Photo by Martha Blanchfield / Renegade Sailing
Sailing Science Center News
April 2021
Vol. 4, No. 8
Welcome to the April issue of the Sailing Science Center News! People are getting vaccinated, and things are slowly opening up as we head into spring and summer. The SSC has started penciling dates on the calendar for limited, in-person events. We appreciate how these small things, like meeting in person instead of on Zoom, make big differences. We take that to heart with this newsletter by dedicating it to the theme that small things matter!
Step by step. I can't think of any other way of accomplishing anything.
― Michael Jordan
April Spotlight
Ana Blanco and the International Ocean Film Festival
Ana Blanco
Saving the ocean, one film at a time. This former tagline of the International Ocean Film Festival (IOFF) is both a perfect description of what they do, and a perfect fit with this month’s theme that small things matter! This April the IOFF celebrates its 18th anniversary with 18 days of online films. Ana Blanco has been their executive director for ten of those years, and has led the organization with a passion and energy that has made it what it is today.

Early Years and Sailing

Ana is the second of four girls in her family, growing up in Texas until she was eleven, when her family moved to Peru. She studied economics at the University of Illinois, Urbana. During college she discovered a love of the ocean through sailing, when she and her friends joined a flotilla sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to Bimini. They made the 50-mile crossing at night, and of the trip, she says:

It was the most magnificent experience I ever had.
Early Career

After college, Ana got a job with Morgan Stanley in San Francisco by answering a newspaper ad. She credits her mentors there for developing her high sense of integrity. Her next career stop was doing business development and marketing for an all-female architectural firm. It was then that she started volunteering for Lee Stimmel’s Blue Water Foundation, a nonprofit that helps youth in the juvenile system develop leadership skills and self-confidence through sailing. Here, her fluency in Spanish from living in Peru came to play, as it helped her communicate with many of the kids.
Ana Blanco with Sylvia Earle
Ana Blanco with renowned ocean pioneer, Sylvia Earle
The minute I got on the boat, and talked to one of the kids, I was hooked!

Blue Water Sailing's ocean-going Hans Christian 43, Benjamin Walters.
Photo courtesy Lee Stimmel, Blue Water Foundation.
She continued with the Blue Water Foundation for six years, and through them found her way to the International Ocean Film Festival.

The International Ocean Film Festival
The International Ocean Film Festival was launched in 2004, the first of its kind in North America, inspired by the ocean film festival in Toulon, France. Ana came to the IOFF in November 2010, as a festival director, with her first festival scheduled just four months later, in March of 2011, at Pier 39’s Aquarium of the Bay. That same year she launched a film competition for high school and middle school students. The competition has drawn as many as 300 submissions in a single year! The 2020 high school winner, Night of the Crabs (4:23), is worth a quick watch. Over the past 12 months the IOFF has increased its global audience engagement by more than 30% through virtual viewings. The 2021 festival will be held online from April 15th through May 2nd.
Photo by Valerie Saidman
Co-Hosting with the SSC

We are delighted to announce that the IOFF and the SSC will be co-hosting the Ocean Sports and Exploration Program for the IOFF’s 2021 festival. We are thrilled to be working with Ana, and this outstanding organization, toward such like-minded goals.
Most people seem to want tremendous improvement, instantly. But you’ll probably find it’s the little things you do that eventually add up to big results.
― Joel Weldon, Motivational Speaker
March Volunteer Event - America's Cup
Emirates Team New Zealand foiling on their way to win the 36th America's Cup
The 36th America's Cup wrapped up on March 17th, with Emirates Team New Zealand successfully defending their title in the radically designed AC75 foiling monohulls. The timing couldn't have been better, as it coincided perfectly with the SSC's March volunteer event to get into the action with a group viewing of the racing.

These multi-million dollar racing machines thrilled us with their other-worldly articulating foils, clocking speeds approaching 40 knots in a mere 10 knot breeze. You got that right. These things foil at nearly 4x the wind speed!

Adding to the fun, SSC volunteer, Michael Law, won a new SSC coffee mug by correctly answering the question: What did tea baron, Sir Thomas Lipton, name the four boats he commissioned to challenge for the America's Cup? Answer: Shamrock! It was a perfect fit for a lucky St. Patrick's Day event.

Boats approaching the first gate
New Zealand and Italy approaching a gate
New Zealand skipper Peter Burling
Winning Kiwi skipper, Peter Burling
Team Prada Pirelli and Emirates Team New Zealand bow to bow
The teams going bow-to-bow
Emirates Team New Zealand crossing the finish line to win the 36th America's Cup
Emirates Team New Zealand crossing the finish line to win the 36th America's Cup!
The SSC's April volunteer event will be special passes to this year's International Ocean Film Festival! Passes are limited. Sign up now to joins us!
Sailing Science Corner
The Coriolis Effect
Map of world ocean currents
The Coriolis effect describes the tendency of an object or mass to be deflected from its line of motion when traveling over a rotating surface. It is one of the key factors influencing circulation in the atmosphere and the ocean. Watch our video (2:42) to see how it works.
Exploded view of Coriolis Exhibit
Volunteer, Bryan Chavez, is building a Coriolis exhibit to take on the road and teach about this important concept in weather and oceanography.
Satellite view of a hurricane
The Coriolis effect is what causes hurricanes to form with their characteristic circulation patterns.
Archimedes Puzzler
(Answer to last month's puzzle)
A heavily loaded barge in a canal
A heavily loaded barge accidentally loses its load of dense rock in a confined canal lock. The lockkeeper is concerned that the sudden emptying of the load will cause water to overflow the lock's gates. Is he right? What do you think will happen? Will the water level go up, down, or stay the same?

The answer is that the lockkeeper's concern was unfounded. The water level will actually go down when the rock goes into the water. While the rock was on the barge it was displacing an amount of water equal to its weight, in accordance with Archimedes principle, but when it went to the bottom of the lock it displaced an amount of water equal to its volume. Since the rock is more dense than water, less water is displaced when the rock is at the bottom of the lock than when it is on the barge.

The lockkeeper still has to get the lock dredged, but that's another problem.
Matthew Turner Sailing Calendar
The Call of the Sea has posted their Sailing Calendar for the Matthew Turner. We are pleased to share it with you here. Happy sailing!
International Ocean Film Festival
Don't miss the International Ocean Film Festival's 18th annual event, online from April 15th through May 2nd.
Click here for more information.
This Month's Newsletter Banner
Time on small boats can be our most pleasurable and memorable time on the water. The simplicity of small boats, their affordability, the connection they give us with the wind and water, and the independence and confidence they can give us when we are young, add up to clearly show how these small things matter!
Photo by Martha Blanchfield / Renegade Sailing
SSC Logo - Light Background
Wanted for the Sailing Science Center

Do you have photos you want to share? The SSC is looking for great shots to use on our newsletter banner and elsewhere. Photographer attribution will be given.

Email your inquiries to
Small Stuff
Man scanning the horizon with binoculars
On the Horizon
The SSC has penciled in dates in June, July, and August, for holding limited in-person events to show our latest exhibits. We are also planning a dry run in early May, just a month away! Of course, all of this will be subject to the latest government guidance, but we are excited to have dates to get out and do what we are here to do! Details will follow as the situation progresses.
Move the Needle!
These are things YOU can do to move the SSC vision forward:

Make a difference. Move the needle!
Leadership Corner - Small Things Matter
We were racing around the island on the final day of the program. We won the start, were first to the windward mark, and never made any tactical or strategic errors. Nevertheless, two boats passed us, pushing us into third. In our post-race debrief the helmsman asked what happened. I paused before sharing my most profound comment of the year. Read more...
New Volunteers

We want to give a big shout out to Sabrina Tan, who raised her hand in March to offer her help over the summer. Sabrina comes to the SSC from a pro bono consulting group called 180 DC that we worked with in the fall. What is most interesting about Sabrina is that she lives in CHINA! But with today's electronic communications, other than the time difference, working with Sabrina is almost the same as working with our other volunteers. We are super excited about having Sabrina on the team. Welcome Sabrina!
That's all for this month.


Jim Hancock
President and Founder
The San Francisco Sailing Science Center is a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation recognized under IRS Section 501(c)(3), Tax ID 82-3631165. Your donation to the Sailing Science Center is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.



*STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math

Victoria Marcus

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