by Nevin Sayre
When the second AC72 Challenger Finals races were postponed Saturday and Sunday due to 'too much wind', twenty-five youth sailors in O’Pen BICs hit the water at the America’s Cup Village Marina Green. They entertained the spectator crowd directly off the grand stands with the first ever O’Pen BIC Hi-Wind Slalom, part of the AC Open series.
O’’Pen BICs blasting
The youth sailors, ages 9-15, put on the show with reaching starts, hi-speed jibes, and required boat handling moves. Like the America’s Cup, the O’Pen BIC sailors were required to wear helmets- a first for youth sailing. While the AC72s showed their fragility over the weekend, the O’Pen BICs demonstrated their incredible versatility, durability, and flat-out-fun.
The selected junior sailors represented Team New Zealand, Artemis, and USA, but it was the Bermuda kids who led the way with Mikey Wollmann first and Peter Dill second. Mikey and Peter were fresh off their top ten finishes at the O’Pen BIC Worlds in Lake Garda, Italy. Harry Melges IV (grandson of America’s Cup and sailing legend, Buddy Melges) was third. Race results are not the ultimate measure at O’Pen BIC events, however. All the sailors improved dramatically, met new friends from all over the world, and excelled at O’Pen BIC Rule Number 1: Have Fun!