Photo by Martha Blanchfield / Renegade Sailing
Sailing Science Center News
March 2021
Vol. 4, No. 7
Welcome to the March issue of the Sailing Science Center News! Among the noteworthy dates in March are the Vernal Equinox on March 20, and the SSC's fourth birthday, a week earlier, on March 13. We have come a long way and have learned a tremendous amount since that coffee shop meeting with two people and an idea. In fact, it is the growth and the learning along the journey that makes it truly worthwhile. And to that point, we dedicate this issue to the theme of lifelong learning.
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.
― John Wooden, former UCLA basketball coach, winner of 10 NCAA titles
March Spotlight - Wayne Zittel and J/World
With a theme of lifelong learning, it makes sense to spotlight someone who grew up with two schoolteachers, and who owns three schools of his own… sailing schools, that is. We are talking about Wayne Zittel, owner of the J/World sailing schools in Puerto Vallarta, San Diego, and the Bay Area.

Early Sailing Years
Wayne was born near San Diego. He started sailing at age 10 in his family’s Lehman 12 dinghy, and then their Santana 20. After their first race, Wayne recalls his parents thinking it was “a little hectic,” while his personal take was that "It was totally awesome!" So began his addiction…

By the time he was thirteen, Wayne was mowing lawns and collecting cans to get his own boat. His parents matched funds to help him buy a Sabot dinghy. He started on the youth racing circuit and recalls the sense of adventure with a passion he still exudes today.
J80s with Spinnakers
College Years and Early Career
With schoolteacher-parents, Wayne knew he would go to college. He started as an Architectural Mechanical Engineering major at UC San Diego, but switched to Comparative Literature after seeing which majors had the most interesting books in the bookstore. He says that studying literature and writing has helped him in his business and communication skills.
J80 Planing with Spinnaker
Midway through college he started working for J/World Sailing School in San Diego, waiting tables and coaching sailing to pay the bills. After graduation he spent a year in New York, then came back to California and became a “sailing gigolo,” doing deliveries and odd boat work, with sailing acting like a rubber band, always drawing him back. He bought a liveaboard boat his parents had seen in the classifieds, which he sailed to San Francisco. Once in the area, he got a job at Bay Riggers, and then had a couple “real jobs” in the tech sector.
J/World Bay Area
Things really changed in 2001 when the owner of J/World San Diego proposed that Wayne start a J/World school in the Bay Area, backing his words with two J/80 trainers. In 2004 Wayne opened the J/World school in Puerto Vallarta, and today he owns all three West Coast J/World schools, including the San Diego school, and is opening a new charter operation on March 1st, called Blue Element Sailing. In addition to the physical locations, Wayne has started a successful offshore program, with the Santa Cruz 50, Hula Girl, as its centerpiece. They have now raced the boat to Hawaii twelve times, and currently hold the class record on that course!
SC50 Hula Girl
Connections to the SSC
It was while I was working for J/World in 2013 that the early seeds of the Sailing Science Center were sown, inspired by the students’ excitement when the science of sailing was explained to them. We love what Wayne has done with J/World and are proud to count him in the SSC’s list of friends and supporters.

All photos courtesy Wayne Zittel, J/World Sailing
Learn continually. There's always one more thing to learn.
― Steve Jobs
February Volunteer Event - Sailing by Computer
Screenshot of a slide showing scaling factors for boats.
The SSC's February Volunteer Event started with a terrific video from the MIT Archives, titled Sailing by Computer, but it didn't end there. The 1966 video focused on the use of model testing to predict performance characteristics for America's Cup yachts. To add value to the event, SSC volunteers provided insights into the difficulties of this approach compared to modern numerical solutions. The turnout was strong and attendees went away having learned a little more about yacht design than when they started.
I am still learning...
― Michelangelo at age 87
Sailing Science Corner
The Archimedes Puzzler
A heavily loaded barge in a canal
The Puzzle
A heavily loaded barge accidentally loses its payload of dense rock in a confined canal lock. The lockkeeper is concerned that the sudden emptying of the payload 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?

Two of our beautiful new SSC ceramic coffee mugs (see below) will be awarded for correctly answering the puzzler. One for the first non-SSC volunteer to answer correctly, and one for the first SSC volunteer to answer correctly. Send your answer to with the subject line Archimedes Puzzler. This contest is not open to members of the SSC Exhibits team.

About this Puzzler
This puzzler is designed to teach Archimedes' Principle, and to challenge people to think through its application. Archimedes' Principle is a physical law that is applied throughout ship and yacht design to ensure that vessels will float, that they are stable, and that the loads they encounter can be withstood. The principle is stated below.

Archimedes' Principle
The upward buoyant force exerted on a body immersed in a fluid is equal to the weight of the fluid that the body displaces.

The video below may be helpful to your understanding. Good luck on the puzzler!
Rendering of the Archimedes Puzzler Exhibit
To share the above concepts in the form of a hands-on demonstration, we have designed Version 3 of the Archimedes Puzzler exhibit, complete with a water-level amplifier to make any change in water level easy to see.

Exhibit concept by Paul Kamen. Water level amplifier and rendering by Jim Hancock.

Thank you to Mina Matsumoto for sharing a link to a site called Iceberger that lets you draw a two-dimensional iceberg to see how it will float. This demonstrates an area of naval architecture, called hydrostatics, that uses Archimedes' Principle to predict how ships and boats will float. Try it out. It's fun!
In the News
The New SSC Coffee Mugs are Here!
Collage with SSC mug and coffee beans
Thanks to Victoria Marcus, the new all-ceramic, microwave- and dishwasher-safe SSC Coffee Mugs are here! Even though we call them coffee mugs, they do a fine job with other beverages... like rum. We will be offering periodic opportunities to get these one-of-a-kind items (see Archimedes Puzzler above). They will eventually go on sale.
Vendée Globe
The Vendee Globe is the pinnacle of offshore yacht racing and, together with the America's Cup, epitomizes the intersection of sailing and science. The current event started on November 8, and as of this writing, all of the boats had finished, save one. To replay the race, you can see the tracking map.


SSC contributor, Olivia Malterre had the following to say about this latest edition of the event.
21,638 miles, 33 skippers, 3 capes, 90 days, 19 foilers, 9 citizenships. The non-stop solo yacht race around the world is probably my favorite sports event ever. The Vendée Globe–The Everest of the Seas–is a one-of-a-kind challenge that a small group of men and women meet to do every 4 years. It starts on the French West Coast. The skippers must descend the Atlantic to reach the Indian Ocean, and then head across the Pacific Ocean and return up to the Atlantic.
Yannick Bestaven on the bow of his boat with fireworks in background.
What struck me most in this year’s edition was the record-high number of six women skippers! I have to admit that Clarisse Crémer was one of my favorites. Her positive energy, her technical skills and her will to share her journey kept me energized for the whole race. :) The performance of Damien Seguin was remarkable as well: in spite of his disability–Damien was born with one hand–he finished in the 7th position. And of course, I had to mention Jean Le Cam, or Le Roi Jean, who showed how much of a demigod he by saving the life of another skipper, lost at sea while following one of the best trajectories for this year’s edition.

What I love most about the Vendée Globe is not only that it reminds me of my childhood in France, but that it is used by thousands of schools and teachers there to teach students about climate change, geography and meteorology.

It is a great source of inspiration for the SSC!
SSC Palette Colors
Vernal Equinox

On Saturday, March 20, at 2:37 am, Pacific Daylight Time, the sun will cross the celestial equator on its way from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere, marking the vernal equinox and the beginning of the Northern Hemisphere spring. This is an important point in celestial navigation. The position of the sun in the celestial sphere at the Vernal Equinox defines the origin of the coordinate system used to describe points on the celestial sphere, and is given the name First Point of Aries.
This Month's Newsletter Banner
Learning new skills is one of the joys of sailing. In this month's banner photo an experienced hand shows a newcomer "the ropes," teaching him how to coil and crown a line.

It's a great shot that captures the spirit of the SSC's mission of learning and growing, regardless of age.
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 started reaching out to local educators to stage mobile test events in late spring or early summer. We are also planning a major, multi-day event in November. These are both in the planning stages, and until we have commitments they are just concepts, but we are building our stable of exhibits and are eager to get them in front of people.
Move the Needle!
These are things YOU can do to move the SSC vision forward:

Make a difference. Move the needle!
Leadership Corner - Lifelong Learning
Learning has always been essential for survival, but with world-change at an all-time pace, this is truer than ever. Happily, learning can be pleasurable with the right approach. Here, I explain how to enjoy learning, share thoughts on what to learn, the requirements for learning, and how to tell when you have learned something. Read more...
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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