The Maritime Report: Community sailing center for Alameda?

The Maritime Report: Community sailing center for Alameda?

Dave Bloch

The America's Cup has been generating a lot of excitement around our Island for well over a year now. There's great hope that the energy and attention focused on Bay Area sailing will be a real catalyst to help more people understand and get involved with the sport (and, for many, its lifestyle). There are opportunities for some long-lasting infrastructure improvements as well; we'll report on those as they come along.

One big project that has been a dream of many is a community sailing center in Alameda. A CSC can take several forms, but it is essentially a place where anyone can come and have their first experience on a sailboat, and then continue to improve their skills with classes and practice. Many CSCs’ activities are especially aimed at children and youth, giving them some early experience that can grow and be theirs for a lifetime. (Some yacht clubs, and Alameda's own Encinal Yacht Club is a prime example, provide excellent youth sailing programs, but the CSC would be a community-based organization focused just on sailing without the social, restaurant/bar, interclub racing, and other aspects of a yacht club.)

A group of Alamedans have gotten together to make a CSC a reality, and have scheduled a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26. The meeting will be held at Kame Richards’ Pineapple Sails, 2526 Blanding Avenue, between Broadway and Everett Street.

(By the way, if you have never seen the inside of a sailmaker workshop, or "loft," come to the meeting just for that! It's a fascinating place.)

Participants at the meeting will discuss what the mission of an Alameda CSC would be, and there are lots of options. (Just aimed at kids? Just sailing, or other sports like kayaking?) Other conversations will be about where a CSC could be located, what kinds of equipment it would need to get started, and how to get funding for it. The CSC will probably be a new nonprofit organization, so getting the beginnings of a founding board of directors together will be important as well.

As those America's Cup catamarans go flying across the Bay at fifty knots or more, there are going to be people dreaming of being out there. Can the Island City create a community-based facility to get them started? Come out on June 26 and make it possible!