On behalf of everyone at US Sailing, we want to wish you a Happy Holiday season. Thanks to your support, we made significant accomplishments in 2012, and are in great position to continue our momentum. We are proud to have you sailing with us into 2013.
2012 was a year of leadership for US Sailing. Our membership continued to grow as we welcomed many new sailors into US Sailing for the first time. Our ongoing initiatives in the area of safety through the investigations of sailing accidents provided sailors with recommendations and best practices to prevent these tragedies from occurring in the future. As a result of our report on the Full Crew Farallones Race out of San Francisco, the safety guidelines for racing in the Bay has been revised and are now easier to understand. Communications between sailors and the racing committees has improved, and complete data on crew is now more accessible than ever.
We have also developed new programs like US Sailing's REACH that provides a framework, with resources, lesson plans and guidelines to sailing organizations on STEM education for youth. Five pilot programs are already taking part in REACH and there has been over 80 downloads of the curriculum for this inspiring program.
We continue to listen to our members, volunteers and sailors about how we can improve the things we do and better serve the sport. Real progress has been made by focusing on our core programs and adapting them to 21st century sailors. US Sailing was proud to release The Racing Rules of Sailing for 2013-2016. For the first time, US Sailing is offering a special waterproof edition of the Racing Rules; a more durable option for the active sailor. We are also continuing our commitment to provide the Rules to sailors in a variety of platforms and make them easier to understand. New apps and e-books will be available starting in early 2013.
US Sailing has revamped the Small Boat Level 1 Instructor program by integrating new materials, including updated safety and recovery procedures. We have witnessed significant growth in this program over the past year. New research and materials have been incorporated into the Safety, Rescue and Support Boat Handling course and publication. This updated program is invaluable to the coaches, instructors and volunteers who are on the water with young sailors.
We have strengthened relationships with clubs and sailing organizations around the country. These local connections are crucial as we modernize and evolve our programs, create pathways that attract and keep folks sailing, and build broader support of US Sailing through membership growth. In 2012, a growing number of community sailing programs embraced Junior Olympic sailing festivals. We are also supporting those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, and working to connect them with useful information from our partners and constituents. By designating a staff contact and creating an online support center, we are able to collect resources for organizations as they rebuild their facilities, repair or replace boats and equipment.
We would like to congratulate Jen French and JP Creignou for a fantastic performance in winning a silver medal at the Paralympics, and to all our Olympic and Paralympic athletes for their unwavering commitment to representing our country at the Games with dignity and honor.
Volunteerism within our sport is alive and strong. We have an incredible community of passionate volunteers who dedicate tens of thousands of hours to our sport and enhance our overall sailing experience. We are looking forward to the exchange of new ideas, and the same energy that will help us move forward.
Members like you make all of this possible and by working together we can accomplish great things. Again, from all of us at US Sailing, thank you for helping us achieve our goals this year. We wish you smooth seas and outstanding sailing in 2013. Happy New Year!
US Sailing Executive Director