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youth will be served

csabi

Inaugural U.S. J/70 Youth Championship Preview

The inaugural U.S. J/70 Youth Championship will be taking place this weekend from August 10th to 13th, hosted by the amazing team at SAIL NEWPORT at their extraordinary Fort Adams Sailing Facility in Newport, RI.

Nine teams are participating from across the country, including teams from California to Maine, and from northern Michigan down to southern Florida.  The teams qualified by sailing in major regattas across the country, including many of Sailing World’s famous NOOD Regattas- San Diego, Annapolis, Chicago, and Marblehead.  What was notable about many of the youth teams were their remarkable performances against some of the top J/70 teams across America, many finishing in the top half of large “open” J/70 events that included some of the world’s top professional sailors in the J/70 class (many of them Olympic Medallists and World Champions in various classes).

The teams qualified for their sailing clubs in the hopes of winning one of the most unique prizes in the world of sailing- FREE use of a J/70 for your sailing club for an entire twelve (12) months!  FREE to use for the youth keelboat program, for members to race in J/70 events, to introduce women sailors to the easy-to-sail J/70, and so forth- in other words, the only limitation for using the J/70 is your imagination!

From the West Coast, the sole representative is the Santa Barbara YC from Santa Barbara, CA.  From the Midwest is the Little Traverse YC from Harbor Springs, MI.  There are two teams from Florida, the St Petersburg YC in St Petersburg, FL and the Coral Reef YC from Miami, FL.  From the Chesapeake Bay are two teams, the Annapolis YC from Annapolis, MD and the Severn Sailing Association from Eastport, MD. Finally, from the northeast are three more teams, Eastern YC from Marblehead, MA, MudRatz Sailing Club from Stonington, CT, and Sail Newport from Newport, RI.

The teams are looking forward to a short-course, college-style racing format- “stadium sailing” at its best right off Newport Harbor, between Goat Island and Rose Island just south of Newport Bridge.  On-shore at Goat Island is an enormous, New England-style, open-air pavilion to watch the racing taking place in front on Narragansett Bay.  Up to 27 races are planned for the nine teams, so it will be “thrill-a-minute” racing, each one taking just 15-20 minutes each.

Today, Tim Healy and Will Welles from North Sails provided an on-the-water clinic for the J/70 Youth teams.  It was time well-spent for many, as the youth teams grilled both Tim and Will (each J/24 World Champions and Tim the first J/70 World Champion) about nuances in boat-handling and trimming.

The weather forecast is promising, with mostly southerly winds, sunny skies, and between 8-15 kt winds each day!  The Sail Newport PRO will be Kevin Dooley, the Offshore Racing Coach for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.  Kevin is the principal PRO for all major USCGA events- like the famous Danmark Trophy, all J/70 events on the river, all team racing events (where 60+ races a weekend are not uncommon), and all offshore events for the big boats.

This event can only happen with the help of some amazing people and sponsors.  For starters, “thanks” to Bob Johnstone’s MJM Yachts for providing the winning prize- the J/70 for FREE use by a sailing club for 12 months.  If some sailors might recall, Bob J. was responsible for starting the first U.S. Youth Championships in Wilmette, IL back in 1973 in both 470s and Lasers.  Many of the world’s top sailors today were participants in those first three years in Wilmette- including Augie Diaz, Carl Buchan, and Peter Commette.  In addition, Peter and Olaf Harken from HARKEN in Pewaukee, WI are significant contributors to the “youth movement”, promoting their “Blockheads” sailing program for youth teams.

Click here for more U.S. J/70 Youth Championship sailing information

 

csabi

August 10th, 2017

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