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Sailfest is is a two week long event dedicated to raising funds to provide access to education for the least-advantaged children in our Mexican community of  Zihuatanejo. We believe that education is the key to breaking the poverty cycle and creating a better future for all. Our focus ranges from preschool up to university students, and we work closely with the community to identify areas of need and provide educational support. Besides building safe and secure learning environments we also provide scholarships for students to go to college who would otherwise have no way to do so. We invite you to be a part of our mission and join us in making a lasting impact on the community.

Sailfest is a Por Los Ninos del Municipio de Zihua AC  *reg NMZ180426EJ3, sanctioned event. 

Richard and Gloria.jpg

Founders of Sailfest

Richard & Gloria Bellack.

Sailfest began in 2002, as the result of a chance meeting between long-time ex-pats, Richard and Gloria Bellack, and a sailboat named Latitude 38 (of sailboat magazine fame). 


The Bellacks were already involved with a local indigenous school called Escuela Primaria Netzahualcoyotl, and were more than happy to accept the boatload of supplies the sailors had brought with them. Word soon spread, and a few dozen other cruisers decided to join in a weekend of boat races, raffles and fun to raise money for indigenous children. The makeshift fundraiser with the help of other ex-pats and locals, raised $1500 US, in its inaugural year, which was then matched by the Bellack Foundation......and so Sailfest began!  

​By 2023, Sailfest has expanded to a two-week-long festival through the combined efforts of sailors, ex-pats, locals and various businesses and organizations such as Rotary and the city of Zihuatanejo. Millions of pesos have been raised through a variety of events which include land events of silent and live auctions and raffles all donations from local merchants, restaurants and hotels. There are also free events to attend, the Welcome Party, Chili Cook-off, School tour, and a new event in 2023 the Parade of Students, which was a huge success of color, tradition and fun.  Musicians, student talent and restaurants also give to the Benefit concert and Gala making these events successful and not to be missed. Cruisers come from as far away as England, France, Germany, Canada and the USA for this annual event. In its best year, (2005) the bay of Zihuatanejo had over 100 boats in its harbour. Although the number of boats has diminished the enthusiasm has not.  Sailors welcome guests onboard – by donation – for Sunset cruises, Music cruises, Rally Round the Rock, Sail parade and special events can also be arranged. Over the years, monies raised have helped thousands of children in Zihuatanejo from scholarships and tuition to providing uniforms, school supplies, shoes and nourishment (30,000 meals a year) through a program called Rice and Beans. Sailfest donations are responsible for over 175 projects which include new and repaired classrooms, kitchens, bathrooms.

Sailfest History

23 years of history

Check back later for details. 

Por Los Ninos

Por Los Ninos  is a non-profit association which was created by Sailfest and the Bellack Foundation to administer and distribute the funds raised by Sailfest related activities. 

Por Los NInos del Municipio de Zihua AC *reg NMZ180426EJ3

Click below for more information on Sailfest spendings. 

porlosnininos horz with new sail_edited-

Los Ninos Inc provide funds for Por Los Niños’ construction projects, the nutrition program and much-needed scholarships. U.S. tax receipts will be provided for eligible donations to U.S. citizens. 

The Society for the Advancement of the Children of Zihua - SACZ was incorporated in 2023  # S0076005 and has Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) Charitable Organization Status to facilitate donations to Por Los Ninos for construction, the nutrition program, scholarships, and an emergency children’s medical fund. 

Donations can be made in Canadian dollars through PayPal on:

by interact e-transfer to


Canadian Tax-deductible receipts will be provided at the end of the calendar year for eligible donations

Sailfest Sponsors

We could not put on this event without the generosity and passion of our sponsors who provide

                  - donations for the auctions

                  - musicians who donate their time and talent each year

                  - our panel of volunteers who provide their professional skills and expertise

                  - the list goes on and on

But most importantly are the local businesses of the Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa area. Please go out and  support these organizations and businesses and tell them that Sailfest sent you! 

Our Impact

Over the years we have had a lot of fun putting on this event, but that's not what it's all about. It's about the children and the impact we have had on them. In the past 20+ years, Sailfest funds and your generous donations have raised millions of pesos. Here is what was accomplished up to 2023.


New constructions and refurbished: 

  • 175 projects which include new and repaired classrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, playgrounds and multi-purpose covered outdoor spaces

  •  46 new and existing schools. 


Scholarships & sponsorships:

  • assist smart, motivated students to fulfill their educational dreams often cut short  due to poverty.



  • Rice and Beans program feeds up to 129 students a day at Casa Para Ninos del Pacifico, which is approximately 30,000 meals a year.

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