by Jake Fish
Up to 200 of the best singlehanded sailors in the Western Hemisphere will descend on Long Beach for the 2014 Laser North American Championships and U.S. Singlehanded Championship in a combined regatta this week. The top eligible male Laser and female Radial sailor will be named U.S. Singlehanded Champions. The regatta will be hosted by the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club. Four days of racing gets underway Thursday, June 12 and concludes Sunday, June 15.
U.S. Singlehanded Sailing Championships 2013
Adults, juniors and masters, male and female, and members of the U.S. and Canadian national sailing teams and other competitors from Canada to the Caribbean and South America will race in three classes: Laser Full, Laser Radial and Radial 4.7.
Two of the top Americans, Charles Buckingham and Chris Barnard of Newport Beach, will have their sights set on both titles this week, as will the 2006 US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and 2012 Olympian Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.). All three sailors are members of the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider.
With the growth of one-design sailing in the U.S. and with ever more events in the sailing calendar, it became clear that the traditional qualifying series was limiting the number of sailors who could compete for the U.S. Singlehanded Championships.
Liz Walker, US Sailing Championship Director said, 'Our goal is to allow more people to have a chance to compete for these historic championships. As the Laser class is one of the largest singlehanded classes in the world, identifying the top U.S. singlehanded sailors this year through the North Americans is a natural fit.'
Who is eligible to be named U.S. Singlehanded Champion? Sailors must be at least 17 years of age in the calendar year and current members of US Sailing and the Laser class. All the sailors will be scored as one fleet with the highest eligible male Laser sailor winning the O’Day Trophy and the highest female Radial sailor winning the Hanley Trophy.
The race committee plans to run three races daily on trapezoid courses inside or outside the Long Beach Harbor breakwater starting at 12 p.m. PDT each day, conditions permitting.
For more information about the 2014 U.S. Singlehanded Championship, including real-time Twitter updates from the course, visit the event website.
The U.S. Singlehanded Championship is sponsored by Gill North America and Hobie Polarized Sunglasses. This is a Sailors for the Sea certified event.
Visit the 2014 Laser North American Championships website for more details about the entire event.