Log in

Siebel Sailors Program Frequently Asked Questions

What boat will my child be getting in for this program?

Participants will learn how to sail in RS Fevas, which are cap-sizable boats, meaning that these boats do flip over. For the start of the program, participants will practice capsizing in these boats in a local recreational pool. All capsizing practices and swim checks (with life jackets) will be done in a pool. While doing these practices, all participants will be wearing life jackets. Participants will also have access to our Access Dinghies, J/22s and Sonars.

What happens if my child falls in the water?

Your child will get back to their boat if possible; will then be approached by a safety boat; transfer over to the safety boat; be hosed off with a portable shower; and then return to sailing if it is safe to do so. If the sailor is unable to re-board their boat, the safety boat will approach the in-water-sailor, make contact with the in-water-sailor near the front of the boat with the boat at minimum control speed, and then the engine will be turned off so the sailor can board the safety boat or be hauled aboard. Depending on the water quality and the sailor’s excitement level, the youth may return to sailing or sit out the remainder of the afternoon. 

Does my child need to know how to swim?

Your child does not need to know how to swim but swimming development will be part of the Siebel Program at The Downtown Sailing Center during the winter months. We do want our sailors to develop comfort in and around the water. Sailors are required to wear PFDs from the moment they step onto the docks until they are back on land. Swimming benchmarks will be established alongside the program course.

Is Baltimore Harbor safe to swim in?

The waters of the Northwest and Middle Branches of the Patapsco River are often not safe to swim in. Due to continuing sewage overflows, the water quality is often not safe for swimming. The sad reality is that much of the Chesapeake Bay is often not safe to swim in, with Baltimore City being one of the worst offenders of storm-water run-off and waste water overflows. Special precautions will be taken for the Siebel Sailors Program, including the use of other boats when the water quality is unacceptable and regular consultation with Blue Water Baltimore’s Waterkeepers.

When will practice occur?

Practice will occur on TUESDAY afternoons from around 4:00 PM to 7:00PM at The DSC. 

What will practices look like in the Spring and Fall when it is cold outside?

For cold weather, practices can be held inside a classroom to review knowledge in a chalk talk or by reviewing video; or at a recreational pool with water comfort lessons and capsize practice while wearing a life jacket; or on our non-capsizable boats in the harbor like Access Dinghies, J 22s, and Sonars. The DSC wants to create a space where children are prepared for capsizing, can build up swimming skills, learn about safety procedures, and learn the proper way to get back in the boats. Life jackets will be worn at all times on our docks and by or near any body of water.

Who will be coaching my child?  

Downtown Sailing Center has partnered with Janel Zarkowsky, US Sailing’s Mid-Atlantic Region Coach. She will be coaching all Siebel Sailors in the Mid-Atlantic region while providing opportunities to race against other Siebel Sailors. She will be doing lessons in a classroom setting, poolside, and out on-the-water!

Please contact Janel with any interest, questions, or concerns at janelzarkowsky@ussailing.org

What type of equipment do I need and how much does it cost?

Scholarships for the 12 youth will include sailing equipment and US Sailing Membership. For Spring and Fall sailing, additional youth will need to provide their own sailing equipment and US Sailing Membership.

Do the kids need to wear helmets?

Youth have the option and opportunity to wear water specific helmets should they choose to do so. US Sailing does not take any definitive stance on helmet use. All sailors will be taught the proper way to reduce the likelihood of impact with the boom (the horizontal metal pole at the bottom of the sail).

CLICK HERE for more information about helmet use while sailing from US Sailing's Safety At Sea and Sports Medicine Committees. 

Will there be transportation available for practice?

The DSC is working with US Sailing and other grants to explore transportation opportunities. At the moment, we have not secured funding for transportation. Parents are welcome to remain on campus during practice. 

When will I know if my child has been or has not been accepted into the program?

Applicants will hear back about acceptance into the Siebel Sailors Program by email.

Will there be any competitions?

Traditionally, sailors of all ages compete in regattas locally, regionally, and even globally. The Siebel Sailors Program will likely support friendly competition between the two other regional programs (Washington, DC and Essex, MD) when sailors are prepared and are excited to compete! Friendly scrimmages will be scheduled and organized by Coach Janel.

Are Athletic Scholarships available for Sailing?

Sailing is an intercollegiate sport and some schools have varsity sailing teams. In Maryland/DC, St. Mary’s College, Washington College, George Washington University, and Georgetown University have varsity level teams for both men and women. Additional schools, such as UMD, UMBC, Loyola, American, and Salisbury have club-level teams that sail further away from their schools. There are no athletic scholarships given to intercollegiate sailors, but merit scholarships are often available to well-rounded youth who are engaged academically and in sports!

For more information about the Siebel Sailors Program, email rena@downtownsailing.org


The Downtown Sailing Center at the Baltimore Museum of Industry
1425 Key Highway, Suite 110, Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 727-0722 • info@downtownsailing.org