Santa Barbara > Community > Organizations > Santa Barbara Sea Shell Association
In 1948, Ray Kieding was looking for a small sailboat his boys could use in the Santa Barbara Harbor. He had two Sea Shells shipped out in kit form from the Hagerty Company in Massachusetts. Within a few years, more than a dozen families were racing Sea Shells, and the competition began. Twenty-four boats were registered in 1950 when trophies for recognition of season overall winners were first awarded.

The Sea Shell was to become a nationally recognized class of sailing pram, with the boats built and equipped according to strict class rules.

   Santa Barbara Sea Shell Association
   Contact: Lorraine Woodman
   Phone: (805) 967-6849


Santa Barbara has boasted the nation's largest Sea Shell fleet with some 60 families and 80 skippers typically participating in the program.

The Sea Shell racing fleet was incorporated in 1955 as a non-profit public benefit corporation, organized for the specific purpose of fostering healthy child development and close family units by teaching, developing and encouraging youth sailing skills.

Each racing season begins in the Spring with the introduction of thefundamentals of sailing to new skippers and families. Races are held every Sunday (except August, the month Sea Shells reserves for family vacations), and skippers are divided into four divisions according to their experience.

The wooden Sea Shells were typically built by a few local craftsmen. In 1990, following the death of long-time builder-craftsman Charlie Eldridge, the Association searched for a commercially available sailboat, similar to the Sea Shell, that could assure the availability of boats for the youth sailing program. In 1991 the Association selected the US Sabot as an additional one-design class racer to be raced by Sea Shell Skippers.