Siebel Sailors Program



The Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation was founded in 1996 to support projects and organizations that work to improve the quality of life, environment, and education of its community members.  In 2019, they partnered with US Sailing to launch the Siebel Sailors Program, with the goal of increasing opportunity and promoting diversity in the sport of sailing.


US Sailing and its partner Siebel Centers have worked to provide a sailing experience formed by the latest positive youth development and youth sports models.  Starting with a standardized foundation of skills in the fast, fun RS Feva (two-person dinghy), coaches focus on the whole sailor and youth learn skills needed to play for life by exploring sailing in their communities and beyond.

The program is being rolled out nationally and organized into “Regions”, each composed of a “Primary Center” and “Supporting Centers.”  All centers get six new RS Fevas and the support of a US Sailing Siebel Coach for three years.  Each region also receives a Zodiac RIB powerboat for the coach to use.  After three years, all equipment remains with the sailing centers.


We are so excited to welcome you to our new sailing program! We are focused on getting middle school aged students out on the water in a safe and fun way. The program looks different for each Center: some have summer camp options while others want you to come sail after school. Take a look at the Centers list below to find the program closest to you!

Beginners are very welcome and while we want you to be comfortable with our water environment, you will wear a life jacket the entire time. We also have recommendations for swim lessons if you want to grow your water comfort level. Sailing is much more than physical activity: it’s reaching balance with the environment; it’s the ability to analyze; and its growth. Physical activity has health benefits, of course, but it also contributes enormously to emotional development and to the rise of fundamental core values for life.

As new sailors and parents (or new to the program), you probably have lots of questions. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions below.

  1. Do I need to know how to swim?

    1. Instructors will perform a swim check of each student in their class and they will be wearing life jackets the whole time. Swimming speed and proficiency are not being tested; rather, instructors are looking at the students’ comfort in the water.
    2. If you do not feel comfortable in the water, we are happy to recommend some of our partner organizations who can provide swim lessons.
  2. How do I know if I will be safe?

    1. At US Sailing we place tremendous importance on safety. We are constantly taking measures to impress upon our students that a safe sailor is a good sailor. Below is a partial list of our safety regulations:
      1. Life jackets must always be worn while on the dock and in boats.
      2. Each instructor is Level 1 Certified and is both CPR and first aid certified.
      3. A head instructor is always on duty to supervise operations.
      4. A safety boat accompanies all classes.
      5. All safety boats are equipped with VHF radios for fast communication with each other, the boathouse, and, if necessary, the Harbor Master and U.S. Coast Guard.
  3. What will I be learning about?

    1. You’ll get to learn about the parts of the boat, how to read the wind, and use the sails to catch the wind. Our goal is to teach you to comfortably sail the boat with a friend!
  4. Do I need my own life jacket?

    1. While wearing a life jacket is always mandatory on the docks, gangways and boats, the Siebel Sailors Program will provide life jackets to all students during their classes.
  5. Can I bring a friend to sailing?

    1. We’d love for you to get your friends and family members involved. Check with your coach to see when you have an open sailing day when guests can come down and go sailing with you.
  6. What do I need to bring/wear?

    1. Clothing that is appropriate for the season you’re sailing in:
    2. Summer: closed toed or very stable sandal shoes, non-cotton clothing
    3. Fall/Spring: warm clothes that are not cotton (water resistant is ideal), closed-toed shoes required, layers are helpful.
    4. Plenty of water in a reusable/refillable bottle
    5. Sunscreen! (though we might have a little extra to share if you forget)
    6. A hat and/or sunglasses
    7. A warm layer like a fleece or waterproof jacket (sometimes it’s cold on the water, even in summer!)
    8. A complete change of clothes (just in case you get a little wet)
    9. Positive attitude and a growth mindset!
  7. What happens when the weather is too bad to sail?

    1. We monitor the weather very closely. We only take the sailors on the water if conditions are safe for their boats and level of experience. If the weather doesn’t allow, we combine classroom instruction and fun off-the-water activities to complete the day.

What is an average day of programming look like?

The day starts with the Coach giving a group briefing with the schedule and an on-land lesson and demonstration. Students then prepare to go out on the water by setting up the boats and sails. Everyone will launch their boats and return to the sailing center together! While on the water, students will practice sailing skills through drills and activities managed by the Coach on a small, inflatable motorboat. As the day comes to an end, students will tidy the boats up for sailing the next day. The Coach will lead a group debrief with positive feedback and any announcements for the next class.

What happens if it’s not a good sailing day?

On rare occasions, extreme heat, lack of wind or bad weather may keep us from sailing. In these instances, we work creatively and actively to keep your child engaged and focused on fun and sailing development on land and in the shade.

When thunder and lightning are present, we will do activities indoors.

Is your program’s emphasis on racing skills or recreation?

We are committed to safety, fun, and developing a lifelong love of sailing for your child. Our Coaches are focused on creating lifetime memories first, and we believe your child should be a kid! We are committed to making sailing enjoyable for your child and will regularly check in with their preferences. The Coaches are prepared with lesson plans for both learning and recreation!

Does my child need to know how to swim?

No! The Siebel Sailors Program policy always requires students to wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket both near and in the water. We do want your child to feel comfortable around the water and not panic if they are in it.

If this is a concern, we will provide creative solutions using local swim trainers and facilities to grow their water comfort level. We’re happy to provide an opportunity for them to learn to swim with our partner organizations if they are interested.

What kind of boat will my child be sailing?

Your child will be sailing a 12-foot dinghy called an RS Feva XL. The two-person boat is almost five feet wide and weighs 140 pounds. This stable structure steers easily and has three sails (jib, main and spinnaker) to keep the boat moving in all conditions.

In addition to the RS Feva XL, you child will have access to the various boats at their sailing center!

Are your Coaches certified?

Yes! Our Siebel Sailors Program Regional Coaches are all U.S. Sailing Small Boat Instructor Certified and have up to date credentials for CPR, first aid and AED.

Who are the volunteers and Coach assistants?

Anyone working directly with your child in the Siebel Sailors Program will have completed a background check, SafeSport training and a US Sailing instruction program.

When and where will programming occur?

Each Siebel Sailors Program sailing center will have unique start dates, schedules and locations! Please visit the Siebel Sailors Program website to find out specific information for the Center that is closest to you!

What forms are required?

Each Siebel Sailors Program sailing center will have unique registration, health information and waiver forms. Please visit the website for your Regional Site for specific rules, policies and procedures.

What is the cost?

Each Siebel Sailors Program sailing center will have unique costs associated, depending on the duration and length of sailing classes offered. Please visit the website for your Regional Site for specific cost information.

Are scholarships offered?

Each Siebel Sailors Program sailing center will have unique scholarship policies. Please visit the website for your Regional Site for specific information. We DO NOT want cost to be a barrier to your participation, so please ask for assistance!

What kind of safety instruction do you provide?

The Coaches will provide students instruction on each center’s Emergency Action Policies on the first day of class, including bad weather, towing and capsizing.

Additionally, the Siebel Sailors Program always requires students to wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket both near and in the water.

Are there motorized safety boats?

Yes! Each Coach will have a small, inflatable motorboat for safety patrolling while students are on the water sailing. Coaches will always be prepared by wearing a life jacket, whistle, working VHF radio, cell phone, and supplies for on-the-water problem solving. They have been highly trained to address issues on the water.

What equipment is provided?

  • Life jackets of various sizes
  • Water and other fluids for drinking
  • Each Siebel Sailors Program sailing center will have unique equipment provided based on the wind and water conditions of the Region.

What should my child bring?

  • Non-marking, closed-toed shoes
  • A reusable water bottle
  • A hat or visor (highly recommended)
  • Sunglasses (optional) with a safety strap
  • High SPF sunscreen to self-apply
  • A change of clothes (just in case!). Clothes should be water resistant if possible!
  • A backpack/bookbag to put the above-noted items in

What should my child NOT BRING?

  • Electronics (including mobile phones, games, iPods, iPads, Kindles, tablets, etc.)
  • Valuables that could be damaged by water or lost
  • Open-toed shoes
  • Cotton clothes that can get wet and make your child cold in cooler weather

How do I tell you if we are late, need to reschedule or cancel?

Please contact the Coach directly with attendance issues.


The Siebel Sailors Program is currently represented in five regions across the United States.  Zoom into our map to check out our partner centers in each region! Click on the names to visit their website and sign up for the Siebel Sailors Program at that location.


Sailing Centers choose how they will implement the Siebel Sailors Program at their own centers—you can find Siebel Sailors learning everything from the basics through advanced racing.  What makes a Siebel Sailors Program the same in San Francisco as it is in Baltimore as it is in Chicago is the focus on coaching the whole sailor.

The Program’s five core values – RESPECT, EFFORT, INCLUSIVENESS, STUDENT VOICE and FUN – manifest each day through Habits of Excellence, actions that sailors take to demonstrate those values.  Informed by the latest research in positive youth development and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s American Development Model, the Siebel Sailors Program helps youth set up a growth mindset for lifelong play and problem-solving beyond sports.

Siebel Program Diagram

  1. Fun: We are free to find our own enjoyment and play within a supportive community.
  2. Effort: We do our best every day.
  3. Respect: We grow appreciation and responsibility for ourselves, our team, and the sailing environment.
  4. Student Voice: We speak up and collaborate with each other to shape our own learning and sailing experiences.
  5. Sailing is for Everyone: We support an inclusive community with diverse activities that encourage everyone to participate.

All Siebel Sailors Programs teach dinghy skills in the RS Feva, an innovative, performance two-person dinghy.  Due to its modern planning design and asymmetrical spinnaker, it is designed to promote more of the skills that sailors need to continue sailing in other boats and other disciplines.

Ultimately, the Siebel Sailors Program aims to attract new youth to the sport and help them participate longer by stressing the value of positive coaching and celebrating the diversity of sailing and the people who participate.


While the five Regions, each with one Primary Center and multiple Supporting Centers, have been identified for Programming in 2020, US Sailing is hopeful to expanding our national Siebel Program presence. We are actively fundraising to grow the program beyond 2020. If you are interested in becoming a Center, we encourage you to submit an application to demonstrate interest and potential growth. We will keep the application live and you will not have to resubmit an application if we are able to reopen another selection process for Centers.

You can find the application here