2013 has been a spectacular year. OCSC has prospered, more than fully recovering from the pains of the Great Recession. Even though it was slow to begin with we got to enjoy a great America’s Cup Summer creating the most exciting sailboat racing that any of us have ever seen. The economy has improved tremendously and helped replace our anxiety about the future with optimism. And, near the end of this great year, I have an announcement to make.
I’ll be transitioning to a more advisory role at OCSC beginning in January. I’ll still be involved, I’ll still lead trips, I’ll be at the club often, and you’ll still see me around. Under Anthony’s leadership, the team that we’ve developed will continue to take on more responsibility for operations (as they have for the last couple of years). Alicia, as our GM, and Joaquin, as our CFO, will help Anthony lead OCSC into the future. I will remain on the OCSC Board of Advisors, a group of volunteer business people who help OCSC with the tough, strategic decisions that help us grow and remain healthy in a changing environment.
This journey has taught me many things; the value of empathy and understanding, the importance of walking the walk, and the critical requirement to treat everyone with respect and compassion. It has also reinforced in me the inherent good natures of human beings. Every day I get to work with extraordinary people, within both the staff and the membership. They have taught me to be a better person and to appreciate all that a productive life can provide.
While I’ve learned many things, the main gift of OCSC is the massive quantity of joy I’ve received through teaching people sailing, mentoring sailors and employees, and simply messing around in boats.
It has often been said by people in the sailing community that “OCSC has the best group of employees that I have seen at any business, anywhere.” I agree 100%. We have assembled a kind, thoughtful, creative, hard-working team. It was often difficult to do and we learned from some big mistakes, but eventually, we got the formula down. That team will continue to take very good care of all of you!
In 1979, when OCSC started with some borrowed boats, a phone and a desk, we had a vision that we would train sailors as family members would train their loved ones and leave no stone unturned in the development of new sailors. 34 years later, OCSC has a built legacy of excellence in sailing instruction, recognized by the sailing community as the best heavy weather sailing school in the country. However, a bigger part of our legacy is the thousands of OCSC students and members who went on to great things in competition, international chartering and blue water cruising. A very talented and experienced St Francis Yacht Club member recently told me, “When we get a new crew on the boat who is newer to sailing, I can always tell immediately if they are from OCSC. How they board, how they make off a cleat hitch, how they manage a winch. They are a pleasure to have aboard.” All of you in the OCSC membership family are special people. You chose OCSC BECAUSE the program was challenging, even though there were easier and cheaper options. You fell in love with the excitement of pure sailing on San Francisco Bay. You developed friendships and relationships with us and with each other that will last decades into the future. I have a fantastic amount of love and respect for you. You have given my life and career meaning through your exploits as sailors.
My plans for the new free time that I’ll have are multifold. I do plan to throw myself into volunteering at US Sailing. It has been my avocation for 20 years and there’s more I want to do to make the world of sail training better. Cecilia and I have plans for more exotic trips, on the water and overland with OCSC. I also plan to come back and teach an occasional course. It’s what got me into this business and I miss it. I’ll also continue to race sailboats with my all OCSC crew…so watch out for the OCSC logo spinnaker out there on the Bay!