Observations from the Siebel Sailors Program at Downtown Sailing Center – Baltimore
By Janel Zarkowsky, Siebel Sailors Coach
This fall season was busy for the newly selected centers within the three regions of the Siebel Sailors Program. Each center accepted delivery of new RS Feva XL sailboats, rearranged their dock space to showcase the new fleet, and fit a Demo Day event into their already packed schedules! Luckily, the Mid-Atlantic region was blessed with ideal conditions that made each Demo Day a delight.
The Downtown Sailing Center (DSC) hosted not just one, but two Demo Days over a perfect fall weekend in Baltimore, Md. Weeks of planning led up to the Friday and Sunday events. Everyone was invited, from current DSC members who have only sailed keel boats, to students that grew up in the program who are now sailing instructors, to friends of friends who have never been on a boat before, and even DSC board members!
The new fleet of RS Fevas were meticulously rigged, checked, and modified to be easily used by anyone looking to step aboard. The stage was set with a robust food and drink spread, pirate-themed photo booth with takeaway Polaroids, and a Feva rigged on land to sit in or to speed hoist the neon spinnaker.
Participants young and old sailed the entire time, either until the sun went down on Friday or until the snacks were gone on Sunday. It was an easy walk to the end of the dock to jump onboard with an instructor or venture out by yourself! Once back under the pavilion onshore, Ledo’s Pizza was hot and waiting! Timid smiles and nervous comments quickly became cries of excitement and unstoppable laughter. The group started to move as one mass; moving from sailing, to snacks, to pizza, to pictures, to Siebel Sailors t-shirts, and back to sailing again!
The Mid-Atlantic is historically a leading region in the field of incorporating diverse and inclusive sailing along the East Coast. The Downtown Sailing Center is one such center dedicated to connecting Baltimore’s communities to the Patapsco River since 1994. DSC is in the heart of Baltimore Inner Harbor, adjacent to the Baltimore Museum of Industry, and within easy walking distance from the Downtown, Federal Hill, South Baltimore, Riverside, and Locust Point neighborhoods. The Siebel Sailors Program is elated to partner with the DSC on providing quality educational and life enriching programs that promote self-esteem and teamwork through the joy of sailing.
A tremendous thank you to everyone who helped make the weekend a reality: Stuart Proctor, John O’Riordan, Brittany Wood, Hannah Dickmyer, and all of the DSC volunteers.