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!

Teach Dinghy Lessons weekdays and earn double work hours

We need more instructors on Mondays and Thursdays for dinghy lessons. Come out and teach, and log double the hours that you teach. Lessons are from 1pm on, so come out and help our newer members learn how to sail.

Last Fast Track for 2019 Finished August 9

There were 7 new Juniors, 2 new Novices, and 13 sailors who sailed much better at the end of the week than they did at the beginning.

We had a fantastic Fast Track program this season. Thanks to the organizers, cooks, helpers, instructors, testers, and of course students.

Fast Track will resume next season in May.

 
 

New to Cal Sailing?

Come to a new member party and meet the gang!

Last New Member Party of the Season, Sunday, August 25, 3-5pm

Note that the party scheduled for Saturday, August 10, has been cancelled 

All are welcome - new club members, potential members, or current members.
If you are a member, bring a friend or two to hang out and party. If you're a Junior, you can take them out sailing (not during Lessons time, though)
 

Photos from Women's Dinghy Capsize Clinic

This was held on July 7, and you can see the photos here. Check out our Calendar for more workshops this season.

New Video on Capsize Recovery

This video is the middle and last part of a series on capsize recovery. It is also in our video library under Lessons->Sailing->Videos.

New Video on Rudderless Sailing

This is a hugely important sailing skill, and not just on dinghies. When you master it, you will have more and more efficient and effective controls on the boat. Rama Hoetzlein and Andy Hacket produced a video on this. It is also in our video library under Lessons->Sailing->Videos.

 

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

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.