With a Little Help from her StFYC Friends

The StFYC community came together on Wednesday, February 28, in a historic way to help one of our most deserving young members, Daniela Moroz.

After escaping Eastern Europe via separate routes, Vlad Moroz and Linda Moser discovered each other as fellow windsurfers on San Francisco Bay. Though neither spoke English or had family in the Bay Area, they worked their way through college, advanced professionally, windsurfed whenever they could, and in a script for the American Dream, brought their daughter Daniela into their new world. While still a toddler, they introduced her to ballet, swimming and windsurfing. As she grew, Daniela also excelled at tennis, skiing, and at age 11, Vlad introduced Daniela to kiteboarding. By age 13, Daniela was faster than many of the adults at StFYC’s Thursday Night Racing Series and her competitive career caught fire.

At age 14, Daniela joined the Hydrofoil Pro Tour. At age 15, she spoke at her first Wednesday Yachting Luncheon, just before competing in and winning her first Formula Kite World Championship and being named Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. At age 16, she spoke at her second WYL before winning the Hydrofoil Pro Tour of Mexico, San Francisco, Mauritius and Australia. Since then, Daniela has had a target on the back of her wetsuit as riders worldwide have tried to knock her off the podium. Her amazing discipline and work ethic proved invaluable as she won the next five World hampionships in a row. In 2019, Formula Kite was admitted as an Olympic sport and Daniela started dreaming about the five rings.

After winning six consecutive World Championships and being named Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year four times, in 2023, Daniela became the first sailor named to the US Olympic Sailing Team for the 2024 Paris Games in 2024 and the first American kiter ever nominated for the Games. The fastest competitors of all Summer Olympic sports, Formula Kiters foil on a four-pound carbon-fiber board above the water at speeds of up to 50 mph. Though their racecourse is the longest of all sailing events, Formula Kiters are so fast that the average race is over in less than 15 minutes.

Thanks to the generosity of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, the US Sailing Foundation, her family and friends, Daniela raised $110,000 for her Olympic program through 2023. In January 2024, Daniela asked if we could help her raise the additional $50,000 she needed to be competitive at the Paris Olympic Games. We scheduled Daniela’s third Wednesday Yachting Luncheon for February 28, and made phone calls. We found a receptive audience in Bruce & Debbie Smith, who agreed to match up to $10,000 in contributions made to Daniela’s campaign. The offer was big enough to anchor a friendly funding appeal among other members. Paul Cayard’s AmericaOne Foundation joined with a major contribution and Windmark Sailing Foundation on Long Island Sound agreed to offer a 50% bonus on all donations from individuals. The stage was set as luminaries filled the Starting Line Room, including five World Champions, three Olympians, two past Presidents of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, the President of the AmericaOne Foundation, the President of US Sailing, and 112 other fans to watch Daniela’s terrific WYL presentation and her sparkle during the spirited Q&A session. The audience was very receptive and with a little help from her friends, the pledges began to pop up around the room. Bruce and Debbie raised their match to $15,000, more Members joined the bidding and Daniela far exceeded her funding objectives! Daniela and her parents offered their heartfelt thanks to the crowd, which was jubilant, knowing they had helped her afford the best technology and sails as well as on-location practice sessions with the most skilled training partners on the planet!

Yacht clubs are often about more than a friendly shake of dice cups at the bar. They can help hard-working young sailors with inspiring dreams harness the power of camaraderie for a win-win among athletes and fellow Members. We can’t really help Daniela select the perfect kite or training partner for each venue or wind strength, but we can provide her with the funding to make those choices herself.

Thank you and congratulations for the incredible support you have provided one of the youngest and most qualified sailors the Bay Area has ever sent to the Olympics!