Photo by Martha Blanchfield / Renegade Sailing
Sailing Science Center News
December 2020
Vol. 4, No. 4
Welcome to the December issue of the Sailing Science Center News! Our theme this month is Culture. The question is not whether you have a culture, but rather, what kind of culture do you have, and are you being intentional in creating it? The Sailing Science Center bases its culture on integrity, humility, great communication, being of service, and many other values. See this month's Leadership Corner for more about Culture.

The SSC is wrapping up 2020 on a high note, with a new logo and branding, four exciting exhibits under development, and important new connections in the educational community to help us bring those exhibitsand the science they teachto school kids in San Francisco and the North Bay. Keep reading for more about the Sailing Science Center.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast!
― Giga Information Group
December Spotlight - Martha Blanchfield
December’s spotlight is on Martha Blanchfield. Born in St. Helena, and a third-generation Napa native, Martha, her mother and a younger sister still live in the area. As a girl, Martha would sew and sketch pictures of horses and fashion. In high school she made waves by designing and sewing her own prom dresses. She was also athletic—hitting balls over nets on both tennis and volleyball teams. After high school she attended Syracuse University in New York, where she earned a B.S. in marketing.

Early career

Martha’s early career included jobs in apparel manufacturing and hospitality, and later, enterprise resource planning in the tech industry. In 2000 she started Renegade PR, initially providing global public relations services to Lexar Media. This led to opportunities in the burgeoning digital media field with firms like SanDisk, Kingston, ProGrade Digital, GoPro, Nikon, and BenQ. The experience helped her develop as a writer and photographer.

Martha racing
Martha discovered sailing while planning a photography workshop that required a yacht as a prop. This led to an invitation to sail with John Cabrall out of Berkeley. Smitten with the sport, she soon walked into the Vallejo Yacht Club and was invited to join a beer can race. A year later she photographed a competitor and posted the pictures on Facebook. The positive likes and comments encouraged her to bring her camera to future races, igniting her interest in sailing photography. While she has sold her work to both magazines and individuals, Martha says she doesn’t do it for the money, but adds that it has opened doors to cover major events around the Bay, plus Antigua, Germany, and New England, and has helped her enter sailing circles to which she would otherwise not have had access.
Martha on the Bow of Eros
Martha in Antigua, on the bow of Eros, wielding a big lens on her Nikon.
Martha is not a “burst photographer,” saying she instead capitalizes on the anticipatory skills she has developed from knowing the sport. When framing a shot, she strives to take her viewer onto the boat, waiting for the right moment, then hitting the shutter.

Since May, Martha has been providing the banner photos for the SSC newsletter, sharing great moments in sailing that are also apropos to our monthly themes.
Martha and the SSC

Martha also holds a special place in the SSC. We met in 2012 while I was skippering boats for Sunsail and she was writing tech manuals for GoPro. A year later we collaborated on a rough business plan for a sailing school that would blend high performance race coaching with a classroom featuring advanced, interactive teaching aids such as wind tunnels and hydrostatic tanks. The plan didn’t pencil out due to a lack of scale, but its seeds grew to be the foundation for the SSC. A key moment came, when lacking a wind tunnel, we decided to slap 50 sets of telltales on the sails of a Pico dinghy. Watch the video to see what happened.
Martha sticking her tongue out
Today, Martha continues to serve her clients through Renegade PR, and races when she has the opportunity, but also devotes time to Renegade Sailing, an online magazine with the tagline of Profiling Whimsy From Water’s Edge. So aptly put from someone who embodies whimsy. It is a pleasure to be on this voyage with you Martha.
Giving Tuesday Logo
We hope this email has found you in good health on this Giving Tuesday, timely placed after our holiday for giving thanks. 2020 has been a year in which we have all been reminded to count our blessings. At the Sailing Science Center, our blessings include a productive year, thanks to the generosity of people like you.

Today, we ask for your support to continue the SSC's success into 2021.
While staying mindful of the turbulence in our broader community, the Sailing Science Center has continued in its mission:

To inspire a passion for sailing and science by delighting people through discovery and play.

While that mission sounds simple, its spirit and impact are far reaching. What I know is that simple ideas can sprout in a child’s imagination, growing to the furthest reaches of the planet, and that the delight from seeing a craft propelled by the wind can literally change the trajectory of a child’s life.

We have also continued to develop the partnerships needed to build strong and lasting programs that will educate and inspire for generations to come. Noteworthy accomplishments this year include:

  • Creating two new exhibits and prototyping four others
  • Launching an initiative for a 2021 high school design competition
  • Publishing 12 monthly newsletters
  • Hosting 12 volunteer events
  • Hiring our first employee
  • Adding a new business development lead to our board

What’s Ahead
Rendering of SSC Trailer
There has been good news recently regarding vaccines to turn the tide of the pandemic. At the SSC we plan to resume in-person activities with our exhibits in late spring, 2021. This will be through mobile outreach, at first using rental vehicles, then moving to a custom trailer or truck.

We have a dozen exhibits planned for the spring launch, averaging $3,000 to $5,000 per exhibit. We need your support to deliver this outreach. A list of the scheduled exhibits appears below to share some of the important concepts that can be taught through the lens of sailing.
First Exhibits for the SSC Mobile Museum
  • Land Yacht Experiment Table
  • Visual Navigation
  • Archimedes Puzzler
  • Cascading Tackle Tug-o-War
  • Coriolis Carousel
  • Anchoring Sandbox
  • Water Column Density Drop
Thank you for being part of our community and helping build a better future. The contribution you make today will help the SSC continue its programs in 2021
November Volunteer Event - Culture
Biker Gang and Business Meeting
Culture Matters
On November 19 we held our monthly volunteer event as a lively Zoom discussion about culture. Three cultural non-negotiables were identified by leadership, but beyond those, the topic was kept open. Read this month's Leadership Corner to learn what those non-negotiables were and what volunteers of the SSC have to say about it.
The question is, what kind of culture do you have?
If it's unintentional, odds are it isn't any good
― John Maxwell
Sailing Science Corner
50 Shades of... Telltales?
50 Sets of Telltales on a Pico Dinghy (1:49)
We embarked to learn more about the airflow over our sails. Lacking a proper wind tunnel, we made due with the wind that nature provided, slapping 50 sets of telltales (short pieces of yarn) on the sails of a Pico dinghy to help visualize the airflow. We also used smoke from an oversize incense stick. The wind was strong and gusty. Here's what we learned:
  • Gusty conditions are sub-optimal for this kind of study.
  • The smoke dissipated too fast to be of much use.
  • But what about the telltales? You will have to watch the video to see.

In the News
New Branding for the SSC!
The SSC has rolled out its new branding, with a freshly designed logo and palette from Carol Klammer, and fresh new photography on our website from Martha Blanchfield. We hope you like it as much as we do.
SSC Palette Colors
Matthew Turner
On November 5, we joined a three-hour sail aboard the Matthew Turner, Call of the Sea’s recently completed brigantine, thanks to an invitation from Executive Director, Steven Woodside. The event was an Educator’s Community Sail and it was literally a “boat load” of educators who are already “onboard” with what we are doing! Expect to hear more about this going forward.
Matthew Turner Collage
Pictured (Top to Bottom/Left to Right): Rosanne de Vries (SSC Volunteer), Steven Woodside (Call of the Sea Executive Director), Steve Kielar (Call of the Sea Director of Education)

The moment you give up your principles and your values, you are dead, your culture is dead, your civilization is dead. Period.
— Oriana Fallaci
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
A fleet of Optimist dinghies sails across the Oakland Estuary. This aptly named post-war design has been a launching point for many of the world's greatest sailors, exposing them to a culture of competition, combined with learning, fun, and camaraderie that has served them throughout their lives.
Photo by Martha Blanchfield / Renegade Sailing
SSC Logo - Light Background
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.

Email your inquiries to
Small Stuff
Man scanning the horizon with binoculars
On the Horizon
As seen above, the SSC is busily building interactive exhibits. We are also busily building connections in the educational community to run pilot programs with schools and students. We will share videos of our creations with you as we proceed.

A third major focus area is with virtual reality, where we continue with longer-term initiatives. 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 - Culture
In the realm of organizational effectiveness, culture reigns supreme. It trumps mission, it trumps vision, and it trumps strategy. When you have the right culture everything is easier, life is more fun, and work gets done with energy and enthusiasm. This is why we are being intentional in how we create the culture of the SSC. 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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