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Come Sail Away

Learn how to sail on the San Francisco Bay at Netflix-type prices
By - posted 4/1/2011 No Comment

When you’ve outgrown sloshball but you find hiking boring, have you ever thought of trying the outdoorsy, loose thrill of sailing and windsurfing in the San Francisco Bay?

Thankfully, the non-profit Cal Sailing Club (CSC) on the Berkeley Marina has super reasonable membership rates (Think Netflix-type prices of about $20 to $25/month) that give you full access to a whole sailing fleet, free lessons, sailing gear and tons of laid back nautical fun whenever you want it.

While there’s experienced sailors throughout the club, it’s a slacker vibe that reigns. They’ve got a food budget and there’s usually a free meal being prepared by the time you head for the showers.

A Fleet at Your Disposal
CSC has a fleet of about 20 15-foot-long dinghies for one or two people, plus five of the bigger keelboats of 25 feet that go out for the more cheese-and-crackers outings.

But it’s not just sailing – The club’s got a fleet of over 80 windsurfing boards including some so big you’ll have to try hard to fall of them. And to  keep you warm, there’s wetsuits and foul-weather gear aplenty.

Want to Learn How to Sail?
Included with your membership, the CSC has experienced volunteer teachers willing to show you the ropes with free sailing lessons every day of the week.  And there’s also free windsurfing lessons on Friday and Saturday.

The Cost: Is $25/month “Cheap”?
At $75 for a three-month membership (or $225 for a full year – which actually comes out to $18.75/month), CSC is actually much much less expensive than most other sailing clubs we’ve found in the Bay Area that charge around $700 just for initiation. [membership details]

But then get this – the club also has an unofficial policy of dishing out free memberships to volunteers to help out a few people who are short on funds. If you ask politely – and if you do a total of ten hours of volunteering (from pulling weeds to more nautical tasks like refinishing a hull), then it’s not uncommon for your membership fee to be waved.

– Cheap membership rates, tons of great boats, boards and gear, free lessons,  free food and a laid back party vibe – that’s the kind of sailing club Funcheap can get behind!

Cal Sailing Club is located in the Berkeley Marina at 124 University, next to Cal Adventures and Adventure Playground.
Getting There: AC Transit’s 51B line goes directly from Downtown Berkeley BART to their front steps.

Free Sailboat Rides: Sunday Open Houses

At the Cal Sailing Club open houses, everyone brave enough will get a free 20 minute sail with an experienced sailor. Just show up and bring a strap for eyeglasses or sunglasses and a change of clothes in case you get soaked. No membership required. This is totally free for all.

Dates: April 3, April 16 (Berkeley Bay Festival), June 12, June 26, July 10, July 24, Aug 14, Aug 21, Sept 4, Sept 18, Oct 2 and Oct 16