Photo by Martha Blanchfield / Renegade Sailing
Sailing Science Center News
November 2020
Vol. 4, No. 3
Welcome to the November issue of the Sailing Science Center News! Our theme this month is Belief. We live our lives through our beliefs, most of which are common from one person to another, but many of which, such as religion and politics, are sources of intense disagreement. Of all the beliefs we hold, the beliefs we have about ourselves are the ones that can be the most empowering, or the most limiting. See this month's Leadership Corner for more about beliefs.
The good thing about science is that it is true whether or not you believe it.

― Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist
November Spotlight - Carol Klammer
November’s spotlight is on Carol Klammer. Carol is a graphic designer we have been working with since early this year, and while not an SSC volunteer, she is a solid part of the SSC ecosystem. Carol is the second of four girls in her family, and grew up in Harwich, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. In her early years Carol spent summers with her grandmother, who gave her opportunities to take classes. This exposed Carol to swimming and sailing, with 2 years of sailing on Sunfish at ages 6 and 7. Asked what she liked most about sailing Carol said, “When you feel the tiller and the sheet in your hand it’s empowering and exhilarating. Look what I can do! Look what I can harness! I didn’t know the physics; it was just instinctual.”

Once I started sailing it was like, Holy Cow!
After those early experiences Carol spent a long period without sailing, but she continued to identify as a sailor from then on. Meanwhile, she had artistic interests. Carol says those came natural to her. “I always just drew. My mom was very artistic and we drew together.” Carol went to regular public schools until high school, when she got to attend a technical high school located in her hometown. Carol says it was like a dream come true, with 2 weeks of shop and 2 weeks of academics. Unsurprisingly, her area of concentration was Graphic Arts.
Carol says nobody in her family went to college, but a teacher encouraged her that college was the next step. She spent a year at Massachusetts College of Art before a sledding accident took her out. A California Dreamer, thanks to the Beach Boys, after recovering from the accident Carol transferred to California College of the Arts in San Francisco, earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design.
Carol started volunteering at the Academy of Sciences while still in school, transitioning to full-time work as a Graphic Designer upon graduation. She was there for three years before heading to her next stop as a retail products illustrator and designer for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, where she works today.
Back to sailing... In 2015 Carol bought a 1969 Cal 34 named Palapa, which she describes as a baby version of the famous Cal 40. She lives aboard and says she takes the boat out monthly. She also joins local races, including the Berkeley Friday nights, the Oakland Wednesday nights, YRA races, and races with the Single Handed Sailing Society.

Carol’s greatest passions are the environment and living an honest life with integrity. She is also passionate about hiking and biking, saying that cycling was her first passion and is still a passion today. She loves adventure and sometimes just needs to get out of town, like her five solo trips to the Grand Canyon, where she goes to reset. Delightful to work with and a master of her craft, Carol is a huge addition to the SSC. We’re thrilled to have you on the team, Carol.
Carol Helming her Cal 34
Carol in her happy place, at the helm of Palapa, her 1969 Cal 34
Check out Carol's portfolio at:
October Volunteer Event - Albatross
Looking into the Eyes of an Albatross
In the heart of the great Pacific, a story is taking place that may change the way you see everything. Albatross, a film by Chris Jordan, is at once a beautiful piece of art, a sentimental reflection on life, a potent statement of what we are doing to our planet, and, I hope, a compelling call to action.

On October 28 we held our monthly volunteer event, with a 60-minute SSC exclusive Q&A session with Jordan. We felt the film was so important that we opened the event to our entire mailing list, rather than limiting it to our volunteers. The Q&A session is over, but you can still view the film for free (no registration required) by clicking the links in this post.

The connection between Albatross and the Sailing Science Center may seem obscure, but as sailors, ocean health is at the top of our values. It is as sailors that we see first hand what is happening, instilling a feeling that falls between deep sadness and outrage―a sense that you just can't get from words or pictures. We hope that the film Chris produces will help motivate change in the right direction.
As individuals we don't know enough to justify almost anything we believe.

― Philip Fernbach, Cognitive Scientist, University of Colorado
Sailing Science Corner
Prop Walk
Prop Walk 2:10
People can believe crazy things! Those of us who have maneuvered a sailboat under power with an inboard motor have most likely encountered a phenomenon known as prop walk. Prop walk is the tendency of a boat's stern to move toward one side while under power, particularly at low speed and in reverse gear.

I learned about prop walk nearly 30 years ago, and I experienced it in action, but I never believed the explanations that were given for its existence. I heard and read everything, from it being the vertical component of torque on the propeller shaft (right direction but magnitude too small), to being the result of flow restriction between the propeller and the boat's hull (also right direction, but dubious magnitude). And I recently watched an authoritative sounding video that claimed it was from water being "jetted out" through the gap between the propeller and the boat's hull. This wouldn't even produce a force in the correct direction.

It wasn't until 2006 that I was given a demonstration that clearly illustrated what was happening. With a boat tied in the slip, its engine was put in reverse and we looked first over its port side and then over its starboard side. The "upwash" from the propeller on the starboard side was hitting the boat's hull and being deflected, pushing the boat's stern to port. What was equally amazing was that I had been conscious of prop walk for nearly two decades at that time and had never noticed the difference in water flow, even though it was right in front of my eyes. After seeing that demo I finally believe I know what causes prop walk. Watch the video above to see if you believe it too.
In the News
Branding Sneak Preview
The SSC has been working with Carol Klammer (see above) to develop a new logo and branding plan. Carol has done an exceptional job, which we are giving you a sneak preview of below. We will be rolling out the full branding package with new logo and palette on our website and in our newsletter on December 1. You can see an example of the new logo in use on the trailer rendering in the next section.
Sample Banner
SSC Palette Colors
How's that for a Trailer!
Rendering of SSC Trailer
In recent months we have been shopping for a trailer! Purchasing and branding are the easy part. Insurance and storage are a bit trickier. The concept is to fill the trailer with a dozen or so exhibits (already identified, some built, some not) and to take them to schools and public events. This will take some months to work out, but the target is to have it live and operational by late spring of 2021. Of course, our plan is pegged on a belief that by then the country will have some solutions to the coronavirus. We will keep you posted as this evolves.
Women's Sailing Seminar - Nov 13-15
Sign up for the 2020 Women’s Sailing Seminar weekend (November 13-15), featuring 3 days of classes to suit every level of sailing experience. Now in its 28th year, Women’s Sailing Seminar features volunteer women who are expert sailing instructors, including: Captain Mary Swift-Swan of Afterguard Sailing Academy, Captain Tanja Koster of teach2sail , Nathalie Criou - renowned “Race to Alaska” skipper and Behan Gifford - sailing celebrity, coach and author (

To find out more and to register, visit:
Timely for an issue on belief, here are two sailing concepts at opposite ends of the sophistication spectrum. Both incorporate interesting and unconventional methods of sailing. Each also has some science behind it that we can study, with one, admittedly, having a bit more engineering. Do you believe them? Enjoy the videos.
Unsophisticated but proven 1:12
Highly Sophisticated but Unproven 2:40
Help the SSC at No Cost to You!
When you are ordering your holiday gifts from Amazon this year, you can make one small change to help the SSC. Instead of using your normal link to Amazon, go to and enter the San Francisco Sailing Science Center as your chosen charity.

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets you enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the Sailing Science Center. Give it a try, and we will all smile together.
This Month's Newsletter Banner
Aboard this J/105, racing in San Francisco in 2016, belief runs strong, with three of the crew showing strong belief that the boat will stay upright from the wonders of its keel. But one of the crew members visible in the picture appears less confident. Prior experience plays a big role in our beliefs, along with what is com-municated by those around us.
Photo by Martha Blanchfield / Renegade Sailing
Beliefs define how we see the world and act within it; without them, there would be no plots to behead soldiers, no war, no economic crises, no racism and no showdowns between musicians.

— Graham Lawton, Journalist and Author
Wanted for the SSC

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.

Apps Script Developers
The SSC is looking for a Google Apps Script developer interested in writing automation macros for our internal systems. If you have experience in C++, Java or Java Script you're most of the way there.

Salesforce Developers
The SSC is now set up on Salesforce as its new Contact Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Give us a shout if you are proficient in Salesforce and want to get involved in the SSC.

VR/AR People
The SSC is getting into Virtual Reality and Augmented reality. We have been actively engaging businesses with expertise in these technologies to learn how best to use them for delivering STEM content framed around sailing. If you have experience in either of these areas we would like to hear from you.

Email your inquiries to
Small Stuff
Man scanning the horizon with binoculars
On the Horizon
SSC continues to be COVID-conscious and cautious, through virtual events, and with in-person events held outdoors in small groups and with proper social distancing. We are working behind the scenes on longer-term initiatives for teaching science and for raising SSC to the next level in every area. Details will be shared at the appropriate time.

Stay tuned!
Move the Needle!
These are things YOU can do to move the SSC vision forward:

Make a difference. Move the needle!
Leadership Corner - Belief
Our understanding of the world exists through beliefs. Beliefs are the mind’s way of simplifying and interpreting that which is either too complex to understand, or for which we lack sufficient evidence to know the truth. Because this covers everything, ALL of what we know of the world, is in fact, belief. 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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