Sandberg is now "adopting" an inner-city charter high school in Oakland with the idea of getting all of the students out on San Francisco Bay.
Q: You founded the Olympic Circle Sailing Club, which has 50 boats and 80 employees. Over the years, more than 25,000 people have learned to sail there. Now you're adopting the Envision Academy of Arts & Technology?
A: I met this young woman, Kirsten Grimm, Envision's principal, and I was amazed by her. Oakland has a dropout rate of something like 50 percent, and Grimm had 100 percent of her seniors accepted at college last year. I've committed to getting Envision's students sailing this year as a first step toward creating a sailing team at the school. My evil plan is that within two to three years, these young people will be competing with private schools and prep school kids - and winning.
Q: How will this be funded?
A: I'll get funding, but I can't be held up by that. My boat owners (at the Olympic Circle Sailing Club) are saying, "You can use my boat for free." I went to my 45 instructors and they are saying, "Sure, count on me." I'm going to ask members to put in $25 each. And I'm going to raise money. The program is going to be called East, for Envision Academy Sailing Team.
Q: How will this enhance the students' lives?
A: I think fun is one of the biggest things. It's something more than cold hard streets. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from sports. This will be a healthy thing for them to do. If they're in a sailing gang, they're just pushing water around. And if they get out and want to know how to go faster, or where the bay comes from, there are lessons in that. They can learn to sail and then offer their skills up anywhere.
Q: Tell me about some of your recent salons on San Francisco Bay, in terms of the mix of people.
A: I had David Blume making ethanol out of any organic material. I had a master martial artist who teaches athletes to use the mechanics of the body. I had Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang, who make art out of the plastic pollution they've gathered along a beach in Point Reyes. I had a former Citibank executive who left to become a minister.
Q: You also run an adventure travel program four months out of the year. What trips stand out?
A: In October, I went to Africa. I had a Land Rover with a tent on top, and I set out to drive across Namibia. I did a trek over the Andes, on a brand new trail to Machu Picchu. At the end of last year, I had a very personal trip to Costa Rica for health and rejuvenation. I was turning 65 and I said, "What have I done with my 65 years? What do I really want to do?"
Q: What did you learn?
A: I spent eight weeks there, no e-mail, no distractions. I've come back even happier and with more clarity. I realized that 80 percent of the stuff I do is noise. I cut it out. I was involved with 24 nonprofits last year. I want to make a difference, but that's too many. Now it's three nonprofits. I was out at events five or six nights a week. Now it's two. Less is more. Saying no is good.
Q: How does the sailing program at Envision Academy play into your enhanced clarity?
A: I'm going to take this one school and get every kid on the water. Every kid will get sailing lessons. Those who want to become a part of a racing team, I can make that happen. I'll have these kids racing against the richest kids in the country. “Thanks” for contribution from Julian Guthrie- a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.