Photo by Martha Blanchfield / Renegade Sailing
Sailing Science Center News
April 2023
Vol. 6, No. 8
Welcome to the April issue of the Sailing Science Center News! The theme this month is The Unseen. What we can see and perceive about our surroundings is vanishingly small compared to what exists. To make matters worse, our brains filter out most of what enters through our senses, and then distort it with the lens of our dominant paradigms. In this month's Leadership Corner we explore our lack of seeing in Seeing the Unseen.
"Nothing Happened today."
― King George III, in his journal, July 4, 1776
April Spotlight - The Unseen Volunteer
A hooded person looking at the ocean with a butterfly flying in from the left.
This month's spotlight is on the unseen volunteer. The unseen volunteer is that person who puts in a word for you when you aren't around, the anonymous donor who helps you succeed, or the person who makes an extra effort without being seen or recognized.

Their impact is like the butterfly effect, in which small, and seemingly insignificant actions produce large and lasting impacts, beyond what anyone can imagine.

We are using this space to acknowledge all the unseen volunteerswhether they are reading this or notfor the contributions they have made and continue to make to move the world toward a better future.
If you see a turtle on a fence post you can be sure of one thing: he didn't get there on his own.
March Volunteer Activities
March got SSC volunteers up to full speed with in-person events and activities, as we geared up for our spring and summer exhibitions. See below for what those were.
Trailer Optimization Day
Volunteer opening the back of the SSC trailer
Volunteers in front of the SSC trailer
Above, L to R: Damon Guthrie, Chris Davis, Jim Hancock, Taylor Lacey, Lars Anderson, Steve Malton, Michael Malaga

March 5th was our Trailer Optimization Day! Seven volunteers turned out to study the organization and packing plan of the SSC Trailer. We sought improvements to our storage plan, and our load-in/load-out process, with a mind to saving time and improving our delivery process. It was a productive and enjoyable day with contributions from everybody who attended.
ACP Composites Tour
ACP Composites building view
ACP Composites Press and Autoclave
ACP Composites CNC Router
Above: The ACP facilities in Livermore. Lower Left: One of ACP's autoclaves and a hydraulic press. Lower Right: A CNC Router.
SSC Volunteers at the ACP Tour
SSC Volunteers and Guests outside of ACP Composites, L to R: Chris Winn, Shahzeb Jiwani, Allie Raul, Preston Thomas, Taylor Lacey, Jim Hancock, George Sparr (ACP founder), Natalie Corkhill, Chris Fehring, Victoria Marcus, Dan Pruzan, Steve Malton, Maggie Garside Heilman, Larry Ladd
SSC Land Yacht with original ACP Sail
ACP provided the sail material for the land yachts that were used in the SSC's first exhibit.
On March 19, thirteen SSC volunteers and guests showed up for a VIP tour of ACP Composites, given by ACP founder, and SSC supporter, George Sparr. ACP specializes in making carbon fiber composites, with contracts for everything from military drone parts, to pieces of SpaceX's rockets, the decks of America's Cup yachts, and even pickleball paddles. ACP was an early supporter of the SSC, making the sails for the land yachts that went with our first exhibit. We want to thank George for being the host to one of the most engaging and enjoyable volunteer events we have had.
Steve Kielar gives the orientation.
Steve gives the orientation
COTS Educator's Sail
AJ Lays out the plan.
AJ discusses the learning stations

On April 1st we attended Call of the Sea's April Educators' Sail. Besides being great outings (the weather was spectacular!), these sails have proven to be excellent networking opportunities.
Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step...
― Martin Luther King Jr.
In the News
SSC Online Store
The new SSC online store went live on March 23rd, with attractive SSC logo items, including clothing, the SSC 5-in-1 knife, and more. Be the first one on your block to sport these unique products.
SSC Trademark
US Patent and Trademark Office Seal

On March 27, the SSC filed its Statement of Use with the US Patents and Trademarks office. This was the final step in securing the SSC's intellectual property rights to our logo and branding.
Damaged docks on the west side of Clipper Cove Marina
Wind Storm

The storm that blew through the Bay Area on March 22 clocked speeds of 88 mph, killing four people and blowing windows out of Salesforce Tower. That speed translates to 77 knots for the nautically inclined among you, and yes, that qualifies it as hurricane-force. Among the casualties was Treasure Island Marina's western dock. The good news, if there is any, is that the docks were slated for demolition, so this just accelerated what had to be done anyway, if more chaotically.
Be a Citizen Scientist: Help The Ocean Cleanup Track and Analyze
Microplastics on the San Francisco Coastline
Seeking Citizen Scientists to conduct beach surveys once a month (or more) for two to three hours outdoors. Working in a small group, volunteers will measure microplastic types and quantities at various tide levels, then share data with The Ocean Cleanup in the Netherlands. Data gathered helps the science team better understand what is washing onto our shore, its volume, age, degradation and

No special training or skills required; adults and youths* are encouraged to help.
Booklet cover with picture of trash on a beach.
  • Surveys will be conducted once a month from the same location.
  • Approximate beach work time is 2 to 3 hours per visit.
  • Venue is TBD; we will pick a nearby Pacific Ocean coastline.
  • Project duration is a minimum of 6 months (6 visits).
  • You need not commit to all 6 sessions. One or many—it's up to you.
  • The start date is yet to be determined; a day in late April or May is the goal.
  • A mobile phone with a camera will be needed to take photos of microplastics at each quadrant.

* Volunteer work with The Ocean Cleanup looks great on a resume.

Program coordinator is Martha Blanchfield, SSC member and founder of SF Blue Tech group, “If It Touches Water.” While working with The Ocean Cleanup, one of her jobs was to create the Beach Plastics Sampling Booklet. She remains in contact with The Ocean Cleanup scientists, and will attend sessions along with volunteers. Have questions or wish to help? Email her at

Your time and concern are greatly appreciated. All survey results will be shared solely with The Ocean Cleanup. No personal information from volunteers will be requested.

Learn about microplastics in California. Read California Takes Decisive Action to Reduce Microplastics Pollution: State Adopts a First-in-Nation Approach to Protecting Ocean and Human Health
This Month's Newsletter Banner
A J/105 beats upwind toward an ominous fog bank. What unseen things are in the fog? Ships? Other sailboats? Islands? Did you see the drone above them? We will send an SSC bumper sticker—Porsche not included—to the first person who correctly identifies what is wrong with this unseen image, and can name the peak in the background of this Bay Area sailing scene.
Photo by Martha Blanchfield / Renegade Sailing
Wanted for the Sailing Science Center
SSC Logo - Light Background
Do you have photos to share? The SSC is looking for shots to use on our website, in our newsletter, and elsewhere. Photographer attribution will be given.

The SSC needs volunteers! We especially need volunteers who can staff one-day exhibitions as docents. Training, lunch, and SSC logo polo shirts are provided.

Direct your inquiries to
Small Stuff
Man scanning the horizon with binoculars
On the Horizon
Here is the schedule for the next two months. Check our online calendar for the latest information.

Apr 15-16 - Spring Fling Boat Show
Apr 22 - Board Mtg & Volunteer Potluck
Apr 29 - COTS Tall Ship Celebration
May 1-7 - SailGP Inspire Partnership
May 10 - Board Mtg
Move the Needle
These are things YOU can do to make a difference and Move the Needle

Leadership Corner - Seeing the Unseen
Jack and I were in the pilothouse, 12 feet up and scanning the water ahead of the ferry. We were traveling slower than usual because of the wind, the rain, and the choppy seas. Then, suddenly, I saw what I have never seen before or since, but have longed to see for most of my life. Read more...
Graphic of Raised Hands with SSC Logo
New Volunteers

In February, Fred King raised his hand to help. Fred holds an electrical engineering degree and is the former owner of Cal Marine Electronics. He learned about the SSC through our ad in Latitude 38. We are looking forward to working with you, Fred. Welcome!
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.






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San Francisco Sailing Science Center
1 Avenue of the Palms, Ste 16A
San Francisco, CA 94130