Just for Youth Organizations

"Sisters Under Sail provided our Girl Scouts with an invaluable leadership experience."

Jennifer Smith Turner ~ CEO

Girl Scouts of Connecticut

re you responsible for selecting a quality leadership program for the female student population you serve? Would you like to provide a group of girls with an adventure of a lifetime? Looking for an authentic – not prefabricated - learning environment that will enhance a girls’ belief in herself?

Imagine girls –all shapes, sizes and abilities – climbing aboard a 110-foot tall ship for the first time. Their eyes big as saucers as they examine the size of the vessel. In awe of the height of the 2-masts and heavy sails. Surrendering to the experience and putting themselves in the capable hands of Tallship Unicorn’s professional all-female crew. Courageously, they climb the rigging, navigate the day's course, set sails alongside their sisters, and take the helm of the ship in their hands.

Clearly, an empowering experience.

“I just wanted to thank you for this great experience.  I have memories that will last a lifetime.  Most importantly, I want to thank you for helping me overcome many of my fears.  Your ship is beautiful!  Your crew is awesome! I have attached a picture of all 6 of the girls, for you to remember us by. My bruises will fade, but my memories will last forever.”

Kelly ~ age 14
Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club
Bronx, New York City


45% of the population we serve
are under-represented youth

Sisters Under Sail is a leadership program exclusively for teenage girls. We use a traditionally rigged topsail schooner, Tallship Unicorn, as our experiential learning lab. As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Corporation, our program mission is to build a young girl’s confidence and self-esteem, increase social conscience and teach how empowering it is to work with your sisters towards a common goal.

Sail training has long been recognized as a character-building experience for young people,” says Dawn Santamaria, Founder & Executive Director of Sisters Under Sail and Co-Owner of Tallship Unicorn. “As a mother of four daughters, I know from our family's personal sailing experience aboard our own tall ship that sail training, specifically for young girls, builds confidence, and teaches responsibility and respect for themselves, for their fellow crew members and their ship.

Each morning, we focus the girls on a specific lesson to be learned through their shipboard activities for that particular day. Then, after dinner, through facilitated discussions and journaling exercises the girl’s process and translate their day’s learning’s to real life lessons. This is a journey of self-discovery.

The heart of Sisters Under Sail program,” says Santamaria, “is in the daily group discussions designed to connect the dots between the girl’s shipboard experience while at sea and real life lessons such as authentic teamwork, courage to overcome fears, no contribution too small and staying on the right course.”

“Can I climb aboard as a stow-away!”

We understand your desire to participate. And, you still can. Become a sponsor of a deserving teenage girl that has all the potential in the world, but lacks the financial ability to put herself aboard.

Sisters Under Sail has put over 450 teenage girls at the helm in the past seven sold out summers. Many of these students came aboard via youth organizations such as Girl Scouts of America,  Boys and Girls Club of America, Chicago Public School System, Chicago Yacht Club Foundation and Nova Scotia’s SEASTAR organization. Others have joined us through the generous support of community sponsorship partners.

“Our girls not only learned the fundamentals of sailing, they also gained self-confidence, self-reliance, learned to believe in themselves and to respect different cultures and each other. They worked as a team to strategize the team-oriented activities and mastered their social skills as they lived in tight quarters with girls they never met before. They all agreed it was an experience of a lifetime!”

Kimberly Klima ~ Associate Chief Operating Officer
Girls Scouts of Lake Erie Council


Summer 2012

Sailing as the only all-female crewed tall ship in the world offering not-for-profit leadership programming for teenage girls, Sisters Under Sail makes headlines! Sisters Under Sail will sail New England in Summer 2012 with port stops in West Point, Perth Amboy, New London, Newport, Boston, P’town on the Cape and Mystic Seaport. While in port the girls will be escorted into town to souvenir shop and scout out the nearest ice cream parlor. Closer ports means lots of sailing, anchoring and swimming!

The 2012 season offers 8 programs. Space is limited to only six girls per passage and we fill up quickly.

You too can reserve space for your group of students. Take an entire week or sponsor a couple of girls on any particular passage.

Sisters Under Sail will be sailing the Great Lakes in 2013.
Schedule coming soon!

We are here to answer your questions and address your specific needs. Give our office a call and speak with Dawn Santamaria directly at 908-713-1808.

Put your girls at the helm…of life!

And, give them a valuable leadership experience.