THE CAL SAILING CLUB is a non-profit cooperative that owns and
operates a fleet of about 25 sailboats from 14 to 26 feet in
length, and about 20 sailboards including novice and advanced
designs. Located on the south side of the Berkeley Marina, CSC's
major activity is teaching sailing and boating safety to its
members. The boats are also available to members for recreational
sailing, cruising, and racing.
All activities are free to members - there are no charges for
lessons, cruises, or boat use beyond the initial membership fee.
Qualified members can bring non-member friends out sailing as
their guests.
MEMBERSHIP IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. The Club is open all year, from
noon to sunset on weekdays and from 9:00 AM to sunset on
weekends. Instruction, maintenance, and administration are all
done by volunteer members.
The Cal Sailing Club is not part of the University of
California. CSC's only affiliation with U.C. is historical,
having evolved from the U.C. Yacht Club that was formed in the
1940s. The U.C. Aquatic Center, which occupies the site
immediately to the east of CSC, is a separate facility run by Cal
Adventures and the University of California.
SAILING LESSONS for beginners are given on Monday and Thursday
afternoons, and on Saturday mornings. To take a sailing lesson,
members arrive at the Club anytime between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM on
Monday or Thursday (between 1:00 and 6:00 when Daylight Time is
in effect), or between 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM on Saturday. A lesson
takes about an hour, with one instructor and three students in
the boat. There is no charge for lessons, and no limit to the
number of lessons that can be taken. People with no previous
sailing experience will usually require about 10 to 15 lessons
before they are able to pass the sailing test which will enable
them to take out the boats by themselves, and bring non-members
out as guests.
Life jackets are provided, but note that protective clothing is
not. Rain gear or foul weather gear is recommended, especially
for afternoon lessons during summer months.
Instruction on the larger keelboats is available to intermediate
and advanced students on Wednesday evenings beginning at about
6:00 PM.
WINDSURFING LESSONS are sometimes given on Saturday mornings from
9:00 AM to 12:00 during summer months. Novice windsurfers can
also practice on their own anytime the Club is open, after
completion of a written test and self-rescue exercise. Wetsuits
are not provided.
OPEN HOUSE: Open House days are scheduled on the first full
weekend of each month. On these days the public is invited to
come out for a free introductory sail. Swimming ability is not
required. Life jackets are provided by the club, but if you are a
non-swimmer make sure that the skipper of the boat is aware of
this. Also take extra care to make sure that you are wearing an
appropriate type of life jacket. Children must be at least five
years old and accompanied by an adult. Arrive between 1:00 PM and
4:00 PM, wear warm clothes, and be prepared to get wet - the
small boats capsize fairly often on windy days. A capsize is
extremely rare in the larger boats, but heavy spray can still
make the ride very wet if the wind is up.
Although the purpose of Open House is to introduce prospective
members to the Club, people with no intention of joining are also
welcome. These monthly free sailboat rides to the public are
considered to be among the more valuable forms of public service
to the community that the Berkeley Marina has to offer.
CSC RATING SYSTEM: San Francisco Bay is a challenging and
exciting place to sail. It is well known for strong wind, big
waves, and cold water!  Although the CSC dock is partially
protected, most of the sailing area is exposed to the full force
of the Bay's wind and waves. Sailing a small boat in these
conditions requires considerable skill and experience, and as a
result the tests which must be passed to achieve various
qualification ratings in CSC are quite rigorous compared with
those of most other sailing programs. In order to allow the
maximum use of the boats consistent with safety, the CSC rating
system has become fairly complicated. The major features of
the rating system are outlined below:
THE JUNIOR SKIPPER RATING is the rating held by the majority of
active CSC members. This rating allows a CSC member to sail most
of the smaller boats in the daysailing area between Berkeley and
Emeryville. Jr. Skippers can bring non-members out sailing as
guests, and can also earn credits toward a free membership by
teaching lessons to new members on Lesson Days.
The Jr. Skipper rating is obtained by passing three tests:
       1) A written test covering terminology, basic sailing
          skills, and CSC rules and procedures (all covered in
          the CSC Handbook).
       2) A rigging test demonstrating ability to properly rig
          and launch a CSC boat.
       3) A practical sailing test demonstrating skill and
          ability in boat handling. The sailing test requires
          wind speed of at least ten knots, and includes a
          capsize and recovery drill.
Members must also contribute a minimum of two hours of work to
the Club before the sailing test can be taken. (The work is
usually a light maintenance task, or publicity or office work.)
THE NOVICE SKIPPER RATING is used primarily during winter months
to allow Jr. Skipper candidates to sail and practice without an
instructor while waiting for enough wind to take the Jr. Skipper
sailing test. All the requirements for a Jr. Skipper rating must
be met, except the sailing test is replaced by approval from an
authorized Club member. Sailing is restricted to a small practice
area, and the wind must be less than ten knots.
THE SENIOR SKIPPER RATING represents an extremely high skill
level, and allows members to sail any of the CSC-owned boats
including the 22-foot and the 26-foot keelboats. Senior Skippers
can sail at any time of day or night, and their sailing area
extends out into the middle of San Francisco Bay.
The Sr. Skipper rating is obtained by passing an advanced written
test and a series of sailing tests which demonstrate proficiency
in both small, high-performance dinghies and the larger keelboats
under adverse conditions. Members with no previous sailing
experience usually take six months to a year of active sailing to
reach the required skill level. Ten hours of work (usually a boat
maintenance project) must be contributed.
THE CRUISING SKIPPER RATING extends the sailing area boundaries
to include the entire San Francisco Bay and Delta system, from a
mile outside the Golden Gate all the way up to Stockton and
Sacramento. Cruising Skippers can arrange to take CSC boats on
extended cruises.
The Cruising Skipper rating is obtained by passing a written test
and skippering a series of day cruises under the supervision of
other Cruising Skippers.
THE NOVICE WINDSURFER RATING allows members to sail the CSC
sailboards in a small practice area. Novice Windsurfers can
practice any time the Club is open without waiting for an
instructor (provided that wind and water conditions are suitable
for their skill level).
The Novice Windsurfer rating is obtained by passing a written
test covering sailboard terminology, basic windsurfing concepts,
and CSC rules and procedures (all covered in the CSC Handbook),
and by completing a self-rescue (paddling) exercise. There
is no work requirement at this level.
JUNIOR AND SENIOR WINDSURFER RATINGS have approximately the same
requirements and privileges as the Junior and Senior Skipper
ratings. Members with these ratings can sail progressively more
advanced sailboard equipment in a much larger sailing area.
CRUISES: Scheduled day cruises in the 22-foot and 26-foot boats
leave the Berkeley Marina on most weekends for destinations such
as Angel Island, Sausalito, Pier 39 in San Francisco, the Oakland
Estuary, or Point San Pablo. Any member can sign up in advance to
be part of the crew, and can also sign up one non-member as a
guest. No CSC ratings or lessons are required to participate in a
cruise. Several overnight Club Cruises are usually scheduled each
summer, and Cruising Skippers can also arrange to use the boats
for private cruises.
RACING: Small boat races are held every Sunday morning from 9:45
AM to 1:00 PM. Any member or guest can crew, but only Junior
Skippers who have also passed the Racing Rules Test can skipper.
On many Sunday mornings there is a shortage of crew, and new
members are encouraged to participate (although racing can be a
very intense introduction for the beginner!).
The Club's larger boats are frequently entered in races sponsored
by other organizations, and crew positions are readily available.
When Daylight Time is in effect, there is a race almost every
Friday night at Berkeley Yacht Club. A number of members also own
their own racing yachts, and there is usually a demand for crew
at all experience levels. Some CSC members have even found crew
spots on boats sailing to Mexico, Hawaii, and the South Pacific
as an indirect result of their involvement with the Club.
YRA RACING: Boat owners who need a yacht club affiliation for YRA
or SBRA racing can join as Associate Racing Members for $50 per
year. CSC is a member of YRA and SBRA.
THE CSC FLEET as of March 1995 consists of eight 14-foot Lido
14's (used for basic instruction and recreational sailing), two
Rhodes 19's (larger, drier, with greater capacity than the Lido),
three 14-foot Lasers (high performance single-handed boat), two
Bytes (12-foot version of Laser) one 470, one 505, and one
Contender class racing dinghy. All except the 505 and Contender
are available for use by Junior Skippers.
The keelboat fleet consists of three 22-foot Pearson Ensigns and
two 26-foot Pearson Commanders, berthed in the Berkeley Marina at
the end of J-Dock. The Commanders have overnight cruising
accommodations for four.
Sailboards cover the beginner to advanced range, with a large
assortment of camber-induced Windwing sails.
MEMBERSHIP: The fee for a three-month membership is $45 ($40 for
students and senior citizens). The membership fee is normally
non-refundable, and covers unlimited lessons and unlimited boat
use. There is no other monetary charge for any Club service, but
there is a two-hour work requirement every three months for all
active regular members. Annual membership is available for $135.
Minors (under 18) may join by obtaining special permission from
the CSC Executive Committee. Children between five and fourteen
years old may take lessons, but cannot receive ratings until the
age of fourteen. Children younger than five are not permitted in
CSC boats under any circumstances.
Swimming ability is not required. Club-provided life jackets are
worn at all times, except in the cockpits and cabins of the
keelboats and under some conditions while windsurfing.
HOW DO WE DO IT?  The Cal Sailing Club's programs are designed to
provide minimum cost access to educational and recreational
sailing facilities. The cost of participating is far below the
cost of taking lessons or renting boats from a commercial sailing
school. We are able to operate at such a low cost level because
all the instruction, maintenance, and administration is performed
by unpaid voluntees. (The only exception is the "Dayleader," a
work-study student assigned to CSC who is paid jointly by the
Club and the federal work-study program. If you are a student
with a work-study grant and an interest in sailing, you should
talk to us about working as a Dayleader.)
The Cal Sailing Club replaces its equipment at less frequent
intervals than commercial operations, so it is unusual for our
boats to be in new or perfect condition. The boats are strong,
safe, and functional, but will not win any beauty contests.
Because all CSC instructors are volunteers, the beginner is often
exposed to teaching methods that vary considerably from one
lesson to the next. Some students find that this impedes their
progress, while others appreciate the exposure to a wide variety
of techniques. Once the Junior Skipper rating is achieved,
members are encouraged to begin giving lessons themselves - and
teaching is by far the fastest route to becoming a highly
proficient sailor. Experienced Cal Sailing Club members are
widely recognized as among the best sailors on the bay.
WORK REQUIREMENTS:  Another consequence of CSC's low-cost,
volunteer-based program is that members are expected to
contribute some time and energy. The minimum contribution is two
hours of work per three-month membership period(which must be
completed before advancing to the Jr. Skipper or Jr. Windsurfer
rating). Most of CSC's active members find that they enjoy
participating in various activities to the extent that they
donate many more hours of their time.
The nature of your work contribution is almost entirely up to
you. The Club always needs people to be instructors, to help with
(and learn) boat maintenance, and to assist with administration
and publicity jobs. Involvement in work projects not only
enhances the social aspects of the Club, but gives members the
opportunity to acquire specialized skills in all aspects of boat
maintenance and repair.
COMMUNITY SERVICE:  In addition to providing low-cost membership
and free Open House rides, CSC can sometimes make one of its
larger boats, along with a qualified skipper, available for use
by a local community organization. Schools, youth groups, or
senior centers interested in arranging a sailing trip on the Bay
should contact the Club. There is no cost to the organization.
Weekday mornings during summer months are usually best.
TAX STATUS: The Cal Sailing Club is tax exempt under the Internal
Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) as a non-profit educational
organization. Donations of boats, sails, and other equipment can
be extremely valuable to the Club, and donors can sometimes
recover substantial tax savings.
MORE INFORMATION: There is no telephone at he Club. The CSC
phone number (510-287-5905) is an answering machine which will
not take messages. The most effective way to get more detailed
information or to contact a particular CSC member or officer is
to come to the Club and leave a written message or obtain a list
of current CSC officers and their phone numbers.
IS THE CAL SAILING CLUB FOR YOU? Joining he Cal Sailing Club is
by far the least expensive way to learn to sail on San Francisco
Bay. It is also one of the best ways to learn to sail anywhere.
However, because CSC is run by the volunteer efforts of its
members, it cannot always operate with the same degree of
efficiency that would normally be expected of a commercial
sailing school or boat rental facility.
CSC's first priority is to make sailing on the Bay accessible to
a large number of people at the lowest possible cost, consistent
with safety. This policy can sometimes lead to periods of
overcrowding. If you can afford a much more expensive program and
have very little time, or if you are interested only in sailing
larger boats (a serious mistake for the beginner), then your
needs might be better served by a commercial school or sailing
Whether you are seriously interested in becoming a CSC member, or
just want to go for a one-time free sail on the Bay, feel free to
come down to the Club and take advantage of our next Open House.
San Francisco Bay offers some of the best sailing in the world,
and the Cal Sailing Club can provide some of the best
opportunities to enjoy it.