by Paul Kamen, former CSC Commodore
                                           March 29, 1995
History: 1970 to 1989
Most universities that are located near large bodies of water
have a single sailing facility which serves multiple functions.
These usually include sailing instruction, recreational sailing,
and intercollegiate competitive sailing. Up until about 1970,
this was the case at U.C. Berkeley. A single organization served
all the sailing-related needs of the University community. But at
that time the U.C. Racing Team, the U.C. Physical Education
Department's sailing classes, and the Cal Sailing Club split into
three separate organizations, each using their own equipment and
located miles apart.
This split was due largely to the rigorous environmental
conditions that prevail on San Francisco Bay. The Bay is famous
for its strong sailing breezes - but these conditions, along with
cold water, steep waves, and dense fog, place unusually stringent
requirements on both instructional standards and on boat
maintenance procedures. Friction inevitably developed between the
Racing Team, which needed their boats in top competitive
condition, the U.C. Sailing Classes, which consistently damaged
boats during instruction but had insufficient resources to
maintain them, and the U.C. Yacht CLub, as it was then called,
which had volunteers to maintain the fleet but was primarily
interested in recreational sailing.
So the Racing Team went to Richmond Yacht Club with their best
racing boats, the U.C. sailing Classes went to Aquatic Park where
they rented smaller boats from a dealer there, and the U.C.Y.C.
was transformed into the Cal Sailing CLub.  The Cal Sailing Club
(CSC) became an independent, non-profit corporation, and took
over ownership of eight 14-foot boats and three 22-foot boats,
among others. Within a year or two, as the Berkeley Marina neared
completion, CSC moved from the old location near the Berkeley
Yacht Club to the present site at the South Sailing Basin. Three
berths for the larger boats were provided on the newly-completed
J-dock. In 1974, a small building was designed and built by club
members to supplement the maintenance shed provided by the City.
Between 1970 and 1979, CSC's membership was limited to students,
faculty, and former students of any U.C. campus. It was felt at
the time that the predominantly student character of the
membership had to be maintained in order to qualify as a Student
Activity, and to be included under U.C.'s blanket insurance
coverage. Even so, non-U.C. affiliated people were unofficially
encouraged to join anyway. Membership peaked at 300 to 350
members during these years, probably about two-thirds of them
students. Dues gradually increased from $12.50/quarter to
$25/quarter. A full program of instructional, recreational, and
low-key competitive sailing was offered, not unlike the present
operation. Little if any subsidy was received from either the
U.C. or the A.S.U.C.
In 1979, several events combined to prompt a major change in the
Cal Sailing Club:
1) Many members were expressing interest in drawing on the public
at large for membership. This was partly due to            the
feeling that non-student members often stayed in the
Club longer and generally had more time to devote to
volunteer teaching, maintenance, etc.
2) The Berkeley Marina required proof of substantial
insurance coverage.
3) It was determined that CSC was probably not covered by
U.C.'s insurance.
4) The University began to proceed with plans to re-establish
a consolidated sailing facility at the Berkeley Marina.
Item 4 was a particularly strong motivator. Early proposals by
U.C. suggested that CSC would come under the control of U.C.'s
Department of Intramural Sports and Recreation, which would have
resulted in the loss of nearly all of CSC's autonomy, along with
ownership of the boats and much of its character as a volunteer-
based organization. CSC opted to remain independent. The result
was that CSC found its own insurance and opened its doors to the
public on an official basis. Dues were increased to $35 for a
three month membership to cover the additional insurance costs
(although U.C. students were still allowed a $5 discount).
U.C.'s plans eventually took the form of a sailing school
operated by Cal Adventures, located on a site leased by the
university adjacent to the Cal Sailing Club. The U.C. Racing Team
shared the Cal Adventures site until 1994, when they moved to
Encinal Yacht Club on the Oakland Estuary. The Cal Adventures
program differs from CSC's in that it has paid staff and is
almost exclusively oriented towards instruction. It is somewhat
better organized and significantly more expensive. Participation
appears to be predominantly U.C. students, and opportunities for
recreational sailing outside of scheduled classes are limited.
Relations between the two organizations have been good. The
redundant rescue facilities have proved to be extremely valuable,
and the leases have designated dock and hoist usage so as to
minimize overcrowding of these facilities. Early fears of
competition proved to be unjustified - the market for inexpensive
sailing opportunities is far larger than both groups could ever
handle. Unquestionably, the public is better served by having the
two organizations to choose from.
The next five years (1979-1984) saw a steady stream of major
improvements to CSC, with a significant increase in membership.
The boat storage area was paved and fenced, which reduced the
theft problem and allowed the use of better trailers.  CSC's
fleet of boats was expanded to include a 26-foot cruising
sailboat and approximately 10 sailboards or windsurfers, as well
as a variety of high-performance dinghies. Membership in 1983
reached a high of about 670, probably about one-third student.
In 1982, the Cal Sailing Club was granted tax-exempt status under
IRC section 501-C(3) as and educational organization.
By 1984, the eight 14-foot boats used for most of CSC's
instructional activities were nearing the end of their useful
life. Built in 1958 and 1962, they had been used continuously
under extremely rigorous conditions, and it was determined that
they could not withstand even one more re-build. By borrowing
from Club members under terms very favorable to CSC, the Club was
able to purchase a fleet of eight new boats custom built to CSC
specifications and then heavily modified by members' volunteer
labor. Dues were increased again to $40 for a three month
membership, with the $5 discount now extended to seniors and
minors as well as U.C. students.
By 1988, the number of sailboards owned by the Club had increased
to approximately 20, and during the summer approximately half of
CSC's activity is devoted to windsurfing. A new storage locker
for sailboard equipment was acquired, and a new commercial-
quality rescue skiff was purchased. Typical membership level is
about 500 during summer months, and 150 during the winter. The
dues remain at $40, with $5 discounts available.
As of this writing in March of 1995, dues are $45 for a regular
all-inclusive 3-month membership, with a $5 discount for students
and seniors. CSC acquired a second 26-ft. keelboat, and plans are
underway to replace the Lido 14 fleet in the next few years.
Membership levels are approximately similar to the 1988
How do we do it?
One of the Cal Sailing Club's most important features is that all
services and activities are free to members. The $45 membership
fee covers three months of unlimited lessons and unlimited
recreational daysailing, racing, cruising, and windsurfing.
There is no hourly charge for boat use. There are also provisions
for earning free memberships in return for contributing more than
the usual amount of volunteer work. The Cal Sailing Club is by
far the least expensive way for the non-boat owner to gain access
to sailing on San Francisco Bay.
Obviously this would all be impossible without heavy reliance on
volunteer power. CSC could never afford paid staff (beyond the
students with subsidized work-study grants) and still keep the
cost so low.  Professional maintenance work is out of the
question. Nearly all of the maintenance work on CSC boats and
equipment - which is very considerable in view of the demanding
environment in which CSC operates - is performed by volunteer
members. For this and other reasons, the cooperative structure
seems to have inherent advantages over commercial boat rental or
sailing school operations. The rigorous sailing conditions on San
Francisco Bay all but rule out low cost public sailboat rental,
because of the time required for users to achieve the necessary
skill level, and the high costs of insurance and maintenance
associated with rental sailboats. (Sailboard rentals, however,
are quite feasible, due to their low cost and inherent safety -
and natural self-screening of the renter's skill level. Rowboat
rentals might also be a possibility, and could be especially
valuable in serving the person who has only a very occasional
interest in getting out on the water.)
Community Service
In addition to providing low cost, high quality recreational
sailing opportunities for a very large number of people, the Cal
Sailing Club also provides some more specific community services.
During "Open House" days, the general public is invited to come
out for a free introductory sail. Although this is one of the
Club's primary methods of obtaining new members, many people who
have no intention of joining - who just want a one-time sail on
the Bay - are gladly accommodated.
Open house days are usually held on the first weekend of each
month, and are publicized through local newspaper and radio
media. Special Open House hours are also held to correspond to
Marina-related City events, such as the annual Berkeley Bay
Festival. Literally thousands of people have experienced sailing
on San Francisco Bay for free at a CSC Open House.
CSC has also made its larger boats, along with a qualified
volunteer skipper, available for use by groups of youth from
local day camps, schools, and recreation centers.  The "Berkeley
Trekkers" in particular have been out on CSC's boats on a regular
basis. Other groups from Berkeley and Oakland have taken
advantage of this opportunity on many occasions.
The members of the Cal Sailing Club believe that their
organization is an outstanding  example of how a "private" use
can greatly enhance public access. Could any format other than a
publicly accessible cooperative provide so much service at so
little cost to the City or to the user?
Summary of Current Status and Future Prospects:
The combination of good planning and a series of private boat
donations in the late 1980s which the Club has been able to turn
into cash, and some funds from the estate of a long-time member
(who died after a long illness - no he didn't drown) have all
contributed to a satisfactory liquidity situation.
As of this writing in March 1995, after a particularly wet
winter, CSC is operating at a small deficit. The donations and
the inherited funds were short-term windfalls, for planning
CSC is also faced with some potentially serious long-term
problems. The shortage of federal work-study grants may curtail
(or increase the cost of) the use of students with work-study
allocations to help keep the Club open and operating during all
scheduled hours. Shoaling of the South Sailing Basin has also
begun to restrict operating hours for some of our boats during
winter months (when tides are more extreme), and this has been
reflected in reduced winter membership levels.  In the next five
to ten years, continued shoaling may have a significant impact on
operational hours during summer months as well. The high cost of
dredging is recognized, but it would be very much in the interest
of public recreation to include a small portion of the South
Sailing Basin in the next marina dredging project.
The Cal Sailing Club owes its existence to the use of City
property at a cost far below market rate. It is hoped that this
relationship will continue, and that future waterfront
development projects will include designations of significant
additional sites for new organizations similar to the Cal Sailing