Harken Derm

New initiative to increase opportunity and diversity

Published on April 22nd, 2019

A new program organized by US Sailing is soon to launch in the USA to support innovation and provide resources to community sailing in five major markets around the country.

Called the Siebel Sailors Program, it is a landmark community sailing initiative made possible by a ground-breaking donation from the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation, led by successful tech industry businessman, sailor, and philanthropist, Tom Siebel.

The Program’s purpose is to increase opportunity and diversity in the sport of sailing by providing resources and support to youth sailors at public access sailing centers across the country. The Siebel Sailors Program will support an important US Sailing objective of providing increased access to sailing for youth, regardless of socio-economic background.

US Sailing, through the Siebel Sailors Program, will provide fleets of sail boats, equipment, and expert coaching at community sailing centers initially in five regions across the country. The Program will significantly enhance community sailing center programming, advanced skill development, and competitive opportunities for young sailors.

“US Sailing is thrilled about the generous donation from Tom and Stacey Siebel and we are excited to be launching this program that is a game-changer for community sailing as we engage with a growing audience of youth sailors,” said Jack Gierhart, Chief Executive Officer of US Sailing.

“The Siebel Sailors Program allows US Sailing to increase diversity in the sport and work more closely with community sailing centers around the country to offer opportunities for youth who are looking to advance their skills and learn from the top coaches.”

Throughout 2019 and 2020, US Sailing will select qualified community sailing centers to establish five regional Siebel Sailing Networks and partner with US Sailing in the implementation of the Siebel Sailors Program. Each Network will include four community sailing centers: one Primary Siebel Center and three Supporting Centers.

Center selection will be determined based on several criteria, including an established infrastructure for learning, safe facilities, and equipment for youth, and a record of working with underserved youth populations.

In total, twenty such centers are to be established across the US in 2019 and 2020 in cooperation with local communities. On average, each center will be provided a fleet of sailboats and associated supervision and equipment.

Siebel Sailors will have access to a range of sailing experiences and boat types, with the RS Feva XL as the primary boat. The RS Feva XL, manufactured by RS Sailing, is one of the fastest growing doublehanded sailboat classes in the world. With a modern sail plan and controls, and a durable, performance focused hull, the RS Feva is an ideal training platform for the Siebel Sailors Program.

A US Sailing provided Siebel Coach will lead each Network, providing instruction and mentoring to participating sailors. The Siebel Coaches will instill a strong affinity for sailing in these young sailors, build advanced skills and mentor them at local, regional and national regattas.

These coaches will also be a driving force in advising young sailors on how to take advantage of opportunities for experiences outside of competition, including learning other sailing disciplines, exploring careers in the marine industry, and serving in leadership roles at sailing organizations.

As US Sailing staff members, another key goal for these Siebel Coaches will be to assist youth sailing organizations in their regions to implement best practices and grow sailing participation, including providing advanced training for instructors, coaches, and sailors throughout the region.

“Tom challenged US Sailing to think differently about how we work together with community organizations across America to be uniquely impactful to youth sailors and their communities,” said Gierhart. “We are confident this program will fulfill those objectives and change the landscape of sailing in the U.S.”

Community sailing centers around the country will serve as natural and popular access points to sailing, especially beginner programs in collaboration with after-school programs and other community youth groups.

Currently, there is little connection between the accessible sailing provided at many of these centers and the advanced coaching and racing opportunities offered by yacht clubs and private racing teams.

Competitive sailing is an important gateway to the wider sport where young sailors can further their engagement at the regional and national level and develop their skills as lifelong sailors in any discipline.

Learn more about the Siebel Sailors Program at www.siebelsailors.org.

Source: US Sailing

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