TASCA’s LIVING HISTORY
Founded in 1967, the American Small Craft Association, Inc. (TASCA) is an autonomous, not for profit, tax exempt 501 (c) 3, organization dedicated to the teaching of sailing and boating safety. The six founding members set these goals for the fledgling organization:
1. Promote friendship and good will among all persons interested in sailing small craft.
2. Promote standards of safety and proficiency.
3. Render a service in promoting small craft activity as recreation and sport.
TASCA is a one hundred percent volunteer organization. Our basic course is taught to members of the public in an informal, relaxed atmosphere. In the true spirit of volunteerism, TASCA instructors will devote extra time to students who have the will to learn but experience difficulty acquiring concepts or skills.
There is a reasonable charge for instruction to help defray the cost of boat maintenance, swimming tests and instructional materials. Basic Sailing graduates are awarded a certificate at an annual ceremony. Graduates are also offered membership in TASCA with its attendant educational and recreational opportunities, and social contacts.
This is the 51st year in which TASCA has taught over 4000 people basic sailing, boat racing skills and boating safety. Many of these graduates have joined TASCA and advanced their boating skills; some have become boat owners. Many TASCAns are also members of allied nautical organizations like the US Power Squadron, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, US Sailing Association, American Sailing Association, and have taken advantage of these organizations’ educational courses.
Basic sailing is the only course offered to the general public. The basic course is offered in cooperation with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Students are taught basic sailing theory and small boat handling and maneuvers. The additional courses offered to TASCA members free of charge are TASCA Instructor, Dockmaster, Skipper (an intermediate course) and Cruise Skipper (an advanced course).
Over the years, the club has owned intermediate size (19’ to 28’) boats, which the members who become certified can take out on the Long Island Sound or down the East River. Other members are welcome to join in as crew to learn the ropes. On these trips, members can learn skills, such as making a sail plan and studying charts, assessing weather, wind and tides, using the equipment, and practice sailing tactics.
At the lake, we have open sailing and organized races to enable members to improve their skills. We have also enjoyed day sails at Greenwood Lake, Barnegat Bay or L.I. Sound in other boats. Several times a year our members charter cruising sailboats for two and three day rendezvous, manning the boats with our certified members as skippers. Favorite cruising harbors are in Chesapeake Bay, Eastern Long Island Sound and Tampa Bay, FL. Our students and members have also gone on to sail in many locations around the world on their own volition.
Early in the club’s history, members recognized a need to develop an affordable program where one could progress from learning basic sailing to becoming a cruise skipper in five years or more. They worked together and proceeded to develop such a program. In addition, to designing and implementing this broad range of classroom and in-boat training, they imparted the spirit of giving something back to TASCA in the form of teaching others and also the goal of excellence.
TASCA enjoys good relations with broader communities and interest groups. Through the efforts of several members, we have participated in community boating endeavors over many years. During Op Sail ’76 and Op Sail ’86 TASCA hosted the crews of many ships from various countries at the World’s Fair Marina. For many years we have assisted the organizers of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival annually held at Meadow Lake and recently participated in the races. TASCA shares the Parks Department Boathouse with them and Row New York. We have provided sailing instruction to various groups of young people including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Our members have volunteered to assist at various Parks Department activities to clean up, raise funds, and improve the use of the Parks. TASCA has enjoyed excellent relationships with all of the Queens Borough Presidents and administrators of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, who sometimes come to our graduation ceremonies.
During TASCA’s existence, its members have formed many lasting friendships that often extend beyond sailing activities. Some partnerships have been formed to jointly buy sailboats. Groups have formed for the purpose of chartering boats in faraway places. We have enjoyed several marriages among members who met each other in TASCA, and have even seen children of members take our basic course and join the club.
We look forward to many more years of success in helping our community by teaching and enjoying safe sailing.