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Sailing Education Adventures Wins PCYA’s 2023 Garrett Horder Trophy

Sailing Education Adventures (SEA) has been awarded the Pacific Coast Yachting Association’s (PCYA) Garrett Horder Trophy for its outstanding contributions to youth development through sail training. The community- and youth-sailing organization was founded over 40 years ago by Jane Piereth as a learn-to-sail program for the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the environmental organization Oceanic Society. In 1984 the program expanded to include Sail Camp, and in 1990 SEA became a nonprofit community sailing program.

PCYA Awards 2023 Garrett Horder Trophy to Sailing Education Adventures. Left to Right: PCYA’s Admiral Kimberley Milligan, SEA founder and Vice President Jane Piereth, SEA President and Adult Program Director Joe Rouse, and PCYA Junior Staff Commodore Kimball Livingston at the newly opened clubhouse of The Club at Westpoint.
© 2024

Today, SEA has 20 sailing dinghies and eight support boats for 120 children and youth who come to the program each year. Kids can start at age 8 in Mini Camp, and continue sailing through to becoming junior counselors, then counselors, then head counselors, who also get leadership development training.

Mini Camp is clearly a lot of fun!
© 2024 Sailing Education Adventures

“I feel like our little program, which has kind of existed under the radar for so many years, is finally being recognized for the comprehensive program it is,” Piereth said, giving much of the credit to SEA’s youth-program director, Meghan Hartnett.

“She encourages, supports and trains our counselors, through their sometime-rocky teen years. We have seen them become very responsible adults, and go on to great outcomes when they age out of our employment.”

“She also spends a great deal of time responding to parent concerns and questions, Piereth adds. “The parents really appreciate this.”

As part of their mission, SEA offers leadership development through its counselor program.
© 2024 Sailing Education Adventures

SEA emphasizes mentoring as a way of learning, volunteering to minimize cost while maximizing experience, and pursuing environmental stewardship as a way of life. From two locations on the San Rafael Canal, on the northern reach of San Francisco Bay, SEA operates a mixed fleet of dinghies, small keelboats and kayaks on the protected waters of the canal. For the advanced, there are adventures on the waters of the great Bay beyond.

SEA president Joe Rouse observed that children often start out afraid but turn around quickly as they experience safe sailing, make new friends, and discover a larger world. By age 16 some become paid counselors, and if they earn their US Sailing Level 1 Certification, they become head counselors.

“Our instructors rarely come from outside,” Rouse said. “We develop our own. Meghan Hartnett teaches sailing but also teaches ocean ecology.”

Harnett herself is a product of the organization’s programs, having started as a camper and worked her way through the program to become youth-program director.

A perfect example of the program’s outcomes. This photo was taken five years ago at a Safe Boating event. The girl on the left is now a junior counselor, and the younger girl on the right is a mini camper.
© 2024 Sailing Education Adventures
Sailing Education Adventures camp kids on sailboat
From 8 to 18 and beyond, SEA encourages kids to grow and develop through sailing.
© 2024 Sailing Education Adventures

As with any nonprofit or community organization, success also hinges on support from many areas. Piereth notes the many SEA volunteers who maintain the boats and engines, attend work parties, check on camp during the week, and provide gas for the safety boats. “SEA is largely volunteer-run,” she says, before continuing, “Big thanks to Marin Yacht Club for partnering with us for over 25 years, Loch Lomond Marina for supporting the program, and the California Division of Boating and Waterways for their financial support. Matt Butler at San Rafael Yacht Harbor hauls our boats for us, allowing us to keep them in good maintenance.”

Camp enrollments for the coming summer are now open at “We welcome new and returning campers!”

PCYA Junior Staff Commodore Kimball Livingston said, “SEA is one of those special operations that will start kids when they’re little, keep them through their high school years, bring them back in their college years, and bring them back again as adult leaders. I say ‘one of those’ because SEA was not our only entry with that track record to brag about. But we like it that SEA was launched with not much more than a vision and grew into something fine and valuable.”

Garrett Horder trophy
The Garrett Horder Trophy.
© 2024 Pacific Coast Yachting Association

The Garrett Horder Memorial Trophy is a 19th-century Currier and Ives print of the sail/steam vessel San Francisco, displayed in the library of St. Francis Yacht Club. It has been awarded since 2000.


  1. Dustin Byron Wilton 2 months ago

    Way to go SEA! From an SEA alum & former instructor.

  2. William Crowley 2 months ago

    Congratulations SEA! I learned to sail there as an adult when SEA was located at Clipper Yacht Harbor in Sausalito. For me, the best part of the program was twice-monthly Member Sails, where, on their own boats, volunteer instructors took students sailing, giving them experience on a wide variety of keelboats larger than the SEA teaching fleet, which at that time consisted of Catalina Capri 14.2 open cockpit daysailers. Wonderful program!

  3. C Leva 2 months ago

    Beautiful program, Beautiful Lady!

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