by Sue Crocket
February 18, 1971, a group of sailors in San Francisco formed California International Sailing Association (CISA) as a non-profit corporation, 501(c)(3), founded to assist sailors training for national and international competition. Meeting at Newport Harbor Yacht Club after the initial meeting,, Peter Davis was elected President. During the first year, they accepted a corporation seal, established the fiscal year, new officers, adopted an insigna, discussed a small sail-trainer boat, discussed training programs, fund raising means and participation in various campaigns. They became a part of a Southern California America’s Cup campaign and a Six Metre World Cup campaign. The Association bought six I-420s in 1972 making them available to requesting clubs youth sail training. The first summer, 250 students participated in a primarily two day program run by Andy MacDonald. Once Andy resigned the program lost its propulsion and lapsed. The Association continued giving travel grants and supporting 12 Meter and One Ton campaigns
The Association was inactive for a few years until 1977 or 1978 when new Board members Tom Shadden and Dave Crockett who had sought out a 501(c)(3) were elected. Dave Crockett initiated the CISA Youth Racing Seminar in 1978. The first two seminars were directed by Gary Jobson. The Crocketts administered them for five years until an Administrative Coordinator was hired, Marylee Goyan, who served for 26 years. Jerelyn Biehl followed as Administrative Director for 11 years.
The Clinic format set by Gary evolved from Snipes and Sabots with two instructors reaching a high of 105 participants. The next classes were Lasers and Laser IIs. By 1990, the classes invited were Lasers, Laser IIs, FJs and Europe dinghies, primarily boats sailed in USYRU Youth Sailing Championships. ClSA clinic attendance was one way to get vetted for the Youth Championships. In 1983 it was noted to be “the only program of its type in the country,,(so) it was decided to invite participants from all over the country.” By 1994 the seminar name morphed into the CISA ADVANCED RACING CLINIC
Dave Perry became the Head Instructor in 1981 for 9 years. He set the tone of excellence in youth training. Demand for the Clinic grew. Soon selection for the CISA Advanced Racing Clinic was by application only. Today participants should be 15 years of age or older and are selected on the basis of their experience and racing record. It is a high-level program limited to top young sailors.
The CISA Clinic became the model for the nation. It has several advantages over other U.S. clinics. Being staged at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in Long Beach, California, affords easy quick access to both bay and ocean waters. The strong backing of the CISA and ABYC Boards, the high ratio of instructors to sailors and the continuity of outstanding instructors and Administrative Directors provides an inestimable and enduring support. Instructors and directors constantly review teaching methods and responses while striving to present the best possible clinic experience.
By identifying and assisting new prospects and by continuing to support proven champions, CISA does its part to ensure that America puts forward its very best sailors at its own competitions and on the world racing circuit. Many past participants have gone on to be Youth Champions, Junior Champions, Class Champions, Olympic contenders and Olympic medalists. Many California sailors have been awarded grants to travel to national and international regattas and championships.
CISA continues to provide grants for travel, lodging, meals, insurance and/or shipping boats and equipment for national and international competition.