Changes In Leadership – Leaving the Downtown Sailing Center

December 9, 2011

For Immediate Release
December 9, 2011
Contact: Kristen Berry

The Downtown Sailing Center Board of Directors met on December 7, 2011.  It was announced that Mr. Kristen Berry has resigned as Executive Director, effective no later than April 30, 2012.

“As I step down as the executive director to pursue my personal career goals I look forward to remaining involved in the accessible, outreach and education programs of the Downtown Sailing Center.” Until April 2012, Berry will continue to serve as the executive director, overseeing the daily operations of the Downtown Sailing Center and helping guide the facility and staff through the transition to new leadership. Berry became executive director in April of 2010.

In accepting his resignation, Downtown Sailing Center President Steve Smith said, “Kristen has set the Downtown Sailing Center on the right course for the future. Under his leadership and with his direction, we have made significant improvements to the facility, increased the quality of outreach and accessible sailing programs, and aggressively addressed longstanding administrative challenges.”

“We sincerely thank KB for his unquestioned dedication to the Downtown Sailing Center, which is once again demonstrated in his willingness to assist in the search for a new executive director and to afterward remain involved in our education and outreach programs,” Smith said.

The Downtown Sailing Center provides quality education and life enriching programs that promote self-esteem and teamwork through the joy of sailing. The Downtown Sailing Center is committed to promoting an environment of inclusiveness and accessibility, especially to youth, persons with disabilities, and those with limited opportunity.


The Power of a Good Duck

April 23, 2011

Last week, while sailing in the first BCYA Tuesday Night Series race of the season I was reminded of the power of a good and smart duck.  For those of you who are thinking about feathered quackers, a duck on the race course is when one boat sails behind (astern) of another.  When two boats come together and would collide if one or both didn’t alter course, then the right of way rules kick in and one boat will often “duck” behind the other.

I am fond of saying that when two boats on opposite tacks meet on the race course — one of them is headed the wrong way.  Races are generally won by getting to a strategic advantage on the race course (more wind velocity, better current, advantageous wind shift, etc.) first and taking advantage of it.  Get to the strategic advantage (you’ll often hear me refer to this as the big money) first and you’ll be hard to beat.  Because there is usually only one “big money” for any given segment of the race (i.e. the moment when two boats on opposite tacks are about to cross each other) then one of the boats MUST be headed the wrong way.

Tuesday night was a great example of this.  We were sailing in a light (4-8kts) westerly breeze that was filling into the racing area after the passage of a small storm cell.  Onboard, we had discussed how we felt there were likely right shifts, if not a persistent right shift coming with the new wind.  With that in mind we were pretty sure, the right side of the race course would be “big money.”  But the starting gun went off in less than 5kts of wind (the water was like glass because most of the new wind was still aloft) and we were midway down the line, with two of our competitors on our windward hip.

In the super light stuff – nobody likes to tack.  It costs too much (said in the tone of the “the rents too damn high!” guy.)  Moreover we were headed for pressure and were slightly headed, making the eventual cross that much easier assuming they got the same left hand shift (reminder – consolidate on THEIR loss not yours.)  All the boats in the scenario were eventually headed and the cross would have been easily make able, but after :30 seconds of analysis of pressure vs shift vs staying fast vs getting to the big money the boats inside of us had found the right hand shift, gained back due to being right of us in a right handed shift and now were an issue.  We didn’t have the cross.

This can be one of toughest moments on a race course.  Conceding to the other boats that they are ahead in order to sail towards what you believe is the “big money.”  But the call was made to tack, and upon coming to course and hitting our target boat speed it was clear that we wouldn’t cross in front.  We would need to duck.

There are good ducks and bad ducks from a boathandling standing point.  Good ducks don’t cost much, and often gain, but bad ducks can be deadly.  Setting the boat up for a good duck starts with anticipation.  When sailing upwind, a small alteration of you angle will have you footing to your target rather than needing the bear off significantly – which inevitably slows the boat down and costs boat lengths!  In our case, a quick weight shift to windward, a big ease on the mainsheet and finally a burp on the jib kept the underwater foils working, kept consistent flow across the sails, and allowed us to head down without needing to deflect the brake… er, I mean the rudder, much at all.

So now we are sailing into a header.  The boats that we’ve ducked are looking more and more lifted as we are more and more headed.  After some discussion about leverage (the lateral distance between two boats) we decided to hedge our bet a bit, and tack back to starboard.  Less than a minute later, our competition that had continued to sail to the left on the lifted tack also tacked, and we quietly crossed them by about 15 or 20 boat lengths.  WHEW!

My personal take away from this is something that I’ve been reminded of hundreds of times – almost ALWAYS head towards the strategic advantage – the big money – even if it means ducking a few boats.  Sail to your strategy not to the other boats and you will be more successful.

Big News For Gale Force Sailing – A Very Personal Note

May 24, 2010


I am happy to announce that there are a few changes coming for Gale Force Sailing.  In April I accepted the position of Executive Director with the Downtown Sailing Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Downtown sailing center is an incredible organization that is doing some very big things.  The Downtown Sailing Center is a volunteer-driven organization that instills confidence, teamwork and a sense of community through a range of educational and recreational sailing programs.  The DSC is working to provide access to the freedom of sailing to everyone in the greater Baltimore area, especially those with disabilities or limited income.  It is AWESOME!  We do work with at risk kids, people with disabilities and individuals who long for the water, but are challenged by income.  I get to help everyone go sailing!  What could be better than that?

The DSC represents, for me, a culmination of all the things I have been doing professionally for the past 10 years.  There is sailing, educating, advocating, motivating, managing, organizing, fundraising, strategic planning, communicating and a dozen other gerunds to describe what I view as a dream job.  I am loving it.

What the DSC represents to Gale Force Sailing and our clients is opportunity, clarity and stability.  Rather than scrambling to connect all the dots I will be free to pursue the best work and apply my best efforts – and not have to worry nearly as much about keeping the lights on at home.  Whew!

It also means my weekends are shot, from now until forever, but that’s OK – because I love what I am doing.  I know I am going to be busy juggling both responsibilities – but there is synergy between them.  And personally my coaching work is now more important than ever.  At my core I am an educator, and in order to continue developing professionally I must, and will, continue coaching.  In fact, I joked with someone the other day, that I wasn’t jumping ship – I was sailing a catamaran.  That was probably a bit of a stretch, but I think you get the idea.

So give me a call and let’s talk about your next program as well as my new adventure!

Thank you -


ps- Here is what the DSC Board President, Steve Smith, was kind enough to say about me coming onboard with the DSC.

Contact:    Steve Smith                        April 19, 2010
President, Board of Directors
410-667-0800 (w)
410-456-1591 (cell)

The Downtown Sailing Center Appoints Kristen Berry to Serve as Executive Director

April 19, 2010, Baltimore, MD–The Board of Directors of the Downtown Sailing Center announced today the appointment of Kristen A. Berry as its Executive Director.

Mr. Berry is a nationally respected sailor, sailing coach and environmentalist, who facilitates teambuilding through sailing,  and advocates for the protection of marine ecosystems.  Berry has recently been honored as National Sailor of the Week by US Sailing, the national governing body of sailing, and selected by GQ Magazine’s Gentlemen Fund as its 2009 Conservation Pillar Honoree.  Having sailed since childhood in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Berry has always been committed to quality sailing education and environmental awareness, serving as president of BirdPAC, a political action committee dedicated to bird conservation, director of communications and grassroots manager for The National Audubon Society, sailing coach and advisor for the National Maritime Heritage Foundation, and sailing instructor trainer for the United States Naval Academy.  Berry also owns Gale Force Sailing, an Annapolis based organization that provides international coaching, instruction, innovative team building and leadership development programs.  

According to Board President Stephen Smith, “Kristen Berry is held in very high regard by both sailors and environmentalists, is an outstanding educator, team builder and leader, and energizes everyone with whom he  works. We believe that in addition to having the passion and vision to lead our award winning organization, Kristen also has that special quality of great educators to motivate our large volunteer base and to connect with and excite the great number of at-risk youth and persons with disabilities we are so honored to serve.”

The Downtown Sailing Center is a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit community based sailing organization that provides affordable and accessible sailing and educational programs to all persons across the spectrum, regardless of age, income, ability or disability.  The Center’s 45 boat fleet and recently completed marina, located on the south harbor waterfront at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, provide a platform for a wide range of programs including a summer camp, disabled sailing, adult education, after work racing and sailing instructor training. The Center annually serves over 2,000 individuals from the Baltimore – Washington region and Pennsylvania.



May 17, 2010

Sixteen-year-old Jessica Watson has spent the past seven months in a self-imposed solitary confinement of sorts. For 210 days, the avid sailor skippered her 34-foot yacht, the Pink Lady, around the world, a feat few others, let alone teenagers, have accomplished.

But on Saturday afternoon, her solo trip ended in dramatic fashion as tens of thousands of cheering spectators and hundreds of boats turned out to welcome her home to Australia’s Sydney Harbor. “I haven’t seen a person for almost seven months and suddenly there’s just people everywhere — you know, faces, so much color, so much noise, so much everything,” she told a news conference. “All I’ve seen for so long is empty waves, so it was amazing and very overwhelming. At the same time, I achieved what I set out to.”

That achievement — her team claims she’s the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop and unassisted around the world — is not without controversy. A storm over whether she’d bested Jesse Martin, a fellow Australian recognized in 1999 as the youngest to make the voyage at 18, came to a head on sailing news websites last week, centering not on her age — nor on whether she circumnavigated the globe — but on whether she had sailed far enough.

Sailing websites such as Sail-World.com reported last week that Watson’s route wasn’t long enough orthodromically — that is, by measuring the shortest distance from point to point on a route — to hit 21,600 nautical miles, the length of the equator. Watson’s team has said she had sailed about 23,000 nautical miles, though it hasn’t claimed the distance is orthodromic. Critics have said her logged distance includes zig-zags that yachts inevitably make, and those zig-zags do not count for orthodromic distance.

The World Sailing Speed Record Council, which certified in 1999 that Martin was the youngest to make the trip, mandates 21,600 orthodromic nautical miles for round-the-world courses. Watson’s team has responded that it wasn’t aiming for any WSSRC record, because the council has stopped recognizing the “youngest” category. — CNN

Virgin Island Weather

March 30, 2010

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