you out sailing?
The truth is the vast majority of sailors don’t race, but a much higher percentage of sailing is done by racers. Why is that?
When you have a sailboat, live near a bay, and have generally reliable wind and weather making it possible to sail any time you want, there’s no real reason to pick one day for sailing over the next. The ‘always available’ pleasure of sailing can be one of the reasons people don’t get around to it as often as they imagine they would. Regardless, every time we go sailing we see folks out sailing just because they can.
Seeing a Maine-built Hinckley reminds us of a big difference between sailing in New England or the Great Lakes, and in the Bay Area. Their season is short, so when the ice clears and the boat is launched they sail like crazy and then put the boat away. In California you can sail any time you want, so what’s the rush? For that reason, we suspect many sailors from the icy high latitudes sail more days in three or four months than Californians sail in a year.
This 1966 Pearson Ensign, pictured above, has been a mainstay of our Maine social sails for about 27 years. We actually bought her out of the Cal Berkeley dry storage yard all those years ago with a trailer, for about $2500, and towed her back to Maine. She’s still sailing with the same suit of sails but she’s only in the water from around the June Summer Sailstice to mid-September. But she gets in a lot of sailing..
As a parting shot, or a parting thought, the appropriately named Beneteau Oceanis 41 Seas the Day reminds us that just because you have a boat ready to sail, in a slip on the Bay, doesn’t mean you’ll be sailing. In fact, most harbormasters guess that only 10% of the boats in their harbors go out once a month. Those that go out the most are the racers. One silver lining of the pandemic has been staying close to home, close to our boats and able to use them more. The coast and Bay also tend to have some of the cleanest, freshest air in Northern California.
The Bay and coast are nearby and the weekend is never more than five days away. And September and October are two of the very best months for sailing. What are you doing this weekend? What – no boat? Come to the Latitude 38 Fall Crew List Party at the Bay Model in Sausalito on September 9. We’ll do our best to make sure you never have to spend a weekend ashore again.
Club Nautique is hiring. Apply here.
One of the questions we love to ask sailors is, “How did you start sailing?” The answer is often family or a yacht club junior program, but one of the most frequent answers we hear is the Sea Scouts. It’s been around forever and continues to be a fantastic way to introduce youth to the Bay and sailing. And the value to kids extends far beyond sailing. This weekend the San Francisco Sea Scouts are giving youth a perfect opportunity to discover sailing as they host their annual Open House on Saturday, August 28.
Organized into two co-ed groups — 11- to 13-year-olds and 14- to 20-year-olds, the scouts meet year-round while actively engaging in sailing, rowing, competing against other clubs from all over the West Coast, taking overnight trips and cruises, and learning how to maintain the club’s antique wooden boats.
Tamara Sokolov, skipper of Viking (the girls’ program), said the scouts have enjoyed a very busy summer.
“For the first time in decades our membership is over 100 members through the development of our Junior Sea Scout program, Makani (middle school-aged program). We’re so excited to expand and give kids more opportunities to get out on the water.”
And looking ahead, the group is full of enthusiasm for what’s still to come.
“We’re hosting another open house for interested families this Saturday. Our programs meet weekly and are excited to welcome new scouts to the group,” Tamara explained.
“Our fall season is jam-packed with fun activities,” Tamara added. ” A weekend of camping and dinghy sailing on a lake, Fleet Week BBQ, a safety training weekend at Coast Guard Sector San Francisco, and prepping for our winter competition with other Sea Scouts from around California.”
If you have young people in your family or your neighborhood, or if you know anyone who does, we encourage you to go along to the Sea Scouts’ open house this weekend in San Francisco.
The Open House is on Saturday, August 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 3500 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco.
Parking is limited around the Sea Scout base and Muni Pier. You can try parking in the Fort Mason area along the path displayed. There is a nice trail that goes through Black Point and ends right at the base. Also, Muni has many bus lines that drop off within a very short walk to the Sea Scout base.
However you get there, have fun!
The people organizing the “Classic Boat Review” must have thought I would be flattered when they invited me to judge. But it was also a reminder that I was old enough to remember those boats when they were still in production. The rules were strict: The boat had to have been designed prior to 1975, so this was a parade of genuine plastic classics from the era of the Southern California “bleach bottle” production boats, along with the early fiberglass remakes of heavy wooden full-keel cruisers that were being sold mainly back East.
There were two other judges: a retired marine surveyor and a naval architecture grad student, who turned out to be none other than Lee Helm. I deduced that I was holding down the seat reserved for the salty old curmudgeon.
“Here’s a small but very seaworthy-looking Carl Alberg design,” said the surveyor as the first boat sailed past the reviewing stand and executed the required jibe and tack while sailing a complete circle to show off its lines and its handiness. “Classic proportions.”
“An old Pearson?” asked Lee. “What size? About 28 feet?”
“That’s not a Pearson,” I said. “That’s a Bristol.”
“How can you tell? The lines look like a Pearson.”
“The Bristols might as well have been copies of the Pearsons,” I recalled. “Even the ones designed by Halsey Herreshoff, grandson of Nat. You can’t tell by the lines; those boats were all very similar. But not exact copies. Look at the windows: straight lines instead of curves on the forward and aft edges of the two big main cabin windows.”
“Almost exactly like the Pearsons,” added the surveyor, “even down to the shape of the windows. But not an exact copy. The window shape is the quickest way to tell them apart.”
Next we had three old but well-preserved 22-footers sailing in formation. The small-boat skippers decided to put on a choreographed performance, with the three boats circling simultaneously. According to our printed program, two of them had been rescued from marina lien sales, purchased for less than the cost of one month of marina berthing before being restored.
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The San Francisco Bay Area Multihull Association is hosting the Doublehanded Farallones race on September 25, 2021.