Mountains and Oceans: Joshua Thompson, World Adventurer and MSC Member | Modern Sailing

Mountains and Oceans: Joshua Thompson, World Adventurer and MSC Member

August 27, 2020

Joshua Thompson, an MSC student and member since December 2019, has lived in San Francisco for 25 years. He and his brother are lifelong surfers, rock climbers, alpine mountaineers, and world travelers. As enthusiastic mountain and ocean adventurers, it's not surprising that they were drawn to sailing. Joshua says of his sailing experience:

"I made a handful of blue water sailboat delivery jobs with a captain from Southern California 2005-2007, the longest passage being from Oahu to Marina Del Rey. My brother and I owned a sailboat 2007 to 2009, harbored at Moss Landing. We sailed all over Monterey Bay and up and down the coast and learned enough during those years to understand how little we knew about sailing and making passages safely with confidence. We have grown older and slightly more mature. Last year we began to discuss buying another sailboat. I decided I wanted to learn from professionals and learn how to handle boats that are rigged differently. How can you know what you prefer on board a sailboat unless you gather experience on a number of vessels? I explored my options and located Modern Sailing, a 25-minute drive from our home."

Towards his long-term goal of casting off for extended West Coast cruising, Joshua joined the club in December. After completing his ASA 101/103 combination course, he began chartering boats in our Silver Fleet immediately. Just days before the shelter-in-place order was given, Joshua earned his ASA 104 certification. 

Joshua works in the entertainment rigging field, focusing mainly on stunt rigging and wire rope/winch-driven camera systems, mostly covering live sports TV. His brother has worked for the past 20 years as the lead climbing rescue ranger in Yosemite National Park (Yosemite Search and Rescue, or YOSAR). The pandemic has made work slow, giving the brothers some time to focus seriously on those long-term sailing dreams.

When MSC reopened in early May, Joshua was one of the first members to take advantage of MSC's multi-day charter discounts with a 3-day charter on Andiamo. This summer over the course of five separate multi-day charters, the brothers spent many memorable nights anchored out in rivers and sloughs, enjoying the wildlife and the remote capsule-style camping they are accustomed to from their mountaineering background. They learned that going out during the 1/4 moon tide cycles improve the odds of getting in and out of anchorages without incident. Under sail, they have found the most challenging and memorable conditions are typically found in the Central Bay around Alcatraz. When the wind comes up, the boat really comes to life! 

Since joining the club in December, Joshua has accumulated a total of 20 charter days. In the last few months, he's also completed MSC's ASA 114, Cruising Catamaran course and the ASA 118, Sailing Endorsement clinic. He says that he's gained a great deal of knowledge from Modern's courses and clinics, but "the real nuts and bolts of the operations comes out on the water during multi-day cruises. That’s where the skipper's skill and decision-making are tested day and night until the boat is safely returned to charter base." 

Joshua and his brother intend to purchase their next boat in the near future and look forward to casting off for some long-range West Coast voyaging. In the meantime, they plan continue to chartering frequently to build their skills and experience as they try out a variety of vessels and enjoy exploring every corner of the Bay.

We at MSC are delighted to be a part of Joshua's sailing story - this is what we live for! Our thanks to Joshua for being willing to share his story with the MSC community.

Do you have a sailing goal or dream? Find out how we can help you prepare to make it happen by calling our friendly office (415) 331-8250 or send us an email.


Article by Mary Elkins on August 27, 2020

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  • Esther C

    I took ASA 101 with them recently. They have the best customer service I've ever seen! I mistyped my address when I signed up online so didn't receive the textbook. I called and the lady immediately sent me another copy! Everyone at the club is super friendly.

  • John Kipping

    The meeting room was quite adequate and the location most convenient, but the course outline and instruction were outstanding. Modern Sailing is fortunate to have such a well organized instructor in Mr. Stan Lander who teaches very well from a rich professional background. Mr. Lander was generous with his time and patiently in helping students who needed more attention or time in understanding various aspects of the curriculum.

  • Alisa Driscoll, Dual Site Member

    Here are some snaps of Our Saturday, August 20, 2022 Modern Sailing Expedition with Captain Robert Bivin, who was outstanding. Please convey photos and thanks to him. He is an outstanding individual, leader and sailing instructor. His knowledge and experience made us all feel safe and our Farallones Day Trip educational and just amazing. 


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