Thursday, May 23, 2013

Volunteerism, New Course Offerings

One of the hallmarks of CBI's sailing programs is "member teaching  member" and  informal instruction.  Most of our classes in the adult program are taught by other members who volunteer.  Many of our volunteer instructors initially  learned to sail at CBI, some of them many years ago.  All of them bring a wide range of experience and most importantly a love and passion for the sport of sailing.  In addition to our volunteers who  teach scheduled classes, CBI relies on our members to take out new sailors for informal instruction. This is a great way to learn - more like the playground  than the classroom.  I recommend it highly.

Starting in 2013, we have added a new layer to our cake.With the goal of providing the best possible instruction in our advanced sailboats (Lasers, 420s, Sonars, Rhodes 19s, and Windsurfers) we are pleased to offer more comprehensive courses which will meet over 3 two and a half  hour class sessions.  The courses will be taught by highly experienced instructors and will have a fee of $25.     I think these courses will be a great addition to CBI and help to advance your skills..

I am also excited to announce that CBI is launching the new "Harbor Navigation and Seamanship" course built on the model we have used in the Junior Program for the past two years.  Steve Porco, who many of you know from his work in our maintenance department, will be teaching  the  new Harbor Trip Course.  There will be three class sessions where you'll gain  essential skills and knowledge, and then sail on an actual Harbor Trip.    Steve will escort his class on Rhodes 19s  through the locks, and out to one of the harbor islands, and then back to CBI at the end of the day.  If you've got the bug to sail to horizons farther away this is the way to get started.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What Is Incorporated About Community Boating Anyway?

From time to time I have the  opportunity to explain what Community Boating Inc. (CBI) is to someone who has never heard of us.  Usually my description includes our programs, our charitable mission, our volunteers, our sailors - youth, adult and accessible,- and snippets of our colorful history. I love talking about CBI this way.  If time allows I might get into a description of our corporation.   "Corporation" is an unfortunate word for a charitable not-for-profit organization.  It sound like a business.  It's hard to avoid because CBI stands for Community Boating INCORPORATED. While some facets of CBI are similar to a business, instead of delivering  financial returns to owners, CBI delivers services and programming for the benefit of society.  CBI provides a nationally recognized Universal Access Sailing Program to hundreds of sailors at no charge.  CBI also provides youth sailing memberships at $1 to close to 700 kids from families of limited financial resources, and also to adult individuals with special circumstances.

So back to the word "corporation".  Community Boating's  corporation is a group of approximately 200 folks who are corporation members. Upon application to CBI's board of directors, individuals are appointed corporation members. Corporation members are committed to supporting the mission of Community Boating.  Our board of directors is elected from the corporation. Only corporation members may be directors of CBI. A corporation member is like a shareholder, holding just one share of CBI,   with none of the  benefits of ownership and all the responsibility of stewardship and governance.
CBI's corporation meets annually on the third week of October during which elections for the board of directors are held.

CBI always needs to bring new folks into the corporation to refresh, rejuvenate, and inspire.  If you are already a member of the CBI community, perhaps you volunteer in some way and share our passion for "Sailing for All" and a desire to support CBI's mission, I hope you will consider applying to join CBI's corporation.  If you would like more information please contact me directly at



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Welcome CBI 2013 Sailing Season

Welcome one and all to CBI's 2013 sailing season.  Perhaps you've heard the phrase "the more things change, the more they stay the same?" That describes CBI pretty well.  We have some pretty significant changes happening this year..   We've got a new database.  It allows us to sell memberships online. Soon we'll be able to sign up for classes online too.  We can keep track of who is sailing when, and that is important for keeping everyone safe on the water. We've got new classes and curriculum. Most of our changes over time are incremental.  Small bits of evolution which add up over time to big differences.  In 1998, my first year as CBI's adult program director, we sometimes had only two or fewer safety launches in working order. Today our fleet of launches includes a total of 10 vessels and I can state for the record and  unequivocally that our great staff today are just spoiled rotten by having launches that work all the time!  In 1998 we had no connection to this thing we've all grown completely dependent on - the web.  When the weather forecast called for a chance of thunderstorms we watched the sky.  When we heard thunder or saw lightening we knew it was time to evacuate the river - usually too late for comfort. Today we monitor weather web sites and can evacuate the river before the lightning is upon us.

The list of changes over time seems quite large and I'll save more reminiscences for another time.   However there are some really big things that stay the same at CBI and they are more important than what changes.  CBI is first and foremost a community of members as opposed to consumers.  Most of our classes in the adult program are taught by other member volunteers. Volunteer members offer informal instruction daily. Volunteers work on special projects and serve on committees helping us to manage our affairs. Volunteers help organize harbor trips, Sunday morning  racing, Tuesday night racing, Wednesday night racing, and Friday night racing.  Sometimes volunteers organize swing dances! Without the hundreds of volunteers who join our spring and fall work parties I don't know how we would get our fleet hauled and stored in November and then launched and rigged again in March. CBI thrives because of volunteer engagement.  So I encourage you folks who are new to CBI this year, to get your helmsman rating, get sailing and then lend a hand. Maybe start off by offering informal instruction to other new members who are following along behind you. BTW we teach a "How to Give Informal Instruction" class to help you out.

"The mission of Community Boating, Inc.  is the advancement of sailing for all by minimizing economic and physical barriers to the sport of sailing.  In addition, CBI enhances the greater Boston community by using sailing as a vehicle to empower it's members to develop independence and self-confidence, improve communication, foster teamwork, and acquire a deeper understanding of community spirit and the power of volunteerism."

Welcome and Cheers!