US Sailing Demonstrates Reach Program at Opti National Championships

CYC Reach kids_rls

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. (July 29, 2014) – It was not an unusual site to see the California Yacht Club (CYC) buzzing with 250 Opti sailors, ages 10 to 15, last week at the USODA National Championships. What was unusual was that these kids were having a blast learning about science, technology, engineering and math after completing the day’s racing last Friday, July 25. In conjunction with US Sailing Center Long Beach and Life Sail, US Sailing’s Reach program hosted “Sailing through STEM Night” for these participating kids and their parents.

US Sailing’s hands-on demonstration of their innovative Reach program was a hit with both the participating youth and their parents. Using the power of sailing to foster interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects, US Sailing set up stations along CYC’s bow-shaped front lawn. Opti sailors jumped right in to the festivities – learning geometry by cutting model sails, engineering as they pulled on the block-and-tackle arrays, physics with their own tinfoil boat creations and underwater exploration with custom made robots. Life Sail invited 10 Reach students from at risk areas in the Los Angeles area and several students from the Hawthorne Math and Science Academy to teach the participants the skills they had gained through the Reach program.

Misty Romero’s daughter Tenaya raced at Opti Nationals and participated in the STEM event. “I felt that the STEM program was a great addition to the USODA Nationals. STEM is a part of every day applications. I think that it opens children’s minds that science, technology, engineering and math is part of their everyday living. Never did I consider all of the STEM applications involved in both sailing and the designing of sails and boats until I was exposed to the Reach Program.”Sailing through STEM Night - Life Sail_euss

Middle school teachers and after-school programs around the country are partnering with community sailing centers to implement the US Sailing Reach program. After only three years, the pilot program has been an overwhelming success with over 300 sailing organizations in six different countries and implementing the program to 10,000 kids – 50% of whom are considered “at-risk” youths. This remarkable success is just the beginning. With plans to expand the program to high school aged kids, Reach teaches common core principles through sailing as an exciting and creative platform for learning and becoming more proficient in these critical subject areas.

“Sailing through STEM Night” is a great opportunity to get kids who are likely to spend a lifetime involved in boat-related activities excited about marine science, conservation, engineering, and design. The stations featured local colleges, outreach organizations, sailing programs implementing STEM programing in the area, and marine research organizations. Some of the topics included ocean acidification, plastics in water column, weather data, and green energy.CYC Kilroy_rls

Jim and Nelly Kilroy initiated the Reach program in 2012 through a three-year grant to US Sailing through their foundation, The John B. and Nelly Llanos Kilroy Foundation.  The program is now seeking contributions to sustain and build upon the program. Learn more about Reach at

The participating area organizations included, Heal the Bay, Algalita Marine Research Institute, Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, Loyola Marymount University, American Meteorological Society, and Santa Monica High Schools Team Marine .

About US Sailing
The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. For more information, please visit

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jake Fish, US Sailing Communications Manager,