Our Story:

Call of the Sea is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit with the mission is to inspire young people to unleash their potential through experiential, environmental education under sail. Our vision is to empower generations of students to become environmental stewards and transform their world through sailing.

At Call of the Sea (COTS), we seek to serve people of all backgrounds. In 2014, we had over 6,000 passengers aboard, with about 5, 000 of them students, sailing from Sausalito, San Francisco, Berkeley, Alameda, Redwood City, Monterey, Los Angeles and ports in Mexico.   A special part of that mission is serving our area’s underserved and at-risk youth. Student ages ranged from five to eighteen years old. The majority of participants on day programs were 4th and 5th graders while the majority of participants on overnight programs were 8th-12th graders.

COTS was founded in 1985 by Alan Olson and a group of local sailors to provide Bay Area youth an opportunity to sail traditionally rigged vessels and to learn about the marine environment as well as maritime history -- while inspiring them to be stewards of the sea and earth.

Since then, COTS has merged with other committed groups of sailors and grown dramatically:


These mergers, especially with ETS, are part of the long-range plan to grow and extend COTS capacity with a more efficient business model.  Thus far, we have raised over $5 million dollars of the $6.2 million needed to launch the Matthew Turner in late 2016. 

The greater Bay area includes nine counties with over a million students; less than 5% of these students have been on the Bay. Today there is a growing realization that experienced based education is a powerful tool that has been overlooked. . In 2016, California will implement changes to its science standards, aligning with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which are moving teachers and students out of the classroom and into interactive learning environments.  Research has proven that students absorb information more efficiently when spending more experiential time “doing” rather than at a desk.

Both Seaward and Matthew Turner will provide invaluable out-of-the-classroom training with on-the-water sailing education. Seaward alone, now serves more students than all other sailing environmental/educational programs in the Bay Area. With the Matthew Turner, we will be able to serve Bay Area counties with three times the present capacity and on a more cost effective basis.

Engaging this large student base requires reaching out to schools, youth groups and parents to educate them about the availability of this powerful learning adventure that is so accessible. Building of Matthew Turner has generated wide interest and excitement as an on-board educational program. We will be leveraging this growing interest over the next two years to secure new program partners and expand our programs with existing partners. We have included development personnel with first-hand experience about our programs and strong industry involvement to insure both Seaward andMatthew Turner will be at, or close to, capacity by 2020.

Program objectives for students: 1) Develop curiosity and engage with the ship and bay, 2) Develop a connection with environmental and cultural aspects of the bay, 3) Gain an appreciation for maritime traditions, including teamwork, and 4) Gain new perspective and return with the sense of having completed a voyage. On all voyages, students set sail on the San Francisco Bay and participate in three rotating learning stations. This always includes our signature “Seamanship” station to ensure that students get the most out of their time onboard. Other learning stations include: Maritime History of San Francisco Bay, Navigation, Plankton Ecology, Analyzing the Environment, and Moving the Ship: Simple Machines and Sails.

  Educational Programs

      * Three hour Bay Explorations for schools (San Francisco Bay & Delta) 

       *Three and five day overnight ‘Voyage Seaward’ for teenagers

       *Camp Sea lab, California State Monterey Bay

       *Voyage Seaward for Mexican teenagers (La Paz & Puerto Vallarta)

       *Adult winter voyages in Mexico

       *Public Sails (San Francisco Bay)

New Planned Programs

      *Accredited high school and college winter semester programs

      *Longer ocean expeditionary programs

      *Special needs programs

      *Adjudicated youth programs

      *Cloud-based educational programs for schools


 Existing Major Program Partners

       Girl Scouts of Northern California                         Boys & Girls Clubs

       California Academy of Science                               Lake Merritt Boathouse

       Romberg/Tiburon Center                                       Naturebridge 

       Bay Institute                                                             OCSC Sailing

       Bay Model, US Army Corps of Engineers             Sea Scouts

       Marine Mammal Center                                         Saving Grace Adventures

       7 Tepees-At risk youth program                           SF Parks & Recreation

       Boy Scouts of America                                            Aquarium of the Bay

Our Board:

Steve Gertz- Chairman

Steve has been a corporate C-level officer for over 30 years, including serving as a senior partner in a public, global management consulting company. He has led and managed numerous early-stage, ventured-backed companies, and as an entrepreneur helped take several ventures from startup to million dollar businesses, eventually steering them through liquidity events. After his corporate career, he taught entrepreneurship at the UC Berkeley Haas School and Miami University (OH). His background combines engineering and finance, having received undergraduate and graduate degrees in Physics and Business. He has been involved in sailing and the sea for much of his life

Charles Hart- Chief Executive Director

With a background of business, boats, and non-profits, Charlie continues to expand the mission of Call of the Sea as Executive Director since 2011. He has spent most of his business time as CEO of technology companies in Silicon Valley and was named to the Micro Times 50, a roster of the fifty most influential people in the computer industry. His community activities have included: Chairman of the Board of the San Jose Symphony, CEO of the Ballet San Jose, President of the HealthStore Foundation, President of the Association for Corporate Growth of Silicon Valley, and Commodore of the St. Francis Yacht Club. In the United States Air Force, he served as a SAC Squadron Commander.  Mr. Hart earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland and the Executive Institute at Stanford University's Graduate School of Industrial Engineering.

Alan Olson- Project Director, Co-Founder

As Project Director, Alan brings his vision to the organization and 60 years of maritime experience, in construction, engineering, restoration and sailing. At age 22 he built his first boat in Minneapolis, a 40 foot catamaran, sailing her down the Mississippi and to the Caribbean. He next constructed Stone Witch, a 70’ brigantine.  From 1977 on, he sailed Stone Witch over 40,000 miles, operating educational sailing programs for youth and adults along with public charters on SF Bay and on Pacific Ocean expeditions.   Stone Witch was the flag ship for Greenpeace and involved in environmental missions along the California Coast.  In the 1990’s Alan restored a 1929, 54ft wooden staysail schooner to use in youth educational programs with Call of the Sea and on educational expeditions with adults.  In 1992 they set sail on a one year 15,000 mile Pacific Rim Voyage through Hawaii and Pacific Islands entering Shanghai as the first American yacht to visit in fifty years. After three months cruising Japan they set out for Alaska returning along the coast to San Francisco. Alan also spent five years in a leadership and design position at a Buddhists monastery building elaborate temples and sculpting sacred art

Steve Woodside- Secretary

Attorney Marin County

Jim Simpson- Treasurer

Bank Executive

Ken Neal-Co Founder

Ken Neal is currently Director of Grid Operations for NaturEner USA, an SF-based wind energy company. Previously Ken operated Call of the Sea in the roll of Executive Director and is the co-founder of Call of the Sea. He served during the startup years with Seaward and built today's program base (2004-2010). Ken is also a former Marine Superintendent for Sea Education Association (SEA) in Woods Hole, MA  2001-2004 and has been captain of various sailing ships, including Robert C Seamans, Corwith Cramer, Westward, Spirit of Massachusetts, Californian, & Harvey Gamage.

Terry Causey

Terry Causey is a lifelong ocean-cruising sailor and a patron of maritime causes and projects from Hawaii (where he lived for more than half his life) to California, where he now divides his time between Sausalito and Newport Beach. He holds his captains license endorsed for sailing all oceans. He has navigated throughout the Pacific’s, including the Hawaiian Islands, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, and the Cook, Solomon, and Line Islands. Terry is a successful real estate developer and he continues to be a significant benefactor to the Call of the Sea. He believes in teaching young people stewardship of the oceans and instilling in them mindfulness of their environment and compassion for each other.

Angie Lackey

Angie Lackey- Angie found her call of the sea when she moved to San Francisco for a position in the just burgeoning biotechnology industry. She has been a racer on boats from 27-65 feet, a cruiser- both locally and internationally, and teacher of sailing skills to women here in the Bay Area for decades. She has held numerous volunteer positions within the sailing community, including Chair of the Race Council and the Race Development Committee for The San Francisco Yacht Club. Angie is one of the founding Board Members of Educational TallShip and continues on as Secretary of Call of the Sea. When she is not organizing an international regatta, developing our social media plan, or making lunch for the TallShip crew, she is developing new market applications in the field of next-generation sequencing. Angie holds a BA degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina.

Dave MacGregor MD

 Dave MacGregor is a dermatologist in private practice in San Francisco.  He grew up in the Bay Area and attended UC Berkeley.  He is an avid sailor and boater and has a deep fascination with and appreciation for maritime history and tradition. He enjoys teaching young physicians but he also has a passion for promoting educational opportunities for everyone in our community of the San Francisco Bay Area

Christanne (Chris) J. Gallagher

Chris is the Manager at the Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito, CA.  The Bay Model Visitor Center (BMVC) is a regional visitor for the Corps and serves over 150,000 visitors a year. The BMVC is a fully accessible educational center, which makes possible the viewing of a scientific tool: a working hydraulic model of the San Francisco Bay and San Joaquin Delta system. Chris holds a degree in Forestry from Unity College in Maine and a B.A. degree in Environmental Education from Dominican University in San Rafael. Chris is active in the Sausalito community having started the Volunteers in Public Safety (VIPS) in 2003 assisting both Fire & Police Depts.  She also serves on the Sausalito Chamber of Commerce Board and was President in 2010.Prior to joining the Corps Chris worked for the National Park Service at  Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) in the Marin Headlands performing a resource management and interpretation duties.  She also spent a short time on Alcatraz working as a ranger.  She then worked for the US Forest Service in their Regional Information and Personnel Offices.  

Chris Kieliger

Chris Kieliger joined the board in 2008, he currently serves on both the education and governance committees having previously served as Treasurer and on the vessel committee.  Working with the San Francisco maritime community is in his blood.  Both his great grandfather and grandfather sailed together on the STAR OF ALASKA (aka BALCLUTHA) for multiple seasons, while his father had an early and bruising career loading and unloading ferries.  Chris took a decidedly different path when he attended the University of San Francisco School of Law, and was the Managing Editor for its Maritime Law Journal.  Now, with nearly fifteen years of practicing maritime law, he has extensive experience in handling maritime casualty matters including collisions, allisions, salvage, maritime personal injury and pollution matters.  He specializes in emergency responses to a wide range of maritime incidents and has written the practice and procedure guide for his firm.

Sally Honey

Sally Lindsay Honey campaigned 5-0-5 dinghies for 20 years after college, then raced and cruised her Cal 40 with husband, Stan Honey, until the present. After a short career in anthropology research at Harvard, Sally turned to sail making in Marblehead, MA and Connecticut. Sally started her own sail loft/industrial sewing business, which operated in Palo Alto for 28 years. She has raced her Cal 40, double-handed and fully-crewed, locally and to/from Hawaii, has raced in the Bermuda and Chicago-Mackinaw Island races, 5 months living aboard a 45-foot sailboat in Antigua, and a summer crewing on a traditional Alden schooner in St Thomas. Sally has twice been named U. S. Yachtswoman of the Year, has served on multiple yacht club boards and sailing safety review panels, been an on-the-water volunteer for the America’s Cup, and edited a Safety At Sea Handbook for US Sailing.

Russ Hamel

Born and raised in Boston MA and a resident of San Rafael for over 25 years, Russ serves as the Deputy Director of Roots of Peace, an international NGO focusing on land mine removal and land reclamation projects internationally.   Prior to his tenure at Roots of Peace, Russ served as a non-profit executive, an aid in the United States House of Representatives, and as a legislative analyst at the law firm of Hill & Barlow in Boston MA after graduating from Boston College.In 2005, he completed his Master 100 Ton, Near Coastal, with sail and tow endorsements, as well as special radar unlimited certification from the Maritime Institute.    He is an avid boater and sailor with over 50 years of experience whose love for the sea and ships comes from three generations of accomplished sailors and seaman in and around the Massachusetts Bay Area.

Graham Green- Chairman Emeritus

Carter Collins- Board Member Emeritus