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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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A Night with the Stars: Auction Preview

This year’s “Night With the Stars” takes place on St. Patrick’s Day! With a little luck of the Irish, it is sure to be a win-win for both bidders and grantees of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation. An impressive array of auction items are on tap to support aspiring Olympians, community sailing programs and competitive sailing Programs. The auction brochure, which can be viewed in early March, has full item descriptions – but here’s a sneak peek!

Luck of the Irish Could Color Fortunes Green for the St. Francis Sailing Foundation’s 11th Annual Night with the Stars!

Silent Auction * Dinner * Live Auction

5:00 pm – March 17th

One Week Gourmet Inclusive at Casa Vela Beachfront Treehouse – Playa del Carmen, Mexico.  

Travel in Luxury Comfort – includes 480,000 miles toward 8 Business Class tickets on United 

Casa Vela is a 4 bedroom beachfront estate complete with a plunge pool, kayaks and paddleboards, managed on a “gourmet inclusive” plan: airport transportation, daily maid service, full-time overnight security guard, and a gourmet chef who will prepare three meals daily – everything included for up to ten guests. Concierge is on duty to plan massages, fishing and snorkeling trips, and chauffeured excursions to the ruins – winning bidder just pays for these extras, any alcoholic beverages, and airline fees. May slice the mile awards as needed between business or coach.


Join 2015 Yachtsman of the Year, Matt Brooks, and his yacht Dorade as you compete in the Royal Yacht Squadron’s
Bi-Centennial Regatta

July 25 – August 2

Includes:  2 Round Trip Business Class flights to London & Accommodations for 2

A Stephens & Stephens 52-foot yawl built in 1929, Dorade made yachting history winning ocean races around the world.  She has been returned to her glory, campaigning regularly with an impressive streak of victories.  One crew spot is available for this dazzling, once in a lifetime, week of racing and elegant parties as she competes in the Bi-Centennial Regatta at Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK


You, Chef Antonio and the Grill Room Menu

Work with Chef Antonio to create a menu item, in your name, to be added to the Grill Room Menu for 2015. Kick off this exclusive experience with a private dinner for eight in the main dining room. Chef Antonio will hand select the wines to be poured for your group. This is the ultimate dinner party experience!


The Staff Commodores’ Wine Cellar Collection

Own a piece of StFYC History!

Our Staff Commodores have hand selected and signed beautiful wines from their private collections for you to enjoy.   Stock up your very own 12 bottle wine locker located in the StFYC Main Dining Room that is yours, with no corkage fees, for one year, and take the rest of the bottles home in the 50 bottle wine refrigerator included in this package. As a special bonus, you will receive a one-year membership in the StFYC wine society!


1 Week in Faubourg St Germain (Paris) and 2 nights at Yacht Club de Monaco

The 1 bedroom Cristal Suite is located in the most coveted neighborhood in all of Paris, the Faubourg St Germain area of the Left Bank, the northeastern portion of the 7th arrondissement on the edge of the 6th.  Walk to Notre Dame, Île Saint-Louis, Musée d’Orsay & more! Then, head south for a two-night stay (including breakfast) for 2 people in the newly launched Yacht Club de Monaco cabins – an opportunity rarely offered outside of this exclusive club’s membership.


Skipper the Commodore’s Knarr, Svenkist, with Sean Svendsen, Paul Cayard & John Kostecki as Crew!

Join a Wednesday Night Series Race and take the helm with an all-star crew including Commodore Svendsen, John Kostecki & Paul Cayard. You will have on the water, commemorative photos by Chris Ray to document this experience. Following the race, join the Wednesday Evening Series Party for post-regatta cocktails and buffet dinner. Just think, when is the next time you will see Commodore Svendsen on the bow as you call for a jibe?


The Tinsley Lighthouse! 

Enjoy all 5 Rooms of the Tinsley Lighthouse during the weekend of June 12 – 14. You will have full control of the Lighthouse and a hosted dinner on Saturday night for you and your guests with scrumptious fare and robust wine. Family reunion? Gathering of friends? Either way, you are sure to share memories for a lifetime.


The Ultimate StFYC Party Package

Automatic and complimentary registration to the following 8 events in 2015:

Couples Cruise to Tinsley Island for 2 adults, 4th of July Family Cruise to Tinsley for 2 adults & 3 children, Women’s Cruise to Tinsley for 1 adult, Stag Cruise to Tinsley for 1 adult, Labor Day Cruise to Tinsley for 2 adults & 3 children, Commodore’s Ball at the Clubhouse for 2 adults, Member’s Christmas Party at the Clubhouse for 2 adults, and New Year’s Eve at the Clubhouse for 2 adults.


Team Alvimedica Package for Volvo Ocean Race USA Stopover

Get behind the scenes with the USA entry in this year’s race around the world. Join Skipper Charlie Enright and the team during the Newport, RI stopover May 15 for a Meet and Greet, Boat Tour, and Team Gear package.


Visit to view the auction brochure for more details and to start planning your bids now! Please call the front desk or visit the StFYC website to make your reservation.


The auction night is vital to ensure the continuity of the Foundation’s wide-ranging programs.  Outreach programs continue to expand on the Bay, not only supporting aspiring Olympic athletes, but also introducing young people to the sport through grantees such as Call of the Sea and the Treasure Island Sailing Center (TISC). Grants have also provided scholarships to promising young sailors and supported the Cal Maritime Academy Sailing Program. The outreach component of the St. Francis Yacht Club High School Sailing program is putting many budding competitors on the water.


The St. Francis Sailing Foundation grants money to deserving sailors and organizations that promote sailing, racing competition and maritime education. Founded in 1985, the Foundation is a charitable 501(c)(3) corporation.

The FoundationA Night with the Stars: Auction Preview
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Launching Point for New Horizons: The Treasure Island Sailing Center

By Archana Ojha

The Treasure Island Sailing Center‘s (TISC) mission is to improve the Bay Area community and the sport of sailing by providing access, facilities, and sailing instruction to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, skill levels, and physical abilities. TISC offers sailing and water sports lessons to youth, adult, and adaptive sailors and provides scholarships to all who meet the financial requirements. A full service sailing center, TISC never turns away a child and has no limit on the number of scholarships it offers.

In line with its mission to make sailing more accessible to all kids in the Bay Area, TISC has partnered with the Olympic Circle Sailing Club (OCSC) to put together a competitive high school sailing team at Envision Academy of Arts and Technology, a tuition-free charter high school in Oakland whose mission is to have their kids attend and finish a 4 year college degree. The Envision Academy Sailing Team (EAST) is wholly funded by TISC, OCSC and community support.  EAST students had the opportunity to enroll in summer swim lessons and sailing camps at TISC to prepare for the Varsity Sailing Team that started last fall. They have weekly practices at TISC throughout the academic school year in the hopes that next year a competitive sailing team is born.

TISC’s Set Sail Learn (SSL) program provides a learning opportunity to fourth graders in the San Francisco Unified School District by opening a door to the Bay and world of sailing.  TISC provides students the opportunity to sail while learning about the beauty, history, and biology of the Bay. In 2014 alone, TISC introduced over 44 classes from 19 elementary schools to its Set Sail Learn (SSL) program.

From a young SSL participant,  Anthony:

“Dear TISC, I had a wonderful time with your instructors and would like to say thank you very much for doing this for us. This is the best field trip I have ever went to and I have gone camping before so this is the best program ever!”

The TISC Adaptive Sailing Program strives to make sailing accessible to anybody with a desire to learn including those with physical and developmental disabilities.  In partnership with the Marin Sailing School Program for the Blind, TISC offers sailing instruction for the visually impaired. Students learn to sail through the use of creative and adaptive methods in a hands-on, mainstream teaching environment. The objective is the same as for sighted sailors: to harness the wind and to experience all the challenges and rewards of sailing.  Through the Adaptive Sailing Program, disabled sailors gain a sense of independence and self-confidence.

From Tiffany, a TISC visually impaired sailor:

“I love the feeling of being out on the water. I believe it’s the only thing I can legally drive now!”

In 2014, over 2,534 students went through the various TISC programs including 2,325 youth students, 119 adaptive students, 33 adult students and 57 watersports students.  Almost 70-80% of the TISC students need and receive either half or full scholarships to participate in the programs.  Donations by organization such as the St. Francis Sailing Foundation make these scholarships possible.  For many years the St. Francis Sailing Foundation has donated substantial funding annually for scholarships, portions of which were matching funds that helped TISC solicit additional individual donations.

To learn more about the Treasure Island Sailing Center please visit their website at and their Facebook page: Treasure Island Sailing Center.

The FoundationLaunching Point for New Horizons: The Treasure Island Sailing Center
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Olympic Spotlight: Caleb Paine

By Archana Ojha

Finn sailor Caleb Paine is on fire!  Currently ranked 1st in the country and 5th in the world, Caleb’s notable finishes this past year include 1st at Finn North Americans, 5th at Sailing World Cup Hyeres, 7th at ISAF Sailing World Championship in Santander and 3rd at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final Abu Dhabi. At the ISAF World Cup in Miami last month, Caleb qualified for the medal race and placed 9th overall. Caleb attributes part of this success to his Foundation advisor Bill Kreysler and the St. Francis Sailing Foundation.

Caleb has been sailing his entire life and started racing at the age of 7. After finishing high school, Caleb decided to put college on hold so he could pursue his lifelong dream of winning an Olympic gold medal. He bought a Finn sailing dinghy and began competing full time in 2009. In 2011, he was selected for the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider and has since been climbing the world ranking in preparation toward his goal.

The most challenging aspect of Caleb’s quest for an Olympic medal has been financial resources. It took him 5 years to get a new mast and boat made to his specifications. Last year, with Bill Kreysler’s help and financial assistance from the Foundation, Caleb has had more resources to refine his equipment and spend more time sailing in Rio de Janeiro and other parts of the world to hone his skills. It’s paying off: the results have been spectacular.

“Rio is just around the corner and my current successes are largely due to the St. Francis Sailing Foundation and its members. I look forward to the new year to continue my progress and get closer to achieving my goal of Gold in Rio 2016,” Paine commented.

To learn more about Caleb and his quest for the gold, visit his website at and like his Facebook page, Caleb Paine Olympic Campaign.

The FoundationOlympic Spotlight: Caleb Paine
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A Message from the President

By Carolyn Patrick

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation newsletter. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers and the overwhelming generosity of our many donors and supporters, the Foundation is expanding the grants and programs that support our mission of community outreach, development and support of Olympic and competitive sailors, and maritime education. We look forward to interacting with you via this newsletter to highlight the successes of our many grantees and programs.

Greater year round communication is pivotal to attaining our goals, and this newsletter, which you will receive quarterly, is a way that we hope to improve, sustain and grow our mission into the future. If you did not receive this newsletter via email and wish to do so in the future, please sign up on our website at For cost-savings purposes, our ultimate goal is distribution of the newsletter by email only.

The FoundationA Message from the President
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Silver For Team Maclaren and Gold for Paige Railey at ISAF Sailing World Cup

Eight Olympic class events raced for medals on Saturday’s finale of the
2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. Conditions on Biscayne Bay reported
sunny skies with temperatures in the high 60’s and low 70′s, and breezes
from 8 to 15 knots (ENE). It was a triumphant day for the host country,
winning gold medals in five of the events: Sarah Newberry and John Casey
(Nacra 17), Stuart McNay and David Hughes (Men’s 470), Paige Railey (Laser
Radial), Fred Strammer and Zach Brown (49er), and Caleb Paine (Finn). —
Full report:

Final Standings
Paralympic Singlehanded – 2.4mR (17 boats)
1. GBR – Megan Pascoe, 18
2. CAN – Allan Leibel, 21
3. CAN – Bruce Millar, 22

Paralympic Triplehanded – Sonar (8 boats)
1 .NOR – Aleksander Wang-Hansen/Marie Solberg/Per Eugen Kristiansen, 19
2. USA – Andrew Fisher/Mike Hersey/Ryan Levinson, 28
3. USA – Rick Doerr/Brad Kendell/Hugh Freund, 29

Olympic Men’s two person skiff – 49er (16 boats)
1. USA – Fred Strammer/Zach Brown, 4
2. USA – Ryan Pesch/Trevor Burd, 5
3. SWE – Sebastian Oestling/Kalle Torlen, 10

Olympic Women’s two person skiff – 49er FX (8 boats)
1. BRA – Martine Soffiatti/Kahena Kunze, 2
2. USA – Anna Tunnicliffe/Molly Vandemoer, 5
3. USA – Kristen Lane/Molly Carapiet, 8

Olympic Men’s heavyweight dinghy – Finn (28 boats)
1. USA – Caleb Paine,    20
2. CAN – Greg Douglas, 34
3. BRA – Jorge Zarif, 43

Olympic Men’s single person dinghy – Laser (70 boats)
1. SWE – Jesper Stalheim, 36
2. EST    – Karl-Martin Rammo, 50
3. USA – Charlie Buckingham, 54

Olympic Women’s single person dinghy – Laser Radial (29 boats)
1. USA – Paige Railey, 20
2. FIN    – Tuula Tenkanen, 34
3. CAN – Isabella Bertold, 40

Olympic Mixed multihull – Nacra 17 (7 boats)
1. USA – Sarah Newberry/John Casey, 22
2. USA – Sarah Streater/Matthew Whitehead, 27
3. USA – Taylor Reiss/Sarah Lihan, 3506-silver-for-team-maclaren.html

The FoundationSilver For Team Maclaren and Gold for Paige Railey at ISAF Sailing World Cup
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Johnny Heineken Named US Sailing’s 2012 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year!

From US Sailing:

2012 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year: Johnny Heineken (Larkspur, Calif.), age 24, has been named the 2012 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year for his dominating performances in competitive kiteboarding, including the Kiteboarding Course Racing World Championship in Cagliari, Italy, where he topped 148 competitors to claim the world title for a second consecutive year. Heineken also proved his racing prowess by besting 45 competitors in the Kiteboarding North American Course Racing Championship in San Francisco and 34 competitors at the Pacific Pilsner Canadian Kiteboard Course Racing Nationals in Squamish, Canada. He set a new course record (14 minutes, 4 seconds) in the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge Race in San Francisco among 58 entrants and rounded out his record by posting victories at PKRA Mexico (20 competitors), PKRA Burn Kiteboarding World Tour (16 competitors) and Copa Mexico Regatta (13 competitors). He finished second at La Ventana Classic (20 competitors) and took third at both the PKRA Beetle Kitesurf World Cup (31 competitors) and PKRA Gold Games Kitesurf (30 competitors).

The selection panel was especially impressed by the fact that Heineken’s racing took him to venues across the globe – including Germany, France and Turkey—where his fellow kiteboarding competitors were considered the world’s best. They also made note that kiteboarding (also referred to as kitesurfing—an athletic surface water sport combining aspects of wakeboarding, windsurfing and surfing and using a large controllable kite to harness the power of the wind) had come into its own as a significant sailing genre. One panelist pointed out that the term “yachtsman,” despite its allusion to the most traditional aspects of sailing, easily befits a sailor with Heineken’s talents and devotion to growing the sport.

“To even be mentioned in connection with this award is an honor; so many of my role models are on the list of recipients,” said Heineken, who was on the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year shortlist in 2011 as well. “But it’s also exciting that kiting has been accepted into the world of yachting. It’s pretty amazing how far the class has come in the last five years and exciting for me to be involved in the development of that.”

Heineken explained that kiteboarding narrowly missed becoming a discipline for the 2016 Olympics and he would be very surprised if it were not included in the 2020 Games. Course racing on kiteboards is mostly windward-leeward with some added reaches at the finish line to bring spectators to J_Heineken YofY 2012 actionthe beach “to watch the fleet going 30 knots.”

“I started kiteboarding a lot later than many of the people I’m competing against, but I did grow up sailing and that’s what has given me a strong background to be a good kite racer,” said Heineken, who took third in the 29er Worlds when he was in eleventh grade, finished fifth in the 2008 49er U.S. Olympic Trials, and served as captain of the UC Santa Barbara Sailing Team for two years. “Typical sailboat racing courses are what we’ve optimized our gear for; it’s the same game, the same tactics, really.”

Heineken added that it’s much harder to learn how to be a good tactical sailor, making quick decisions and dealing with every crossing incident perfectly, than it is to learn to kiteboard. “It’s time on the water just like every other class. You can call it a boat or a board or whatever, but kiting is the only kind of sailing where you’re directly connecting the sail through your body to the board and then to the water via the fins. You’re so involved in the dynamic of making the boat go fast through the water that I would argue it’s the most pure form of sailing.”

Heineken, who was born in Greenbrae, Calif., trains and travels with his older sister, Erika Heineken, age 26, who was runner-up this year for the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and shared the top step on the podium with Johnny at the Kiteboarding Course Racing World Championship as the women’s division winner.

Johnny Heineken has a degree in mechanical engineering and works on the mechanical team at Alameda-based Makani Power, an alternative energy company developing airborne wind turbine technology. He is a member of St. Francis Yacht Club, which he praises for helping pioneer course racing for kiteboarding.

Heineken’s 2012 Highlights:

  • Kiteboarding Course Racing World Championship, Cagliari, Italy (1st/148)
  • Kiteboarding North American Course Racing Championship, San Francisco, Calif. (1st/45)
  • Ronstan Bridge to Bridge, San Francisco, Calif. (1st/58 entrants – 14 min 4 seconds, new record)
  • Fall Dinghy & Olympic Classes Regatta, San Francisco Calif. (1st/11 Kiteboards)
  • Ronstan Bay Challenge Long Distance Race, San Francisco Calif. (1st/35 kites/windsurfers – 1:13:51)
  • Ronstan Bay Challenge Course Race, San Francisco, Calif. (1st/18 Kites)
  • Pacific Pilsner Canadian Kiteboard Course Racing Nationals Championship, Squamish, CAN (1st/34)
  • Copa Mexico Regatta, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (1st/13)
  • PKRA Mexico, Playa del Carmen, Mexico, (1st/20)
  • PKRA Burn Kiteboarding World Tour, Istanbul, Turkey (1st/16)
  • La Ventana Classic, Baja, Mexico (2nd/20 Kites)
  • PKRA Beetle Kitesurf World Cup, Germany (3rd/31)
  • PKRA Gold Games Kitesurf, Hyeres, France (3rd of 30)
The FoundationJohnny Heineken Named US Sailing’s 2012 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year!
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