Meet the Team
Michael graduated from the University of Miami, where he was an active member of the university sailing team. Michael also crewed in the BBYRA series on Tom Seghi’s Henderson 30 and Melges 24, as well as Sean Brown’s J/24. Michael lives in Boulder Colorado where he operates a political campaign and finance consultant firm.
Michael graduated from the University of Miami, where he served as president of the University of Miami’s sailing club and continued sailing through the BBYRA racing circuit in Miami. Michael continues to live in Miami as a sustainability and resilience consultant. He also continues to travel to Haiti for SFS missions and explore the country’s many empty surfing spots.
Jay Smith has been collaborating with Sails for Sustenance for five years through his involvement as an officer of the New Orleans Yacht Club. In addition to being a life-long sailer, he is also a charter member of the Haiti-New Orleans Heritage Task Force. Jay’s business experience has taken him all over the World and he is excited to be part of the SFS team.
In 2006, as students at the University of Miami, Michael Carcaise and Michael Laas travelled to Haiti with Project Medishare to gather data for an engineering project. In discussion with Project Medishare’s then-Programs Coordinator Jennifer MacCormack, Mr. Carcaise and Mr. Laas conceived of an organization to mobilize the U.S. sailing community to support subsistence fishermen of Haiti.
As former officers of the UM Sailing Club, Mr. Carcaise and Mr. Laas pieced together the first load of 14 sails from the Club’s obsolete unused inventory. The first load was sent to the remote village of Abricots, Haiti and consisted of, among others, Laser II, Sonar, and Hobie catamaran sails.
Since that time, Sails for Sustenance (SFS) was formed as a non-profit corporation in the State of Florida and obtained 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. Through a partnership with Coconut Grove Sailing Club over 200 sails were collected in the South Florida area. The SFS mission has been embraced by the greater sailing community and volunteers have collected sails on behalf of SFS in cities such as Chicago, IL, Rochester, NY, Hyannisport, MA, Washington, DC, and Levittown, PA. Individual donors have shipped sails to SFS HQ in Miami from all over the United States, including California, Texas, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Louisiana.
To date, Sails for Sustenance has collected several thousand sails. Fishermen in the Haitian villages of Abricots, Grand Sable, Testas, Bon Bon, and Dame Marie have received sails from SFS with the help of Food for the Poor, Fondation Paradis des Indiens, Hope for Haiti, and Haitian Health Foundation.
In 2019, the SFS team added a new member to the team – Jay Smith. Jay brings years of business leadership experience and a deep passion for sailing as an active member of the New Orleans Yacht Club. He will be stepping into a new role as the Executive Director, tasked with strengthening the operational footprint of SFS and spearheading several new initiatives that will expand the mission of the organization.