This blog is about the Downtown Sailing Center and our community outreach and education programs.  This blog contains information for the public as well as our members, volunteers and clients. 

  • 27 Apr 2011 12:47 PM | Anonymous
    Volunteer Shout Out! 4/27/2011

    As announced in the blog, the Downtown Sailing Center is partnering with United States Yacht Shows, Inc., for the Cruiser University May 12-15.  Along with sailing on our Access Dinghies, Best and Final will be our home base on the dock for the show.  In the following weeks, we need help with the following tasks to get Best and Final show ready:

    1. Polishing topsides and cabin top.
    2. Polishing stainless.
    3. Washing and bleaching the teak decks.
    4. Sanding and painting the bottom of the hull.  

    Friday is forecasted for no rain, and Sunday should be sunny all day.  If we could get a group of people to attack the boat with some rags and a bit of elbow grease, she’ll start to shine.  

    My goal for this weekend is to:
    1. Wash the boat in detail
    2. Polish the Cabin Top
    3. Wash and bleach the decks.
    4. If there’s time left, we can get to the stainless.  

    Please send me an email at if you are interested, and include your availability.  This will be an on going project right up to the boat show, but if we can kick start the process this weekend we can be ahead of the game!

  • 23 Apr 2011 10:04 AM | Kristen Berry
    Last week, while sailing in the first BCYA Tuesday Night Series race of the season I was reminded of the power of a good and smart duck.  For those of you who are thinking about feathered quackers, a duck on the race course is when one boat sails behind (astern) of another.  When two boats come together and would collide if one or both didn't alter course, then the right of way rules kick in and one boat will often "duck" behind the other.

    I am fond of saying that when two boats on opposite tacks meet on the race course -- one of them is headed the wrong way.  Races are generally won by getting to a strategic advantage on the race course (more wind velocity, better current, advantageous wind shift, etc.) first and taking advantage of it.  Get to the strategic advantage (you'll often hear me refer to this as the big money) first and you'll be hard to beat.  Because there is usually only one "big money" for any given segment of the race (i.e. the moment when two boats on opposite tacks are about to cross each other) then one of the boats MUST be headed the wrong way.

    Tuesday night was a great example of this.  We were sailing in a light (4-8kts) westerly breeze that was filling into the racing area after the passage of a small storm cell. Onboard, we discussed how we felt there were likely right shifts, if not a persistent right shift coming with the new wind.  With that in mind we were pretty sure, the right side of the race course would be "big money."  But the starting gun went off in less than 5kts of wind (the water was like glass because most of the new wind was still aloft) and we were midway down the line, with two of our competitors on our windward hip.

    In the super light stuff - nobody likes to tack.  It costs too much (said in the tone of the "the rents too damn high!" guy.)  Moreover we were headed for pressure and were slightly headed, making the eventual cross that much easier assuming they got the same left hand shift (reminder - consolidate on THEIR loss not yours.)  All the boats in the scenario were eventually headed and the cross would have been easily make able, but after :30 seconds of analysis of pressure vs shift vs staying fast vs getting to the big money the boats inside of us had found the right hand shift, gained back due to being right of us in a right handed shift and now were an issue.  We didn't have the cross. 

    This can be one of toughest moments on a race course.  Conceding to the other boats that they are ahead in order to sail towards what you believe is the "big money."  But the call was made to tack, and upon coming to course and hitting our target boat speed it was clear that we wouldn't cross in front.  We would need to duck. 

    There are good ducks and bad ducks from a boathandling standing point.  Good ducks don't cost much, and often gain, but bad ducks can be deadly.  Setting the boat up for a good duck starts with anticipation.  When sailing upwind, a small alteration of you angle will have you footing to your target rather than needing the bear off significantly - which inevitably slows the boat down and costs boat lengths!  In our case, a quick weight shift to windward, a big ease on the mainsheet and finally a burp on the jib kept the underwater foils working, kept consistent flow across the sails, and allowed us to head down without needing to deflect the brake... er, I mean the rudder, much at all.

    So now we are sailing into a header.  The boats that we've ducked are looking more and more lifted as we are more and more headed.  After some discussion about leverage (the lateral distance between two boats) we decided to hedge our bet a bit, and tack back to starboard.  Less than a minute later, our competition that had continued to sail to the left on the lifted tack also tacked, and we quietly crossed them by about 15 or 20 boat lengths.  WHEW! 

    My personal take away from this is something that I've been reminded of hundreds of times - almost ALWAYS head towards the strategic advantage - the big money - even if it means ducking a few boats.  Sail to your strategy not to the other boats and you will be more successful.  Execute a good duck and win.
  • 22 Apr 2011 10:01 AM | Anonymous

    This past weekend we began the process of de-winterizing our Cruising fleet.  Despite rain and wind, we had a good turnout and a great Boat Manager meeting in the morning.  It was a great way for me to meet Boat Managers and find out the needs of the fleet, as well as communicate some new policy and procedures.

    The goal of Saturday was to check the safety equipment onboard the boats.  Before our cruisers can leave the dock we must ensure that all of the boats have the basic USCG requirements onboard.  Ultimately, we would like to have the Coast Guard Auxiliary come onboard and inspect all of our vessels.  With their help, we can make sailing on DSC cruising boats safer and more enjoyable for all.  

    At the meeting we also discussed the slow migration of the cruising fleet to B-Dock.  Some boats have moved already, and in the coming weeks the majority of the fleet will be transferred to “Cruisers Cove”.  The end of A-Dock is being retrofitted this spring to have a large platform at the end of it for the access dinghies and to have space for youth programs.  Ultimately this decision is based on safety, and having a purpose built dock for youth and accessible programs means we can operate at the highest standards.  While at the same time keeping cruising boats and sailors together with the resources at hand to make their experience as enjoyable as possible.

    With this change, we are intent on making “Cruisers Cove” the perfect location for the cruising fleet.  The large platform where the Access Dinghies are now will provide perfect work surface, and there will be lockers placed on the dock for easy storage.  In the mean time, there is a power outlet at the top of the ramp, and we will be able to run water hoses as well.  There are also dollies in C-Container to help move equipment.  

    There were a lot of questions about who to talk to about maintenance items and parts ordering.  Gary Page and I are available to answer questions or help with maintenance, order parts, and coordinate outside help.  Please “cc” both of us on emails, that way there’s always someone in the loop.  As far as ordering parts for projects; it takes time to get parts in, but by ordering through the office we can keep an eagle on the budget, source the best materials and use our industry partner discounts to get those materials at the best prices. 

    If you need parts or gear, please submit your project and materials to me (don’t forget to copy Gary Page) by Tuesday afternoon. This should give us ample time to source parts by the weekend.  

    Lastly, there is a call for people who are interested in being boat managers. Under the supervision of the DSC, Boat Managers are expected to:

                1. Keep an accurate and up-to-date inventory of the boat and its’ equipment.

    2. Keep an accurate and up-to-date list of repairs and maintenance tasks to be performed on the boat, and a log of all repair and maintenance tasks completed.

    3. Maintain a list of potential improvements and/or additions to the boat and/or equipment that will enhance the safety, usability, and/or market value of the boat.

    4. Participate in periodic discussions of the cruising program.

    5. Manage the day-to-day maintenance of the boat, employing volunteers whenever feasible, and inform the Cruising Program Administration of any Cruising Credits earned.

    6. Coordinate the purchasing of parts and equipment with the DSC Fleet Manager.

    7. Provide boat orientations to those DSC Cruising Skippers aspiring to gain an

    endorsement for the Boat Captain’s assigned boat and inform the Cruising Program Administration of the Skipper’s status.

    8. Provide leadership and participate in educational activities related to boat care and maintenance such as work parties.

    Being a Boat Manager is a great opportunity to learn more about the inside workings of a boat and you will have plenty of help and resources. If you would like to be a boat manager, please contact John King (, Cruising Fleet Chair. 

    This was just the first of a series of Boat Manager meetings and Cruiser work parties.  As we move forward, I would like to have more of them. I think they are a great way to share ideas, for crew to get to know each other, and have a good day outside with a great group of people!

  • 20 Apr 2011 10:37 AM | Kristen Berry
    Wednesday Open Sail Sailors!  You may want to pay special attention to the weather this afternoon.  NOAA has issued the following forecast:


    Thunderstorms and 20+ knots make for a poor combination.

  • 20 Apr 2011 10:36 AM | Kristen Berry

    This Saturday the Downtown Sailing Center will be hosting the second of our biweekly Access-Ability Sailing events.  The Access-Ability is a volunteer led event that helps people with disabilities gain access to the freedom of sailing.  It is a powerful program that is enriching for both participants and volunteers.

    This week we have nearly a dozen participants scheduled to sail, and we could use a few more volunteers to help with critical jobs such as:

    • 1)    Rigging and De-Rigging Access Dinghies
    • 2)    Registration including greeting participants, securing liability waivers and helping participants navigate to and from the launching area
    • 3)    Transferring participants into and out of access dinghies
    • 4)    Sailing with those individuals who choose to have a sailing buddy

     These are just a few examples of the many volunteer roles that make the Downtown Sailing Center’s Access-Ability programs fly.  Volunteers are encouraged to arrive at 8:30 A.M. and the day concludes by 1:00 P.M.; but don’t think you have to spend all day!  Come for an hour or come all day, but please come and lend a hand.

    Volunteer registration is encouraged.  Go to the DSC Calendar and register to be an Access-Ability volunteer now!

  • 20 Apr 2011 10:35 AM | Kristen Berry

    Cruising News

    With just a few weeks before the first DSC sponsored cruise of the year the cruising fleet is waking from its long winter’s nap.  The diesels are purring, safety items are being checked and commissioning is underway.

    A cruiser workday is scheduled for this Saturday, April 21.  The cruiser workday begins at 1000 and you can register here! 

    There will be a skipper meting and boat orientation on Saturday, May 7

    The Skipper’s meeting will review general cruising policies for 2011 and provide a great venue for Q&A.  DSC Cruiser Boat Managers will then conduct boat orientations in 45-minute sessions. 

    Cruising skippers should note, that in order for a skipper to be cleared to reserve a particular cruiser, he/she must have attended the orientation for that boat or arrange for a personal orientation and approval by the boat manager for the specific boat. 

    Boat managers may require an “on the water” orientation as well, depending on a skipper’s experience with the boat/boat type.

    Skipper Meeting – 9:30 to 11

    Boat Orientation

        session 1 - 11 to 11:45

        session 2 – 11:45 to 12:30

        lunch – 12:30 to 1:15

        session 3 - 1:15 to 2:00

        session 4 – 2:15 to 3:00

        session 5 – 3:15 to 4:00

        session 6 – 4:15 to 5:00

  • 20 Apr 2011 10:35 AM | Kristen Berry
    Spring is in full swing and the reservation system is once again live.  If you previously had a login for the reservation system, your username and password are the same as they’ve always been (note this may be different than your site login.)  In the event you have lost or forgotten your username and password, please feel free to contact the office.  If you are a new skipper – please contact the office to get your access to the site.

    Added this year will be online reservation for access dinghies.  If you have attended an access dinghy orientation you can now reserve your boat online too!  Contact the office for more details or to schedule an access dinghy orientation.

  • 20 Apr 2011 10:32 AM | Kristen Berry
    If you haven’t heard United States Yacht Shows, Inc., producer of the United States Sail and Powerboat Shows, is launching a new event for aspiring, as well as experienced, cruisers.  And the Downtown Sailing Center is a partner organization!

    The first annual Cruiser’s University, May 12-15, will be held at the Baltimore Marine Center at Inner Harbor. The program will provide expert instruction in a wide range of subjects pertinent to long-range cruising. Classes range from general cruising topics, such as crossing the Gulf Stream, Proper Provisioning and Cruising with Children, to master certification courses in diesel maintenance, weather forecasting.

    The Downtown Sailing Center will have Best and Final ­­- Passport 40 - on site as well as our fleet of access dinghies to give everyone a chance to sail and experience what the DSC has to offer new and experience cruising sailors.

    The Downtown Sailing Center will be an exhibitor at the event as we well as providing on the water and volunteer support for the program.  If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities at Cruiser’s University, please contact Grady Byus immediately.

    To learn more about Cruiser’s U and the many programs that will be offered click here.  Cruising members – stay tuned to the DSC blog for more information.

  • 17 Apr 2011 8:35 AM | Kristen Berry
    Sometimes it seems like there are only two kinds of wind...too much and not enough.  Today due to a high pressure system with a fairly steep gradient we've got too much of the too much.

    NOAA has issued a Gale Warning for our sailing area, and looking out my office window I can see why.  While I love sailing in big breeze, today's actual and forecast winds are over the DSC's recreational sailing wind limit.

    Sadly, this has resulted in the cancellation of an open house and instructor practice sailing.  The good news is that Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay rarely sees this sort of breeze - so we only loose a few days a year to the wind limit.

    For more information on the marine forecast click here.  For the latest winds speeds and gusts at the Francis Scott Key Bridge click here.
  • 03 Apr 2011 1:31 PM | Lynn Handy (Administrator)

    As new outreach manager I thought I would tell everyone a little about myself and my love for the Downtown Sailing Center.

    My involvement with the DSC started at a very early age as a camper in the junior sailing program in 1993.  I was a summer staff member for five years and experienced all levels of the DSC from junior’s camp to accessible sailing. In the last two summers I had the chance to lead the sailing instructor training course for Baltimore City teenagers.


    As an educator I have worked with so many disadvantaged youth and youth with disabilities who have never had the opportunity to experience the world beyond their neighborhood. Working closely with the S.I.T. program I was able to witness how much sailing can change a person’s outlook on life. With that in mind, I could not turn down the opportunity to work full-time for an organization that is built on providing everyone no matter their disability or income with a life-changing and memorable experience.   

    My professional goal with this position is to improve the outreach programs by increasing participation and enhancing the enrichment of each program.  

    I am so grateful for the opportunities that the DSC has provided me over the years. I look forward to working and meeting all of you!

    P.S. Don't forget we have the first open house and access-ability sailing program next Saturday! Jump online to sign-up!


Downtown Sailing Center at the Baltimore Museum of Industry
1425 Key Highway, Suite 110, Baltimore, MD 21230
410.727.0722 •

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