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Monday, September 2, 2013

09/02 - Life at the Helm: Anthony Sandberg of OCSC Sailing

"We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came."
-- John F. Kennedy

Anthony Sandberg founded OCSC Sailing in 1979. An active sailor since early childhood in Hawaii, he has been enthralled with the sport. He has sought out sailing experiences around the world on every kind of craft from traditional native rigs like outriggers and dhows to dinghies, schooners and square riggers, modern grand prix racers, experimental hydrofoil flying machines and even landsailors and iceboats. He has cruised in most of the dream locations around the world from the South Pacific, Caribbean and Central America to the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, North Africa and Asia.

Anthony Sandberg and OCSC CEO Richard Jepsen

The heritage, history and traditions of the sport are a lifetime passion which more than anything he loves to share. His vision for OCSC was to provide a modern way to access the best of sailing in an approachable and affordable way. Starting with high quality training and state of the art equipment, the Club has become a portal to a lifetime of adventure for many thousands of sailors. When he is not leading a club flotilla in places such as Greece or Tonga, or trying to sail a boat powered by kites or a dolphin, you'll find him here at the club, so ask for him and say hello. He'd like to get to know you.

To learn more about Anthony see the recent article in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine.

Click here to read about Anthony's Kenyan Adventure.

OCSC isn’t just about moving a boat across the water powered by wind and a knowledge of the sea. It’s about discovery and exploration, freedom and responsibility. And taking the helm both literally and figuratively.

From The Olympic Circle Sailing Club to OCSC Sailing
In 1979, Carter was President, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, radios blasted “I Will Survive” and “My Sharona”, everyone was talking about Kramer vs. Kramer, and seasoned sailor Anthony Sandberg had a white Dodge van and an idea: sailing was too good to be just the sport of the rich.  So the man with a van borrowed a J/24, rented a shack on Alameda Estuary, and hung a shingle that read “Olympic Circle Sailing Club.” His vision was to teach sailing to students the same way he’d teach his friends. “I knew that if I had just one student, I would take such good care of them, they’d tell their friends. And that’s how we started the club,” Anthony recalls.

Within a year of surviving on canned tuna and baked potatoes, Sandberg moved OCSC to an abandoned warehouse and the club had 100 members, hundreds of students, and a small fleet of Capri 14’s. Aspiring sailors were coming to him with what he recognized as cherished, closely held dreams. And to Anthony, part of respecting those dreams was democratizing what was perceived as an elitist, male-dominated sport: anyone, he reasoned, could sail, and women could skipper.

In 1980, Rich Jepsen joined Anthony in running OCSC, and the two knew that the business needed to move beyond the calm waters of the estuary. One look at a chart of the Bay, and the world’s best place for a sailing school was immediately apparent: Berkeley Marina, which was at the time a garbage dump – a garbage dump a two-minute outboard putter from some of the best sailing in the world, that is. When Anthony stepped into the shack at the end of the point – now the post-renovation home to the Fleet Service department – he fell through the floor and into the Bay. “Fortunately, it was high tide, otherwise I would have been on the rocks. I said, ‘I’ll take it,’” he remembers.

It took three years of sweat equity to build what is now OCSC. During construction, Anthony, Rich, and the other OCSC barn-raisers were cheered on by a crotchety one-legged boxer who lived in the dump. When moving day finally came, members sailed OCSC’s bigger boats from Alameda to Berkeley, and Rich and Anthony towed the Capri 14’s behind the chase boat, duckling-style, to their new home. That was 1981, and OCSC has been teaching, sailing, growing, and having fun ever since. It embodies a welcoming culture where everyone knows your name and sailing isn’t just a sport, it’s a philosophy of respect and joy.

Now, with a fleet of over 50 yachts ranging from durable 24-footers to ocean going yachts over 60 feet long, they have over 75 employees, including over forty instructors, all of whom are professional sailors, certified instructors, and great people.

An OCSC Sailing flotilla!

Lots of things have changed with OCSC Sailing since 1979 – the Dodge van and the Capri 14's have long since been retired, their diet has expanded beyond tuna and potatoes, they no longer sleep on classroom tables. And even better, "My Sharona" is no longer a top-ten hit.

But one thing hasn't changed: they are as passionate as from day one, about teaching sailing to their clients just the same way they’d teach their friends.

Let Anthony help you find your inner sailor…  ~  800.223.2984


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