The Foundation

An Open Letter to Our Olympic Athletes

The following letter has been sent to our Olympic athletes. We are publishing it here as it may be of interest to the wider sailing community.

The St. Francis Sailing Foundation has a long, proud tradition of leading the development and funding of Olympic sailors in the United States, and we take that commitment very seriously. We understand that the journey to an Olympics can’t be realized alone; it truly takes a village. Especially in light of the recent events at US Sailing, we want to reassure you that we remain a key part of that village for all of you.

Whether through our grants program, or enabling you to tap into our network of past Olympians and high-performance coaches for advice, guidance and mentorship, the St. Francis Sailing Foundation provides the support and resources necessary for elite American sailors such as yourselves to pursue excellence at the Games. We understand that the journey to the Olympics requires many different kinds of support, and we as an organization stand ready to assist you – financially, developmentally and emotionally.

Since 1985, the St. Francis Sailing Foundation has made it our mission to support young sailors just beginning their sailing careers, competitive sailors as they advance, and world-class sailors seeking world-class competition. We are incredibly thankful for the donors and partners who believe in the power of sport and have come together to also be important parts of your villages.

Most importantly, please remember that we’re here to support you and do what we can to help. We want to keep the channels of communications always open between you and the Foundation.


Your friends at the St. Francis Sailing Foundation

The FoundationAn Open Letter to Our Olympic Athletes
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San Francisco Bay Area’s Daniela Moroz Takes 2nd Overall at IKA TT:RKitesurf European Championships

World Champion Kite Foiler Tests Twin Tip Racing For First Time

Daniela Moroz receives support from the St Francis Sailing Foundation.

With the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on the horizon, 15-year old Daniela Moroz changed gears this past week, switching out foiling gear for a twin tip and inflatable kite to compete in her first twin tip racing event – IKA TT:R Kitesurf European Championships, held in Gizzeria in southern Italy.

The Formula Kite World Champion and Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year had just a couple of sessions on a twin tip and inflatable kite on her home turf, San Francisco Bay, before heading to Italy, so she was stoked with her result: 2nd overall in Girls Under 19 class.

“I’ve never twin tip raced before, and other than those practice sessions, the last time I used a twin tip was when I learned to kite about four years ago!” Daniela said, with her signature grin. “Honestly, I did not expect to do very well at all just considering I hadn’t been on a twin tip in years and was really unfamiliar with the whole format. My goal was just to practice, and, also see how good the European girls are. I did not race against any of the girls that I foil with.”

Moroz performed solidly the first three days of the event, leading the Girls competition. Her goal was to stay as consistent as possible and win every heat but the format posed some challenges, as she explained.

“The challenging part about this elimination format is that you could have one wipeout in one heat, but it could put you out for the rest of that round if you didn’t finish in the top 4 in that heat. When the obstacles were introduced I had some trouble because I’m not at all used to jumping a twin tip, while all the other girls are freestylers that jump (and do tricks) all the time. Throughout the entire week I wiped out twice, but because those wipeouts were in the heats that qualified you to the final heat, they cost me first place and about 20 points.”

On the race course, twin tip racing is done slalom style, while foiling is regular course racing, like sailing. Moroz has a few thoughts about foiling versus riding twin tips acknowledging that transitioning from a twin tip to a foil is extremely challenging. But, she says, going from a foil to a twin tip just feels like going backwards…given there is much less speed and maneuverability involved.

Kiteboarding has been accepted into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a demonstration/exhibition event and the discipline will be kite foiling, much to Moroz’ delight, with the format and equipment (kind of foils/kites) yet to be confirmed. Meanwhile, Moroz plans to continue TT racing with an eye on the 2018 Youth Olympics; the qualifying event for North America will be in January.

Traveling the world and competing at high profile events has plenty of perks including the opportunity to check out world class kiting spots most kiters only get to dream about.

“The event venue was an amazing kiting spot, probably one of my favorites I’ve ever been to,” Moroz enthused. “The wind was super consistent, flat water, and both the outside air and water temperature were really warm. The food (and coffee!) was amazing. After the event, mom and I flew to Rome and were tourists for a day. It was a really fun trip, and I hope I can go back there next year!”

The FoundationSan Francisco Bay Area’s Daniela Moroz Takes 2nd Overall at IKA TT:RKitesurf European Championships
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Creating Opportunities for Women

Through an initiative by the US Sailing Match Racing to promote match racing among women, the San Francisco Bay Women’s Match Race Clinic and Grade 5 Regatta on July 7 to 9 attracted 36 female sailors from the Bay Area, Southern California, the East Coast, and even St. Petersburg, Russia. The St Francis Foundation provided a grant for the event; in addition, ten J/22s owned by the Foundation and operated by the St Francis Yacht Club were used in the clinic. Foundation recipient Nicole Breault ran the clinic and was assisted by another Foundation recipient, Molly Carapiet.

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The FoundationCreating Opportunities for Women
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10 Questions with Erika Heineken

Erika Heineken has the distinctive honor of holding two World Champion Formula Kiteboarding Championship titles, two North American Championship titles as well as four Canadian National Championship titles. Heineken, 30, grew up in Larkspur and attended high school at Marin Academy, and she and younger brother Johnny are fixtures in the local sailing and kiteboarding scene. An engineer with the City of San Francisco Department of Public Works, Heineken lives in Corte Madera with husband John Tilney, their new baby Cody Heineken Tilney, and chocolate lab Belle.

1. Where did you develop a passion for water sports?

My dad started windsurfing in the late 1970s and when my brother and I got to the age where we could learn to windsurf he immediately threw us on a board. Dad has also been a long time member of the St. Francis Yacht Club so we got on the water when we were very young. There are photos of me sailing on my parents’ boat in the Delta when I was a month old. Johnny and I learned to sail dinghies in the Richmond Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program when we were very young. I also coached sailing at the San Francisco Yacht Club for many years, and was on the University of Vermont sailing team.

2. How did you get into kiteboarding?

Once Johnny converted over to kiting, I saw how much progress he made in a short time and was convinced I had to switch as well. I learned on a trip to Costa Rica one winter when I was in college — what started as a surf trip turned into a kiting trip. I ended up changing my ticket to stay for a month to learn to kite and became pretty competent. I returned home, bought kites and the rest is history.

3. Do you think other sports you played helped you develop as a kiter?

I have played volleyball really competitively since fourth grade and through two years of college at the D3 level. I don’t know how much transferred over to kiting but definitely the competitive spirit did. I am quite competitive when it comes to the top level!

4. What have been your biggest accomplishments in kiteboarding?

I won the World Championships (2012 in Cagliari, Italy, and 2013 in Boao, China), on the Formula Race Board, and I won a tour on the hydrofoil at a time when that form of kiting was very new.

5. What was the most well-earned award?

The first World Championship I won was in Sardinia, Italy, in 2012. It had just been announced that kiting would replace windsurfing in the Olympics so not only was there way more attention all of a sudden internationally at this regatta but it was also the year Johnny and I won the world titles together.

6. How often do you get to hang out with brother Johnny?

We see each other more in the summer when it’s kiting season, and during the winter we try to make time to take our dogs, brown labs who are sisters, for hikes and throw a Frisbee for them.

7. How do you stay in shape and specifically for kiting?

When I’m sailing I try to exercise outside — hike, bike and kite. I’m at the top of my game in the summer when I’m kiting as I’m getting all the exercise I need. We sometimes ride our bikes home from work in the city and I love that. In the winter I try to squeak by with just sailing on weekends and going to the gym but that’s more for my mental health.

8. How do you juggle a career while competing as an elite athlete?

It’s not easy. For about four years I was very focused on kiting and used all of my free time to compete internationally. Now I’m re-evaluating that decision after not kiting for the past nine months and considering how intensely I want to go back. Luckily my work has been flexible enough to allow me to take extra time off.

9. What is your philosophy now that you have a baby; will you stay active in the sport?

We’re not going to try to change our lives too much. Cody will be in tow with us wherever we go (laughs)! Whether he likes it, we’ll have to wait to find out. He’ll go to daycare when I go back to work but on the way home, the beach is between work and home and his grandparents are just down the street so luckily we have a lot of help so I think we’ll still manage to get back into our kiting routine a few days a week.

10. What’s your advice and encouragement for women wanting to learn how to kite?

Being comfortable in the water is No. 1 and skills from other board sports will really accelerate the process but isn’t required. It also pays to learn to fly a small trainer kite before taking a lesson.

The Foundation10 Questions with Erika Heineken
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Treasure Island Sailing Center Receives US Sailing Jim Kilroy Outstanding Outreach and Inclusion Award

St. Francis Sailing Foundation recognized as primary supporter of TISC’s signature programs

At the 2017 US Sailing National Symposium in Austin, Texas, US Sailing awarded the Jim Kilroy Outstanding Outreach and Inclusion Award to Treasure Island Sailing Center (TISC) for creating public access to sailing for thousands of San Francisco Bay Area individuals. Behind much of that access was the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, which provided meaningful grants to several of TISC’s signature programs.

“The St. Francis Sailing Foundation is proud to have played a significant role in bringing thousands of Bay Area schoolchildren to the San Francisco Bay as primary supporter of the Set Sail Learn program,” said Bill Kreysler, Foundation president. Set Sail Learn is a one-day exploration trip for San Francisco fourth graders that incorporates sailing into a hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) curriculum, fostering learning and a love for San Francisco Bay. “There is no more creative way to teach science, technology, engineering and math than through the life-changing experience of being on the water,” said Kreysler.

The Foundation was also the primary support of EAST, the high school racing team for Oakland’s Envision Academy, in partnership with OCSC Sailing School. Anthony Sandberg, founder of OCSC Sailing said, “Bringing sailing to inner city youth is one of my proudest accomplishments. There is a great future for sailing if we make it accessible and inclusive.”

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The FoundationTreasure Island Sailing Center Receives US Sailing Jim Kilroy Outstanding Outreach and Inclusion Award
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St. Francis Sailing Foundation Launches Set Sail Learn at the Treasure Island Sailing Center

Foundation Invests in Future of San Francisco’s Children With Innovative Fourth Grade Curriculum on the Bay

Thousands of San Francisco fourth graders are enjoying a new twist on science and math lessons while learning basic principles of sailing as part of Set Sail Learn, an engaging classroom experience on San Francisco Bay made possible by a significant grant from the St. Francis Sailing Foundation (StFSF). This grant, the largest in the history of the StFSF, marks a major expansion of the Foundation’s community outreach programs. The Foundation’s other major activities focus on development and support of competitive athletes, from Olympic hopefuls to youth sailors.

Set Sail Learn was launched on October 15, 2015 at a media event at Treasure Island Sailing Center. The event garnered coverage from Bay area broadcast and print media, as well as the sailing media. A number of key San Francisco city officials attended, including the St Francis Yacht Club’s landlord, Recreation and Parks department.

Children from 28 public schools in San Francisco are learning Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) both on the water through sailing as well as in a hands-on classroom at the Treasure Island Sailing Center (TISC). For some of the children, this engaging environment is their first encounter with the city’s greatest natural resource, San Francisco Bay.

Set Sail Learn is an innovative initiative engaging fourth graders to learn about all things related to San Francisco Bay as well as the basic principles of sailing,” said Carolyn Patrick, President of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation. “This is an investment in the future of our city’s children. Many of the city’s school children are being exposed to the Bay for the first time, opening doors to learning in a stimulating, natural and fun environment. St. Francis Sailing Foundation is proud to partner with Treasure Island Sailing Center to make this program possible.”

“Access to the Bay provides an exciting way to learn STEM principles,” said Carisa Harris-Adamson, Chair of TISC Board of Directors, the non-profit community sailing center that developed Set Sail Learn. “Thanks to the vision of St. Francis Sailing Foundation, we now have the necessary funding to provide innovative school lessons while also introducing many of the children to sailing for the first time. Children who show interest in the sport from this introduction can continue sailing in our after school or summer programs, which offer scholarships to thousands of children each year.”

“Set Sail Learn engages the different learning modalities of the kids, visual, kinetic, song, dance and sailing,” said fourth grade teacher Joi Jackson. “I saw this program touch every part of each of my children. Thank you so much for allowing my native San Franciscans to really experience the Bay,” says the teacher from Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School of the San Francisco Unified School District.

A reporter covering the Set Sail Learn launch summed it up this way, “I’ve shot a few youth events, and this one really stands out. It was obvious the kids on the water were having a great time. All of them looked mesmerized, dragging their hands in the water and grinning and chattering. They’ll never forget that experience. The group was the real thing:…kids who truly need stuff like this.“


About Set Sail Learn

Set Sail Learn runs Monday-Thursday from 9am-1:00pm at the Treasure Island Sailing Center. Twenty-four classes are participating in the first half of the school year. A typical day consists of classroom learning on topics such as Ecology of the Bay, Power of the Wind or Maritime Math & History followed by an on-the-water sailing session in RS Venture boats. The city helped identify seed funding for a pilot program in Fall, 2013. Thanks to a significant grant from the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, TISC in partnership with San Francisco Public Schools is offering Set Sail Learn as fourth grade curriculum.


About St. Francis Sailing Foundation

The St. Francis Sailing Foundation (StFSF) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with the mission to raise and grant money to deserving sailors and organizations that promote sailing, racing competition and maritime education.

StFSF supports organizations that put thousands of underserved youth and disabled sailors on the water in enrichment programs that teach sailing, life lessons, and science utilizing sailing. Set Sail Learn is the largest program ever sponsored by StFSF.

StFSF also promotes competitive sailing and US Olympic Sailing Team development, with support of serious Olympic athletes, beginning Olympic hopefuls, and junior sailors.

The FoundationSt. Francis Sailing Foundation Launches Set Sail Learn at the Treasure Island Sailing Center
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ISAF World Cup Miami 2015: StFSF Competitor Recap

By Paul Heineken 

One of the highest priorities for the St. Francis Sailing Foundation is to support American sailors who strive to represent the USA in the Olympic Games, and hopefully earn a medal. The 2016 Olympic Games are now less than 2 years away, so competitors are pushing very hard to place high in international regattas and earn their country an invitation for each sailing class in the Rio Games. The Miami ISAF World Cup event is the first really big event on the 2015 schedule. It has a long history of attracting the best sailors from all over the world to compete in variable conditions in wonderful Miami weather. Unfortunately, in recent years the weather is “too good” and racing has been very limited due to light wind.

This year’s Miami event was one of the best ever. More than 700 competitors were put to the test. The event started with 20-30 knot survival conditions and then progressively mellowed during the week. Overall, the Americans had some bright spots and some disappointments. Unfortunately there were no podium finishes. In a number of classes, the American team has not yet qualified for a spot in the Olympics, so further progress is needed at this summer’s World and Continental Championship events when more Olympic berths will be awarded.

The following is a rundown by class, with StFSF sailors in bold:


Laser Radial Women, 79 competitors

Paige Railey came back from a serious bicycle accident last year. After a long period of rehabilitation, she showed that she is ready to again sail at the highest level. Throughout the event he sailed consistently in the top ten and then won the double point medal race. This brought her up to 4th place overall, just eight points out of the silver medal position. Christine Neville qualified for the gold fleet and finished 38th overall. Many think that Paige, a former Rolex World Sailor of the Year, is the best American hope for a medal in the Rio Olympics.


Finn, Men’s, 39 competitors

The Brit, Giles Scott trounced the fleet. Caleb Paine qualified for the medal race, and finished 9th overall.


RSX Women, 37 competitors 

After the San Francisco-like conditions on day one, Marion Lepert led the fleet with finishes of 1 and 4. However as the week progressed, she learned just how competitive this international fleet is in light and moderate air, leading to a16th overall finish. Farrah Hall, the 2012 US Olympic representative, had the opposite scoring trajectory. She moved up to 18th overall, but 36 points behind Marion.


49er Men, 57 teams

Overall, the 49er fleet was remarkably competitive. Out of 13 scored races, the gold medal Danish team never won a race. And after all those races, 4th was separated from 10th by just 17 points. The dominant American team, Brad Funk and Trevor Burd has been steadily improving and moved up to 7th in this event, finishing second in the medal race. The StFSF has supported a number of young teams some of which were cutting their teeth in their first international regatta. And are really pointing towards the 2020 games. The Bay Area team of David Liebenberg and Dan Morris, in their first international competition, surprised many by having some  top 5 finishes, thereby making the gold fleet, and finishing 14th overall. The Strammer-Kushner team also made the gold fleet and finished 27th overall. Other StFSF supported teams sailed in silver with the following overall finishes: Barrows-Joe Morris 38thWilson-McBride 47th, and Ryan-Hans Henken 53rd.


49er FX, Women, 39 teams

StFSF-supported Paris Henken and Helen Scutt finished 29th overall while Debbie Capozzi and Molly Vandemoer finished 31st.


Nacra 17 catamaran, 48 teams, including 11 American teams

StFSF-supported Michael Easton and Katherine Pettibone just came together as a team and finished 21st, the top American score. John Casey and Kristen Lane finished 38th.


The FoundationISAF World Cup Miami 2015: StFSF Competitor Recap
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