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May 3, 2024

Cal Sailing Club Rallies Community Support to Save Its Program

Community sailing is an important factor in maintaining and growing participation in this sport and pastime that we all love so well. To that end we try to share stories that showcase the activities and progress of organizations and clubs that focus on bringing new people to sailing, and ensuring they have the best possible experience. Cal Sailing Club (CSC) is one such organization. Earlier this year we wrote about CSC’s Super Sail Sunday. The dock was bustling with members getting on the water, and prospective members looking to sign up. It was truly inspiring. Now, however, the club feels its program is threatened after receiving word from the City of Berkeley that they intend to move the club to alternate docks to make way for three or four 40-ft boats. We spoke with CSC Co-Commodore Nicholas Waton, who says, “It would kill our program.” CSC has therefore embarked on a public-awareness campaign, and a petition that will be presented to the City of Berkeley.

“Our club is asking for help from the community as the City of Berkeley is currently thinking of displacing our keelboats from their location in the Berkeley Marina, from their historical berths on J-Dock, where we’ve been for 50+ years,” Waton says.

Part of CSC’s program includes free sailing opportunities for the community one day each month throughout the summer.
© 2024 Cal Sailing Club

Cal Sailing Club is a volunteer-run cooperative. It operates six 20- to 30-ft keelboats from the end of J-Dock at the Berkeley Marina. The club has operated from this location for over 50 years, for the express purpose of being able to maneuver into and out of the marina under sail. Waton says this maneuver is not commonly taught at sailing schools. “In fact our skippers are required to know how to dock under sail, and we do as little motoring as possible.” An informational document produced by CSC says, “The open water approach [to their current J-dock location] allows for a long setup, adjustments under way, and room to bail out safely, with minimal risks of hitting other berthed boats, practiced in all wind conditions throughout the year. No other location matches it. This skill set for docking under sail is similar to the skill set for recovering a person overboard, and maneuvering if the motor should fail.”

Waton says a move would mean their docking maneuvers would be more hazardous, “which might lead them to ultimately shut down this practice and we would no longer be able to continue passing this important skill and art to future generations.”

Where else can you learn to dock under sail?
© 2024 Cal Sailing Club

In addition to this skillful sailing art, the club has provided more than 2,500 free sailboat rides to new and aspiring sailors each year, and 2,942 sailing lessons in 2023 alone. Its membership currently stands at 1,100. “Everyone is welcomed, through low-cost and no-cost access to membership, ongoing free community events like monthly open house, and youth rides.” The club hosts an Open House every month from April through October. Last weekend’s Open House on April 27 coincided with the Berkeley Bay Festival. The Open House also marked the launch of their public-awareness campaign and petition.

“We gave 300 rides to the public (92 kids and 208 adults!). All completely free,” Waton tells us. “We had over 50 volunteers come together to make it happen.”

it was a perfect-weather day for CSC’s Open House last week.
© 2024 Cal Sailing Club

It appears that the City’s plan to relocate CSC is on hold, for now. But Waton says the club is not confident that’s the end of the matter. “We could be asked to move in the future.”

Berkeley City Councilmember Terry Taplin is a CSC member who, after meeting with the CSC board, proposed a resolution that would see the six J-dock slips in question dedicated to teaching safe boating, community and education, “so that we could keep our boats there in perpetuity,” Waton adds. The resolution was due to be presented this week, and will be voted on in the near future. We reached out to Councilmember Taplin for comment but were informed that the Berkeley City Council is on spring recess until May 7.

We urge you to look at what Cal Sailing Club does and show your support by first of all, signing the petition. And then, go sailing with CSC! From what we’ve seen, they have a fun program and a great group of volunteers making it all happen.

Take action here: CSC Petition

The campaign: Protect Community Sailing

Cal Sailing Club website:

CSC Open House:

Japan Ahead! Pat Broderick and ‘Stad Amsterdam’ Approach Their Destination

As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun. Or, in Pat Broderick’s case, it sails by. Pat left San Francisco a month ago to join the Stad Amsterdam in Hawaii for her voyage to Japan. We’ve brought you a couple of updates along the way, always thinking there’d be time for more. But lo and behold, Pat’s most recent email says, “Tonight after dark the glow of lights appeared off the starboard bow. Japan! Tomorrow morning we arrive in Tokyo Bay and anchor off Yokohama.” That was quick!

So we don’t waste much time or make any more errors in our interpretation of Pat’s diary notes; we’re giving you this one (mostly) straight from the pen (or keyboard) of the sailor himself.


Stad Amsterdam Log #24. May 1, 2024.

170 nm sailed
Average speed 7.0

490 nm to go
Sailed 3546 nm

I thought I’d just log today’s activity.

Breakfast was at 7:30 and after a restless night’s sleep because we were on starboard tack, which slides me against the leeboard side of the bunk, I dressed and went up to the Long Room. Breakfast was dry oat cereal and a small bagel.

Adrian was on watch so I showered and changed into clean clothes. That took the better part of an hour!

Today was cabin cleaning day so I stripped the bedding and put the sheet, duvet cover, and pillow case in a laundry bag out in the passageway.

It was 10:00, and because it was wet on deck the morning SMOKO was in the Long Room: a cup of tea and several shortbread cookies.Then called Nancy and got caught up. The final morning hour was spent on a crossword puzzle.

Lunch was thin sliced chicken, fry bread, and coleslaw.

12:30 was cabin cleaning with new bedding, emptying trash cans, and a general wipe down. After all that work I was beat so nap time.

While I napped, the crew on deck wore ship (square-riggers don’t tack, they “wear ship” by turning away from the wind with their stern passing through the eye or the wind) and suddenly I was rolled over against the bulkhead and 100 percent more comfortable.

I awoke in time for the afternoon SMOKO. It cleared enough for a quarterdeck gathering.

Shortly after that my watch began so I climbed into the foulies and boots and reported to the wheelhouse.

For the next two hours I helped strike the outer and inner jibs on the forepeak, helped rig additional safety lines, and even helped crush aluminum cans (sort of a form of KP).

Dinner time: Breaded cutlets, French fries, zucchini. We have to remove foulies in the Long Room, so dinner means struggling out of and into them. After dinner, back on deck for some sail trimming. We saw a container ship heading south on the eastern horizon

At 7:00 back down to the Long Room for the Captain’s report and more information about our arrival at Yokohama and the results of a photo quiz about small details around the ship. My watch ended at 8:00, so I didn’t have to get foulies on again.

It’s 9:00 now and I’ll head for the cabin before 10:00 and crawl under the fresh duvet cover. This has been the general routine, so I expect tomorrow will be similar. Maybe it will clear and not be as damp. I’ll know that when I wake up after a better night’s sleep with my back against the bulkhead.


Before you go. Here’s a note from Pat’s diary, received April 21:

Several of you have asked about passengers going aloft. Five or six guests regularly join the professional crew setting and striking sails. Others go aloft for the experience of being “up there.” Last evening’s White Watch (my watch) is an example. There was nothing to do since the First Mate decided to leave the studding sails set instead of striking them at sunset.

So, five members of the watch donned safety harnesses and climbed the ratlines, several all the way to the royal yards. The ship’s motion was smooth with little roll, so they stayed up for quite a while surveying our part of the world, and a lonely part it is. We haven’t sighted anything other than birds since bidding goodbye to Oahu.

Three crew members went up with them, but no one needed assistance. And then they climbed back down.

It’s clearly better to lie down when looking up into the rigging.
© 2024 Pat Broderick

We look forward to hearing Pat’s final thoughts as he settles back onto land. As before, stay tuned!

Ed’s note: Smoko in Australia is a break taken around midmorning to allow workers to have some food and a drink, and, back in the day, a cigarette. New Zealand describes their smoko as being the same, but with the addition that it is also used in the military.

As Fate, and Sharks, Would Have It …

In the freshly delivered May issue of Latitude 38, we share Larry Hall’s story of being rescued off the coast while in transit from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay. In the article, we incorrectly attributed the main photo to Larry Hall. The photo, pictured below, was in fact taken by Mel Ellison who kindly allowed us to use it in this story. We extend our sincere apologies to Mel for the incorrect attribution.

In the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, where the horizon stretches endlessly and the sea teems with life, Larry Hall — the author of this story — alongside his stalwart crew, Jamie Odell and Keith Sjöholm, set sail aboard the Beneteau Oceanis 461 SV Francesca with the Barbary Coast Boat Club. Their destination: Half Moon Bay from the bustling shores of San Francisco Bay. Little did they anticipate the peril awaiting them beneath the surface. As the sun bid its farewell to San Francisco Bay, Francesca sliced through the waves with elegant precision, its crew filled with anticipation for the journey ahead. But fate had other plans. About five miles off Pillar Point, they encountered an adversary unlike any they had faced before: a great white shark.

The collision reverberated through the vessel, shocking the crew into a frenzy of panic. As the initial shock subsided, they were met with a chilling realization — the ocean was breaching their sanctuary. Water, the lifeblood of the sea, was now an ominous threat, seeping into Francesca at an alarming rate.

In a desperate bid to save their beloved vessel from succumbing to the abyss, Larry, Jamie, and Keith sprang into action. With the floorboards afloat and the pumps straining against the deluge, manual intervention became their only hope. Keith’s steady hands gripped the helm, guiding Francesca through the tumultuous waters, while Larry and Jamie waged a battle against the rising tide, their efforts fueled by sheer determination and the primal instinct to survive.

Larry instructed Keith to send out a Pan Pan call for distress, not actually believing this would be a Mayday, though it was. Keith gave the information: the name of the vessel with three adults wearing life jackets, our exact location, and our emergency — we were taking on water. SV Wanderlust and SV Akimbo radioed back that they would be nearby if we needed immediate assistance. Every passing moment felt like an eternity as the crew fought against the relentless onslaught of water. With each bucket cast overboard, they pushed back against the encroaching flood, their hearts pounding in unison with the rhythmic lapping of the waves against their vessel.

Amid the chaos, a glimmer of hope emerged — a crackling voice over the radio, promising aid from the Pillar Point Harbor Patrol within 20 minutes. The Coast Guard, ever vigilant, dispatched a chopper to stand by. But time was not on their side as Francesca battled against the rising water. As the minutes stretched into an agonizing eternity, the distant hum of approaching rescue vessels pierced the cacophony of chaos. The Pillar Point Harbor Patrol, their saviors on the horizon, raced to reach Francesca’s side.

As Fate and Sharks story_USCG Helicopter
Mel Ellison captured this shot of the Pillar Point Harbor Patrol boat and USCG helicopter coming to Francesca’s aid.
© 2024 Mel Ellison

Read the full story in the May issue’s Sightings.

What’s in a Name? A Daughter Named Sailor

Tony Gilbert worked for many years bringing new sailors into the world through Club Nautique in Sausalito and Alameda. He recently sent us a very personal story about a new sailor launched into the world: his daughter, Sailor, born on April 11. Following is a letter from Tony and his wife Sarah to their daughter “Sailor” connecting the values imparted by sailing regardless of whether she actually becomes a sailor. These are sentiments most sailors and parents will appreciate.

Dear Daughter,

Your mom and dad wrote these words before you were born, anticipating welcoming you into this world very soon, in April 2024. We want you to know why the name “Sailor” has a special meaning to us, and why we believe this name will carry a special purpose for you. Here are five reasons why we gave you the name “Sailor.”

Mom and dad — Sarah and Tony — first connected over their shared love of the water. That includes water sports like kayaking, swimming, rowing, and sailing. They met in San Francisco, California, where they each loved to be near the water and visit the beach. Their third date together was on a sailboat in a place called Sausalito, where your dad worked, in September 2018, when your dad gave your mom a shirt with a cartoon sailor that reads, “Keep Sausalito Salty.” Your mom wore that same shirt when she was pregnant with you on your “first sail,” also in Sausalito, in December 2023.

Like most sailors
Like many young sailors, Sailor started her life doing foredeck.
© 2024 The Gilberts

So foremost, the name “Sailor” is simply reminiscent of how your parents met. Your parents sailed many times together and shared sailing with friends and family.

Second, the name “Sailor” evokes the freedom and skill inherent in the sport of sailing. Moving a boat against the wind, especially in heavy weather, doesn’t happen through luck or hope alone, but through practice and skill. With this name, we want to convey to you that, truly, you have the freedom to pursue the opportunities that cross your path in this life. But more importantly, you will develop the talent and skills needed for your life through fortitude, hard work, knowledge, learning, patience, persistence, and training.

Tony, Sarah and Sailor Gilbert
Tony and Sarah welcome another “Sailor” into the world.
© 2024 Tony Gilbert

Third, the name “Sailor” conjures the beauty and power of what can be seen and experienced in this life — from a quiet sunrise to a tumultuous storm. You needn’t be on the sea or in the ocean to be awe-struck by the beauty of this world — you can find beauty all around you, far inland, at home, in a book, or alone in your mind. See beyond what is right in front of you at this moment and know that there is always much more to this life, waiting to be experienced and seen by you.

Fourth, because the ancient profession of sailing was traditionally only for men, when in days gone by only men and boys were sailors, we want you to know that you will forge your own path regardless of gender. Your mom and dad have each known talented sailors who are women and girls, who have even crossed a big ocean on a little sailboat, powered only by the wind. So too will you be unencumbered by the misguided opinions of the ignorant. We want you to know that girls like you are talented and strong.

Sailor Joy Gilbert
Sailor Joy Gilbert starts working with the “sheets.”
© 2024 Tony Gilbert

Lastly, the name “Sailor” is meant to inspire the fact that dreams can be made real. Because many people only “dream” of sailing, it is unfortunately a sport that remains inaccessible to many. But your mom and dad, who do not come from privilege and did not grow up with sailboats, found their own paths and niches to pursue what they loved, and “made dreams come true” in their own way. We want you to know that nothing is unobtainable to you, and with persistent work and creativity, you too can make your own wishes a reality.

The name “Sailor” is not meant to prod or push you into the sport of sailing, and there is no expectation for you to love the water nor to become a literal sailor. You will pursue your own path, and it is our simple hope that the name “Sailor” will help remind you every day of these five truths.

We love you, Sailor,
Mom and Dad
(Sarah and Tony)

As Tony closed out his letter he said, “I’ve read Latitude since I was in my teens, and it has long been one of my favorite portals to daydream.”

Tony wrote the Crew List success story of Kelly Gregory, ‘An Unmanned Circumnavigation’, featured in the September 2021 Latitude 38. To add your own name to the Crew List, visit here.

A Spring Tide of Regattas
The Yacht Racing Association and Vallejo Yacht Club invite racers and cruisers to sail in the Great Vallejo Race this weekend.