Welcome to CSC!

The Cal Sailing Club is a non-profit, volunteer-run sailing club in Berkeley

Membership costs just $120 for 3 months ($99 for students and seniors) plus 2 hours volunteer work and there are no charges for lessons, equipment use, cruises, or other club activities. Choose About CSC for more information, to join, See plans and pricing.

Once you've signed up, you'll need your Membership #  from your invoice or confirmation email.  If you forget that, check with the dayleader (they have the list of current members) or better yet, login again with your username and password and go to Account Info .  

Welcome aboard! Welcome to CSC!

Junior Sailing Fast Track Dates for 2019

Fast Track is a program of intensive instruction to help move you to your Junior rating. It's a full week of intensive instruction – 1 instructor for 2 students from about 5 or 5:30 pm to sunset, Monday through Friday, with testers available. These are the dates for this year. Details and pre-requisites will be announced as the dates approach:

      • May 6-10
      • June 3-7
      • June 24-28
      • July 8-12
      • August 5-9

A New Way to Earn Volunteer Hours - Refer a Friend

There are lots of ways to earn volunteer hours at the Club, and here's a new one – refer a friend. If you refer someone who becomes a member, you'll get 2 volunteer hours, which is what you need to renew your quarterly membership. Just tell your friend to enter your name in the "Referred By" field when they sign up. You'll get credited with the hours within a week or so after they sign up and get a subscription.

Good deal all around – good for your friend, good for you, good for the Club.

Open House Dates for 2019

During Open Houses we offer FREE introductory sailboat rides to the general public aboard our fleet of keelboats and dinghies. Children must be at least 5 years of age and accompanied by an adult. Each Open House runs from 1-4pm on the dates listed above. More detailed information is here.

Please try to arrive early as, depending on the conditions and the amount of people, the sign-up/rides may end before 4pm.Come on down and get out on the bay! Already a member? Come on down and help out! The 2019 Open House Schedule is below:

      • Sunday, March 10
      • Saturday, April 6- Coincides with the Berkeley Bay Festival! 
      • Sunday, May 19
      • Sunday, June 16
      • Sunday, July 21
      • Sunday, August 18
      • Sunday, September 15
      • Sunday, October 20
      • Sunday, November 17

Reminder to Members - Membership Dues Increased January 1, 2019

As voted by the membership in the May 2018 GMM, dues increased as of January 1, 2019 to cover increased costs. These are the dues and fees effective on New Years Day:

      • Quarterly Membership - $120 ($99 for students or seniors)
      • Annual Membership - $375
      • Quarterly Family Membership - $175
      • Windsurf Locker Rental - $400 for regular size windsurf locker, $600 for 1.5 size locker

Volunteeer hour requirements remain unchanged, including the number of hours for a free quarterly membership (10 in addition to your minimum volunteer hours, which depends on your rating - 2 for Junior and below, 10 for Senior and above).

We are also establishing annual memberships based on volunteer hours (30 hours in addition to your minimum volunteer hours).

Windsurfing Lessons Over for the Season

We're in the light wind season, so it's pretty hard to learn it now. Check back at the end of March.

New Windsurfing Links

A windsurfer in St Petersburg, FL, passed these on to us. Check them out here.

Article Index

Step 1: Where to Learn — Finding Equipment

Picking a Sailing School

We recommend lessons from an established sailing school. (For a list of some windsurfing schools in the U.S., click here.) Do not be tempted to let a sailing 'significant other' teach you. Such lessons usually do harm to both learning to sail and to the relationship. A friend who is a high wind 'short board' expert also might not be a good instructor since he or she probably has forgotten beginning sailing completely.

We recommend a windsurfing program that does more than offer only the "first-time" beginning lesson, but also offers continuing lessons for intermediate and advanced sailing. A program, like that offered by the Hood River Water Play Sailing School, seems ideal. The program begins with 2 days of 3-hours lessons. After completing these lessons, the student is given 10 free hours of supervised sailing (with equipment) to practice the skills acquired in the first lessons. After mastering the beginning skills, there is a very complete sequence of intermediate and advanced lessons to keep the student progressing. Also the equipment that the school uses should be fairly new. Since about 2002, beginner boards have become much better designed and easier to use. If the boards the school offers are older than that, stay away! (See note below on "The Board.").

If there isn't a good sailing school in your area, we recommend the book A Beginner's Guide to Zen and the Art of Windsurfing, by Frank Fox (Amberco Press). If you can not locate that book, read on. Even if you have located a fine sailing school and/or some good books and videos, it won't hurt to read this guide. The more you know about windsurfing, the faster you will progress.

Other on-line courses that I know about are:

Windsurfing Bible (not free, small fee)

Watertrader Magazine

US Windsurfing Association ($15 for CD with nice movies)

Another way to go in North America is ABK Sports. They offer 3 days clinics around North America, and they are excellent for sailors of all levels.

The Board

If you picked a good windsurfing school, they will provide you with an appropriate board to learn on. If you are on your own (and you probably are if you are reading this web page), it is best to learn on a 'Entry Level Board'. For an adult, this board should be at least 80 cm wide, and will have a retractable centerboard or center fin. Pick a board with enough flotation to allow you to stand and balance easily. Kids can use smaller boards. The amount of flotation you need depends mostly on your weight. For example, if you are under 160 lb. (60 kg), a board with 200 liters of floatation would work nicely. If you are between 160 lb. (60 kg) and 210 lb. (78 kg) or so, 220 liters of floatation would be good etc. But in any case, the board should be at least 80 cm wide.

The Sail

Here is a typical conversation between two windsurfers preparing to sail:

A: What do you think, 5.5?
B: Well, Bud is on a 5.7 and he seems to be flying.
A: Jane is on a 4.6 and that usually means I should be on a 5.0.
B: I don't know, a 5.2 might be perfect.
A: I only have a 5.7 and a 4.6.

This profound conversation will continue for about 10 minutes.

There are several misconceptions about sail size. Some think that bigger is definitely more macho and will make you go faster, while smaller is necessarily easier. Neither of these beliefs is true. The wrong sail size, whether too big or too small, will make sailing difficult. Several factors matter for the correct sail size: (1) your weight and (2) the wind strength. Your weight will not change much during the season, but the wind strength will change from day to day. Pay attention to the wind strength and the sail size that is most fun for you with a particular wind. If the wind is 10 MPH and you are having fun on a 5.0, then next time out when the wind is 10 MPH, use the same size sail if you can. However, if the wind is lighter next time (5 MPH) use a bigger sail; if it is stronger (15 MPH) use a smaller sail. You can also rig a sail slightly differently for different wind speeds. You should only use a too small 'school' sail for the first few times out.

My personal advice is buying used is fine, but don't buy junk. If you are unsure, take a windsurfing friend with you to the swap meet/garage sale. Shops are usually very helpful, they want your long term business. Finally, whoever you buy from, whether new are used, should demonstrate how to rig the equipment. You want to make sure all the bits actually fit together and you know how to get the most out of the rig. A poorly rigged sail will be a nightmare on the water. A well rigged sail ... a thing of beauty.

You are going to need a wetsuit and choice a place to sail, which is covered in the Safety section.