Vela Foundation programs operate at the interface of mapped and unmapped cultural terrain.


Sailing brings out the best in us. It calls forth the noblest elements of our humanity: our care for one another, our lucid perception of the world around us, our gentle hearts opening to a reality beyond words. The world is a lively place and simply sailing around feeling groovy strikes us as a pretty insufficient expression of our capacities. Thus we are moved to ask:

Approaches to Programming

We design and conduct our primary programs in accordance with our central values. Our inaugural activities will take place 2020; we'll add details here as programs are confirmed.

Once we have established some momentum, we also intend to develop participant-driven programs. In this approach, foundation leadership will maintain a strategic vision regarding the kinds of programs the organization will sponsor, but won't define them directly. Instead, participants will propose programs rooted in our central values. We will then evaluate, approve, guide, and coordinate these additional offerings.

In either case, our programming will remain flexible and open-ended while clustering into three primary areas of endeavor, which themselves fall broadly along the lines of our values.

Given our current early stage of growth, it's not yet feasible to describe future programs in detail. We can, however, imagine some possibilities.

Value Example Programs
  • Itinerant medical clinic & lab
  • Refugee transport
  • Marine medical training
  • Cargo transport (charitable/humanitarian goods)
  • Think tanks, seminars, conferences, roundtables, workshops
  • Scientific research expeditions
  • Island permaculture
  • Cargo transport (commodity/commercial goods)
  • Artistic residencies, tours, collaborations
  • Freediving expeditions
  • Cultural exchange expeditions
  • Contemplative practice

Why Sailing?

The ancient pursuits of seamanship and navigation are perhaps the most exquisite of human endeavors. The challenges we find at sea are complex, continually emergent, and potentially life-threatening; thus they summon a remarkable cross-section of our highest potentials. Engagement with this body of practical knowledge pushes the limits of a group’s capacity, forging antifragile and effective teams. It binds shipmates into cohesion, integrating individual and collective responsibility.

Sailing is also great fun. At its best, it encompasses not only focused social intimacy, but an experience of the natural world at a level of immediacy rarely encountered under other circumstances. A sailing voyage can and should be an experience of bountiful essentials: shared home-cooked meals, music, conversation, swimming, stargazing, silence, sunrises, sunsets, creatures wild and free. A happy ship is the happiest of all possible places.

Imagine a crew who relate to one another with kindness, who meet enormous challenges with skillful wisdom, who enjoy the ineffable grace of life with blissful enthusiasm. These people can fulfill great works.