Youth Sailing Director

The Sailing Foundation
Seattle, WA
United States

Application Closing Date
Manages Others
Experience Required
Degree Required
Security Clearance Required
Housing Provided
From $70,000 To $80,000
Per Year    
Employment Type
Full Time
Work Schedule
Some Travel

Job Description


The Sailing Foundation can trace its origins back to an America’s Cup campaign 50 years ago. In 1971, a group of Seattle area sailors campaigned the venerable 12M Intrepid and narrowly lost the right to defend the cup. The eventual sale of Intrepid seeded an endowment. Funds were used for scholarships, travel grants, Olympic campaigns, and our biggest claim to fame: the research, development, and patent of the LifeSling. In 2014, The Sailing Foundation doubled down on its commitment to youth sailing and established this youth sailing director position. Today, The Foundation’s primary activities are: (1) Expand opportunities for youth to learn to sail, learn to race and race competitively at all levels. (2) Education and research that advances boating safety.

Position Description:

This is a one-of-a-kind job! At its essence, the role is to serve as a regional resource for sailors, coaches, program directors, and partner organizations in the Pacific Northwest. The Sailing Foundation is not a yacht club. We don’t have a physical facility, members, or run summer camps. We may be a small non-profit, but we make a big impact in our region. Our board of directors includes a who’s who list of area sailors, parents, and leaders. The Youth Sailing Director is the only full-time employee. They serve as an important part of the Foundation’s leadership team and will be one of the primary ambassadors for the organization. With guidance from the youth committee, they will carry out the youth-focused aspects of our mission, which revolves around racing, outreach, organizing, training, and safety (ROOTS). This person must be comfortable in a wide variety of roles, while always upholding the highest standards for quality, safety, and professionalism.

The work we do is almost always in partnership with other organizations. This includes yacht clubs, sailing centers, college/high school teams, and other non-profit organizations. We also work closely with US Sailing, NWISA/ISSA, and class associations to bring opportunities to youth sailors in our area. Youth is a broad term and includes sailors ranging from 8-year-old Opti sailors to college sailors. Success is measured in terms of regional growth and competitive strength. KPIs include participation in area summer learn-to-sail programs, number of high school sailing teams, NWYRC Summer Series attendance, number of new instructors certified, the depth of various youth fleets, and success of northwest sailors at the national level. None of this is achievable without working closely with area coaches and program directors. Our ideal candidate will be able to quickly form strong relationships with area leaders. In this role you will often be coaching the coaches. Being credible, knowledgeable, and comfortable in a mentorship/advisory role is very important. If a high tide floats all boats, then you are the moon!

The nature of this job revolves with the seasons. Winter is a quiet time of year here, with most sailing activities suspended during December-January. It’s a time to focus on planning, fundraising, professional development, and indoor events, like our annual Coaches Clinic and Safety at Sea Seminars. It’s also a time for enjoying the mountains! Spring arrives in mid-February, and with it the return of on-the-water activities. Some of our best sailing happens in mid-late spring when HS sailing, clinics, and instructor certification are in full swing. By mid-May, the focus shifts towards summer and the Northwest Youth Racing Circuit. Plan to drop in on some staff training sessions in June and run at least one bigger Seattle area clinic prior to summer.


Once school is out, you’ll attend most NWYRC summer regattas. These regattas are a great opportunity to work directly with sailors and network with parents and coaches. You can also count on spending a couple of weeks in the Columbia Gorge each summer, coaching at one of North America’s best dinghy sailing venues. Depending on which events are happening on the West Coast, summer is also a time to rally “Team Northwest'' and travel as a group to out-of-area championships. Fall is a time to build on the momentum of summer and onboard new racers to Opti and high school sailing teams around the area. After Halloween, most sailing is limited to weekends, and it’s once again time to focus on planning for next year.

This position is funded through several streams, including an endowment, LifeSling royalties, and private donations. A substantial portion of the funding is generated through fundraising campaigns, event/program fees, and grants. The Youth Director will be expected to help fund their position through these activities. Therefore, a candidate with an entrepreneurial spirit and/or non-profit/business acumen is highly desirable. For a candidate with wide-ranging skills and experience who enjoys challenges and managing their own schedule, this is a great opportunity to live and work in one of the best places in the country.

Reports to: Board of Directors- Youth Committee

Start Date: Preferably Summer 2023 or earlier

Commitment: Full time, year-round position

Compensation: $70,000- $80,000/year DOE (salaried/overtime exempt)

Benefits: Matching IRA retirement plan, bonus eligible, annual COLA adjustment

Schedule: Depends on the season, highly flexible, includes many evenings and weekends

Location: Work from home (preferably based out of the greater Seattle/Tacoma area)

Travel: Regular travel throughout WA/OR/BC (driving) and occasional travel out of region


Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Attend regattas/practices around the area, working with both sailors and local coaches to develop their skills
  • Serve as the head coach of “Team Northwest” (a conglomerate travel team)
  • Lead clinics for area youth sailors. This may involve recruiting and supervising additional coaches.
  • Strengthen the pipeline of instructors, coaches, and sailing directors through training and mentorship. This includes both formal training courses and informal events like our annual Coaches’ Clinic.
  • Ensure Sailing Foundation assets are in good working order; repair/replace as necessary.
  • Propagate a culture of safety, fun, and learning at all levels of the sport. Inform parents, coaches, and sailors of various competitive and non-competitive sailing pathways. Emphasize developing life-long sailors.

  • Coordinate clinics, regattas, and other opportunities based on need/demand.
  • Attend Sailing Foundation meetings as necessary. Collaborate with board members and assist as needed in other Sailing Foundation activities and events like Safety at Sea. Regularly update the board with planning, goals, and other relevant information.
  • Maintain and websites and a youth sailing calendar with events and activities. Manage TSF social media accounts and publish an annual report.
  • Maintain records: vehicle/vessel documentation/maintenance records, expense reports, database of sailors/alumni/parents/donors, regatta results, etc.
  • Manage the Northwest Youth Racing Circuit. This involves scheduling, assisting hosts with regatta/event planning (NORs, SIs, registration, etc.) and recruiting/training/supervising volunteers etc.
  • Maintain existing relationships with sponsors/donors and cultivate new ones.
  • Maintain all applicable certifications (some of which may be listed below) and pursue professional development opportunities as directed.

Minimum Education/Certifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree

  • US Sailing Smallboat Level One (Current NASBLA, CPR/First Aid, SafeSport etc.)

  • Valid Driver’s License

  • Ability to pass a background check

Preferred Education/Certifications

  • US Sailing Instructor Trainer (any level)

  • US Sailing Level 2/3 Coach Certification

  • US Sailing Certified Race Officer (any level)

  • Degree/certification program related to Education, Business, Non-Profit Management, or Outdoor Recreation

Sailing/Coaching Qualifications

  • Demonstrated success as a one-design racer

  • 5+ years as a coach and/or program director at the high school, college, club, or elite level

  • Familiarity and competency in common youth classes (Opti, ILCA, C420, 29er, etc.)

  • High degree of technical knowledge and understanding related to tuning, trim, and speed development

  • In-depth understanding of the Racing Rules of Sailing

  • Regatta management experience as either a PRO, regatta chair, class rep, or senior race official.

  • Ability to do basic boat work and repairs (splicing, gel coat, fiberglass, etc.)

  • Familiarity with powerboat systems and ability to perform basic powerboat maintenance

  • Comfortable launching/retrieving powerboats, driving trailers, and securing boats for the road

Management/Administrative Qualifications

  • High-level executive functioning skills

  • Self-starter who completes tasks and takes initiative without constant supervision

  • Ability to lead and inspire others

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

  • Experience with non-profit organizations and their administration

  • Tech savvy (fluent with Zoom, cloud collaboration, registration software, website management, social media, etc.)

  • Demonstrated success managing staff/volunteers

  • Demonstrated success organizing regattas or other large events

  • Demonstrated success in development (fundraisers, donor solicitation, grant writing etc.)

  • Familiarity and/or existing relationships with orgs like ISSA, ICSA, US Sailing, and class associations

Offers of employment are contingent on passing a criminal background check. Job descriptions are intended to present a descriptive list of the range of duties performed by employees in the position and are not intended to reflect all duties performed with the job.


To apply send a resume, cover letter, and two references, at least one of which is professional, to:

Or complete the Sail1Design application below 

First Review of Applicants Feb. 10, 2023


Andrew Nelson
4817 Lake Washington BLVD NE
Kirkland WA 98033
United States
The Sailing Foundation Andrew Nelson

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