After 10 years of planning and development, we are thrilled to announce that Community Sailing New Orleans will open its doors to the public in 2020. Next spring, children and adults with various backgrounds and abilities will have the opportunity to learn, grow and develop a love of sailing on Lake Pontchartrain.

CSNOI would not be at this pivotal point without the generous support and hard work of so many individuals. With numerous community partners, a solid business plan and the majority of our funding in place, we will soon be ready to launch. Details for the opening are being finalized. Stay tuned to the Community Sailing New Orleans Facebook page for updates.

We’re Hiring an Executive Director

Kate Neubauer, our interim executive director (no, she won’t move here from Newport – we tried) is actively recruiting CSNOI’s first full-time executive director. Kate has an extensive professional network throughout the national adaptive and community sailing worlds and is uniquely qualified to identify, evaluate and recruit top candidates. The expected start date will be in January or February. Here’s a summary of the position and qualifications:

The Board of Directors of Community Sailing New Orleans is hiring a talented professional who will advance CSNOI’s mission to positively impact lives by providing accessible educational and recreational opportunities on Lake Pontchartrain for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. The full-time, year-round executive director position is responsible for launching the pilot programs, hiring and supervising staff, and managing the day‐to‐day operations. The successful candidate will have proven experience in sailing, leadership and relationship management and the ability to achieve a set of first-year goals to make CSNOI an effective, mission-driven organization. To apply, send a cover letter and resume to [email protected].

The Fleet

CSNOI is in the process of building a versatile fleet that will serve the needs of all of the center’s many programs and sailors. When it officially opens to the public this spring, the center will have a fleet of 59 boats and paddle boards, including:

  • 7 Freedom Independence 20s. Designed by Gary Mull specifically for disabled sailors, the Freedom Independence 20 is durable, safe and stable with a large open cockpit and minimal obstructions. These boats will be the workhorse of the community sailing programs.
  • 18 Z420s
  • 10 Club 420s
  • 4 VSR 5.8R RIBs
  • 10 Optimists
  • 10 Stand Up Paddleboards

Meet Four Key Supporters of CSNOI

Community Sailing New Orleans is grateful to have the support of many organizations and individuals who are helping to build the center, shape our programs and make “sailing for all” a reality on Lake Pontchartrain. Let’s get to know four folks whose support has been vital to CSNOI: Rob and Libby Alexander, Kate Neubauer, and Jon Skvarka

Rob & Libby Alexander

Robert and Elizabeth “Libby” Connolly Alexander wouldn’t be together if not for college sailing. They met at a regatta, when Libby was sailing for Tulane, and Robert for Boston University.

Married now for 29 years, they are still sailing and actively helping the sport that has meant so much to them. In 2017, a generous gift from the Alexanders elevated Tulane University’s sailing program from a club sport to a varsity level team. Additional support from the couple also helped launch Community Sailing New Orleans, providing a home base for the Tulane Sailing Team. CSNOI’s site has been named the Alexander Community Sailing Center in their honor.

“Transformational opportunities do not come along every day. We very quickly saw that this would be great for Tulane sailing, New Orleans and the sport of sailing as a whole,” Libby said in a university media release. A 1984 alumna, she serves on the Tulane Board.

The Alexanders, who have four children, live in Rye, N.Y. Libby is the former vice chairman of the board of Cotiviti, Inc., “the successor company of her family’s retail and healthcare payment integrity business, Connolly, Inc.,” according to Tulane. Libby served as chief executive officer from 2012 to 2014 and CEO of Connolly Healthcare from 2007 to 2012.

Speaking at a Tulane event in 2017, Libby described the sport of sailing as having “a lasting and positive impact” on her life. She learned to sail in a yacht club program on Long Island Sound, while Robert grew up sailing with his father, but also “learned his way around a dingy” in a community sailing program in Stamford, Conn.

Now, thanks to their generous support of Community Sailing New Orleans and the Tulane Sailing Team, a new generation of sailors will get a chance to learn, thrive and excel at this lifelong sport.

Kate Neubauer

As CSNOI works hard to develop its community programs, we’re thrilled to have the guidance of Kate Neubauer, who is providing critical support as the organization conducts a national search for an executive director and prepares to open. Kate served as executive director of the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center for more than 10 years and has a wealth of experience in running and developing community and adaptive sailing programs. In 2012, she was honored with U.S. Sailing’s “Outstanding Director of a Year-Round Program” award, given annually to someone who has made notable contributions to promote public-access sailing.
Kate lives in Newport, R.I., and has previously served as program manager of 11th Hour Racing, a program of the Schmidt Family Foundation, and as chair of U.S. Sailing’s Community Sailing Committee. In 2015, she founded Neubauer Consulting Group and has worked on a wide range of environmental, sailing education and mission-based projects, ranging from grassroots nonprofit organizations to multimillion-dollar capital campaigns.

Kate grew up in Barrington, R.I., but didn’t start sailing until after she graduated from college. “I always loved the water and had an opportunity to go sailing on Lake Champlain when I moved to Burlington, Vermont,” Kate told WindCheck magazine. “It’s an amazing place to sail, surrounded by mountains and beautiful scenery, and I completely fell in love with the sport.”

Her passion for building programs for community and environmental education came together through sailing, and her extensive experience has been integral to setting a strong foundation for Community Sailing New Orleans.

“I’m thrilled to work with such dedicated individuals at CSNOI,” she said. “Next spring, when the doors open to the public, individuals of various backgrounds, abilities, ages and experiences will learn and play together on Lake Pontchartrain, and I truly believe New Orleans will be a better community because of it.”

Jon Skvarka

One of CSNOI’s main goals is to introduce sailing to underserved children in New Orleans. By opening access to Lake Pontchartrain to all, these students will have the chance to develop leadership skills, improve their self-esteem and experience the joys of being on the water. To help achieve that goal, CSNOI is proud to partner with LOOP NOLA, a program with a proven track record of providing positive, life-changing outdoor experiences for youth in the Greater New Orleans area.

Founded in 1997, LOOP NOLA began as a city program, then became a state program and now is an independent nonprofit organization. Since its founding, it has provided 20,000 students with outdoor adventures designed to help develop their social, emotional and academic skills. Last year, 2,800 young people ages eight to 24 participated in more than 12,000 hours of outdoor experiences with LOOP NOLA.

Once CSNOI’s community programs begin, LOOP NOLA will be able to add sailing to its current program offerings, which includes ropes course challenges, canoeing, camping and fishing.

LOOP NOLA’s executive director is Jon Skvarka. Originally from Pennsylvania, Jon spent a year in public service after college, working as an AmeriCorps VISTA in 2007 with Rebuilding Together New Orleans, a program of the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans. He then joined the program’s staff, and in 2012, he was promoted to director. At Rebuilding Together New Orleans, Jon managed an average annual budget of $3 million and 15 staff and AmeriCorps service members. He also managed several million-dollar grants, developed new partnerships, and coordinated large-scale volunteer events.

Wanting to focus his efforts on youth development, Jon became the executive director of LOOP NOLA in March 2016. “Growing up in a rural area, my backyard was the forest,” Jon said. “I loved being able to explore and learn in my own natural playground. I gained so many skills through the outdoors and the activities it offers, and that’s why I love working at LOOP NOLA. We are able to inspire New Orleans youth by alleviating barriers that keep them from natural areas and let them know that they have a place outdoors so they can access the benefits of playing outdoors just like I did.”

CSNOI is excited to work with Jon and LOOP NOLA to make sailing a sport for all in New Orleans.