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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 reboard 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: Whatsinthewaterhon.org 

When will practice occur?

Practice will occur on Saturday afternoons from noon to 4 PM at The DSC, with simple lunch provided at noon and actual practice beginning at 12:30 PM. Additional practices will be on Wednesdays after school, with the actual time TBD

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

We are still working with US Sailing to build a detailed curriculum for this program; but for this Spring, practices will likely start at recreational pools with one of the RS Fevas in it or on non-capsizable boats in the harbor like Access Dinghies or the J/22 keelboats or at a local pool where we can put a capsizable boat in it. 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 on our docks and by or on 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 the learn-to-sail afterschool program with opportunities to race against other Siebel Sailors. Participants will be on the Patapsco River overlooking the inner harbor; 1425 Key Hwy, Baltimore MD. She will be doing some lessons in an indoor classroom, poolside, and on-the-water opportunities starting Spring 2020. Please contact Janel with any interest, questions, or concerns:Janel Zarkowsky/ janelzarkowsky@USSAILING.ORG /(401) 808-9784


Hannah Dickmyer is The Downtown Sailing Center’s Siebel Program Assistant Coach. Hannah will be assisting Janel with on the water lessons and is the point of contact for the Siebel program at the DSC.  She has experience with youth sailing small boat programs throughout the Chesapeake Bay and is excited to be a part of the Siebel program! Please contact Hannah with any questions, comments, or concerns at Hannah@downtownsailing.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. A cost breakdown can be found on page 4 of our December 2019 Update.

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). For more information on the subject, go to: US Sailing-helmet use

Will there be transportation available for practice?

The DSC is working with The Siebel Sailors Program and with potential funders to explore transportation opportunity. At the moment, we have not secured funding for transportation. Parents are welcome to remain on campus during practice. 

How do I apply and when can I apply?

Go to Siebel 2020 Application Form.pdf to complete an application for this program or send an email to get a copy mailed/emailed to you. If anyone needs a Spanish copy of this application, please click go to Español Siebel 2020 Application FormThe DSC will accept applications from January 5th to June 5th.

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 program around June 12th.

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 Baltimore County) during the second and third years of the program. Friendly scrimmages will likely be scheduled for Fall 2020 with Baltimore County Sailing Center’s Siebel Sailors program.

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 Hannah Dickmyer; Siebel Program Assistant, at Hannah@downtownsailing.org.

To complete the scholarship application, go to Siebel 2020 Application Form.pdf or Español Siebel 2020 Application Form and email it to Hannah@downtownsailing.org or ask for a paper copy to be mailed/emailed  


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