One of the oldest continually active one-design fleets in the country, the Shields Class organization positions itself as a sustainable racing class with a thoughtful and realistic look at its future and the future of one-design racing. Since its inception in the early 1960s by Cornelius Shields, it has always been guided by an enthusiastic group of sailors serious about racing and their boats. It is not an accident that they are still active, with nine fleets and over 250 boats from California to New England, and they are now taking the next step to maintain this venerable class with the creation of the 501c3 Shields Class Foundation.
The Foundation’s mission statement is simple: “To preserve one-design yacht racing competition and culture through the introduction and education of new adult and youth sailors to Shields Class sailing everywhere.” Organized as an educational charity, the foundation stands ready to assist the ongoing efforts of the class and fleets toward outreach and the recruiting of new members.
The Foundation will sponsor informational seminars on relevant topics as well as coordinate and assist with on-the-water instructional clinics. Consistent with its initiative to introduce new sailors to the class, it hopes to introduce the class to new sailors with a special focus on youth sailors at the club, college and community boating levels. The Shields fleets have a history of donating boats, hardware, spars, sails and trailers to local sailing organizations to help maintain the fleets.
The Shields Class Foundation has created a website to promote and guide the donations received from donors.
To learn more, visit shieldsclassfoundation.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and consider supporting this worthy endeavor and the future of one-design sailing. ■