First All Women Training Sail A Success For The Blue Water Foundation

The Blue Water Foundation held its very first all women training sail on Sunday, October 26, 2014. The sail proved to be a success for the foundation as well as their women crew members in training. Moving forward, Blue Water would love to recruit and retain more volunteers from diverse communities: women, people of color and individuals of varying sexual orientations. If this is you, please sign up!

BWF-WomenTraining-photo-1IN PHOTO 1: From left to right: Sonya Zhong, Bill Mania and Alicia Vesely

The day began on BWF boat, Benjamin Walters, a Hans Christian 43, sailing out of the Berkeley Marina. Leading the charge were First Captain Bill Mania and First Captain/Founder, Lee Stimmel. Together, they executed the safety talk, advised the volunteer crew on how the training sail would unfold and set up two watches, one with each Captain. This training method worked so well it will carry over to how BWF works with students. In attendance were volunteer crew in training Emily Albertolle, Alicia Vesely, Sonya Zhong, Melissa Adams, Mariette Lapiz, Alanna Baumert, Mel Adams and April Bell.


IN PHOTO 2: From left to right: April Bell, Alanna Baumert, Sonya Zhong, Alicia Vesely, Marietta Lapiz, Mel Adams, Emily Albertolle

The process of training and certification was kept fun and the Captains kept time for everyone to socialize over lunch. A positive team work atmosphere was created and everyone was comfortable assisting and supporting one another throughout the day.

The highlight of the sail for the trainees and the veteran Captains alike was the execution of the live man* overboard (MOB) drill [SEE VIDEO]. Specific and necessary improvements were brought to light for bringing the MOB back on-board which BWF will apply directly to teaching the students it serves in its various programs.

Stated First Captain Bill after the sail, “I felt part of something special, being able to watch a group of women come together as a crew, some who had never sailed before, and see their pride in themselves at having pulled a person from the water and back onto the boat.”

By having a different group of volunteers than usual, BWF heard more ideas on how to better engage students. The sail also proved another helpful way to find more volunteers is through the existing volunteer base!

To volunteer, sign-up for a sail or to donate, visit Blue Water Foundation on the web at To specifically find out more about becoming a volunteer, please email Tim Weeg, the volunteer coordinator:

The Blue Water Foundation was founded as an all-volunteer, nonprofit corporation dedicated to bringing the joys of sailing to San Francisco Bay Area inner city and at risk youth. In 1992 a group of sailors wanted to introduce San Francisco Bay Area young people to the joys of sailing. Using volunteers’ boats, these sailors began to take small groups of middle school students sailing on San Francisco Bay. The response from students was so enthusiastic that soon, the informal excursions became regularly scheduled trips. Now, through more than a handful of programs over 10,000 young people have discovered the art of sailing, experienced success through teamwork and have had fun while exploring a maritime alternative to drugs, alcohol, and gangs.


*Regardless of gender or age of the person in the water, it is always a Man Overboard recovery.