The Cal Sailing Club is a non-profit, volunteer-run sailing and windsurfing club that offers lessons, recreation, and free programs for the general public and for summer programs. Members get lessons and, after achieving ratings, use of the club's fleet of 23 dinghies, 6 keelboats and 80 windsurfing boards including novice, intermediate, and advanced designs. Located on the south side of the Berkeley Marina, CSC's major activity is teaching sailing and windsurfing safety.
The club's programs for the general public and organized groups include Introductory Sails, land sailing school (in cooperation with the Nature Center and the Pegasus Project), summer sailing for youth groups including Berkeley and Albany YMCA's and Berkeley Youth Alternatives, windsurfing seminars, lectures, and clinics. These services are provided by club volunteers.
Membership dues and volunteer work provide access to lessons and recreational use of the club's equipment. There are no charges for lessons or use of equipment. Members have to pass rating tests and contribute work in order to achieve ratings. Qualified members can bring non-member friends out sailing as their guests.
The Cal Sailing Club is not part of the University of California. The UC 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.
Open To The Public
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.
Minors (under 18) are encouraged to join when they and their parents feel that they are ready to sail and windsurf at CSC without any special supervision. All minor memberships are subject to approval by the CSC Executive Committee. Parents of new minor members must be thoroughly familiar with the club and the conditions their children will face. Children younger than five are not permitted in CSC boats.
Introductory Sails for this sailing season are listed on the front page.
This is a great way for anyone to learn about boating safety, discover the joy of sailing and CSC. Children must be at least five years old and accompanied by a parent or guardian. Arrive between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM, wear warm, waterproof clothing, strap on eyeglasses or sunglasses, leave electronic gear behind, and bring a change of clothes in case you get wet!
The fee for a three-month membership is $99 ($89 for students and senior citizens, $66 for minors under 18). A discounted annual membership is available for $297. Members can take unlimited lessons and once they have ratings can take out boats and sailboards without limit. There is a two-hour work requirement every three months for all active regular members. Most of the 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.
All membership signups and renewals are processed through this website. If you are paying with a credit card, or renewing your membership with volunteer hours, do that here on this website. We prefer that you use your own computer and sign up from home. Our credit card processor is Paypal, and they have their site programmed so that anyone with a Paypal account may be forced to use that Paypal account, even if they want to pay by credit card. So dig up that old username and password for that Paypal account you set up in 2003, or you may get a message saying your credit card is no good. If you can't use Paypal, and want to pay with cash, check, or our manual credit card option, come to the clubhouse to pay and fill out a form for the Treasurer to enter your signup or renewal on the website.
Minors (under 18 years old) can only become members with the approval of the Executive Committee. We welcome under-18 members who will be as responsible as our over-17 members, provided their parents/guardians understand that the club does not provide supervision, hazard screening, or environment specifically for children (UCAC is the place for this, next door to CSC). Minor members must fill out medical and liability waiver forms. Minor memberships are available only at the clubhouse.
Family memberships are available but only for family members who are related as parent/guardian and children, who come to the clubhouse together with all their under 18 family members' medical and liability forms filled out, and who pay for the membership at the clubhouse.
Sailing and Windsurfing Lessons are the club's most important activity. Club members teach other club members everything from which end goes first to the finest points of sail trim. Beginning sailing lessons are held every Monday and Thursday afternoon and Saturday mornings; beginning windsurf lessons every Saturday and Sunday morning. For more information, see the lessons page.
Cruises: Scheduled day cruises in the keelboats leave the Berkeley Marina on most weekends for destinations such as Angel Island, Sausalito, Pier 39 in San Francisco, the Oakland Estuary, and Point San Pablo. On most cruises, any member can sign up in advance to be part of the crew, and can also sign up one non-member as a guest. Usually no CSC rating or lessons are required to participate in a cruise. Cruising Skippers can also arrange to use the boats for private cruises.
Racing: Dinghy races are held most Sunday mornings from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, alternating use of our Bahia and JY15 fleets. Any CSC member can crew, but only members with a Junior Skipper rating or higher who have passed the Racing Rules Test can skipper.
Informal dinghy races, using an abbreviated set of rules, are held spring through fall on Thursday evenings using our JY15 fleet. Arrive by 5:30 PM to rig the boats.
During the summer months, CSC cosponsors a weekly racing series with the Berkeley Yacht Club. When Daylight Savings Time is in effect, there is a race almost every Friday night. 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 in the Club.
For more detailed information please go to the Racing page.
CSC's Boats & Sailboards
The CSC dinghy sailboat fleet as of January 2013 consists of
- eight 15-foot Laser Performance Bahia's (used for basic instruction, racing, and recreational sailing)
- one RS Vision (similar to Bahias, but a little smaller and quicker)
- one RS Venture (bigger than Bahias, great for lessons and recreation)
- one RS 500XL (fast but super tippy, for experienced and agile sailors)
- seven JY15's (two person boats, simple and nimble)
- one Precision 15 (wide, stable, and docile, but balky in light wind)
- two Lasers and two Bytes (single-handed dinghies)
The keelboat fleet consists of two Merit 25's, a Capri 25, and three 26-foot Pearson Commanders, all berthed in the Berkeley Marina on J dock.
The windsurfing fleet has over 80 sailboards, including 37 wide, stable beginner boards with centerboards, 30 intermediate boards ranging from 130 to 160 liters volume, and a variety of high-wind and Formula Boards for advanced windsurfers. The club has over 120 windsurfing sails in sizes from just over 3 square meters to over 9 square meters. Most of our sails are kept rigged on masts with booms removed, and are stored in covered racks. Our mini-sails for beginners (3.3 and 4.2 square meters) are kept fully rigged with booms on in another covered rack, to make it as easy as possible for beginners to get out on the water.
The 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 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. The major features of the rating system are outlined to the left under "Sailboat Rating System" and below under "Windsurfer Rating System."
Sailboat Rating System
The Junior Skipper Rating is the rating achieved by the majority of active CSC sailors. This rating allows a 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 towards free memberships by teaching lessons.
The Jr. Skipper rating can be obtained by members who have contributed (and been signed off for) at least 4 hours of work and who can pass three tests: a written test covering terminology, basic sailing skills, and CSC rules (all covered in the CSC online "handbooks"); a rigging test demonstrating ability to properly rig and launch a CSC boat; and a practical sailing test demonstrating the skills listed below. The sailing test requires at least ten knots of wind, and includes a capsize.
Jr Skipper Sailing Skills Checklist:
More advanced ratings are earned by members who demonstrate an extremely high level of sailing skill and a commitment to the club's programs (teaching, maintenance, public service). The Senior Skipper rating allows members to sail any of the CSC sailboat fleet, including the larger keelboats, within an area extending out into the Bay along the Berkeley Pier, and, for keelboats only, within a much greater area ranging from Emeryville to Richmond. The Cruising Skipper rating allows members to sail the Club keelboats anywhere within the entire San Francisco Bay and Delta system. These ratings are obtained by passing advanced written and sailing tests, and (for the Sr. Skipper rating only) contributing ten additional hours of work..
Windsurfer Rating System
The Novice Windsurfer Rating allows members to sail the beginner windsurf boards in a small practice area. Novice Windsurfers can practice any time the Club is open without waiting for an instructor. The Novice Windsurfer rating is obtained by passing a short, open-book written test covering safety, basic windsurfing concepts, and CSC rules and procedures (all covered in the CSC handbooks) and a self-rescue (paddling) test. There is no work requirement at this level.
The Junior Windsurfer Rating allows members to sail the beginner and intermediate windsurf boards in the daysailing area between Berkeley and Emeryville. The Jr. Windsurfer rating is obtained by passing a closed-book written test on basic skills and club rules, then one takes practical sailing test demonstrating ability to handle high-wind conditions. Members must also contribute a minimum of four hours of work before the sailing test can be given.
More advanced ratings are earned by members who demonstrate a high level of windsurfing skill and a commitment to the club's programs (teaching, maintenance, public service). The J+ Windsurfer rating allows members to use the J+ boards, which are smaller and faster than the J boards, and requires a rigging test, additional work, and demonstration of water starting ability. The Senior Windsurfer Rating represents extremely high levels of skill and commitment, and allows members to use any of the CSC-owned sails and boards in a sailing area that extends out into the Bay along the Berkeley Pier.
Windsurfer Storage Lockers
Cal Sailing Club maintains a total of 59 storage lockers on the premises for windsurfing boards and sails. Associate membership in the Club, for a fee of $280 per year, is available to the general public and entitles the Associate Member to store personal windsurfing equipment in an assigned storage locker anytime throughout the year. This allows immediate access to one of the most popular windsurfing areas in the Bay.
The Cal Sailing Club, as a non-profit charitable and educational organization, is tax exempt under the Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) Donations of boats, sails, and other equipment can be extremely valuable to the Club, and donors can recover substantial tax savings.
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 primarily because all the instruction, maintenance, and administration is performed by unpaid volunteer members. 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. Contact the Port Captain for employment opportunities.
The Cal Sailing Club also replaces its equipment at less frequent intervals than commercial operations. The boats are strong, safe, and functional, but will not win any beauty contests.