O’Pen BIC North American Champs - Unconventional excites youth sailors
by Nevin Sayre on 26 Aug 2011
O’Pen BIC North American Championships gracious hosts were the Buffalo Canoe Club. The B.C.C. has a rich tradition of accomplished sailors, hosting major international events, and have wholeheartedly embraced the O’Pen BIC for youth sailing.
O'Pen BIC Giant Slalom at the North American Champs - O'Pen BIC North American Championships Albert Heller
Before the event some of the sailors (but mostly parents) were nervous about the 'Un-Regatta' format that they had not yet experienced. By the end of day two, boat handling skills had improved tremendously, the top sailors led the standings, and big smiles were all around. Twelve races were scored with a variety of unconventional courses, required freestyle moves, Le Mans starts, and Giant Slalom. The kids loved the variety, fast pace, and relaxed attitude. In the end one point separated Ben Folds over Robbie Robinson, with Tanner Probst closely in third.
The event concluded with the ever-popular freestyle 'Expression Session'. Three minute heats allowed the sailors to show their stuff in a loosely competitive assortment of hood ornaments, wheelies, mast climbs, and face plants. The enthusiastic crowd on the end of the dock went wild in the Finals Heat. Ben Folds wowed the crowd with competent mast tacks, boom yoga, and his 'walk-the-plank' centerboard dismount to take the crown.
O’Pen BIC 'Un-Regattas' are known for their focus on fun, learning, sportsmanship, and lower emphasis on results. There were several worthy candidates for the O’Pen BIC trophy from Rochester, Wawasee, and the Buffalo Canoe Club, but the panel of undistinguished judges could not help but recognize Garrett Grenauer for his infectious enthusiasm regardless of where he finished in the fleet.
All the sailors left the regatta energized by the experience and excited with the announcement that the 2012 O’Pen BIC World Championships will be hosted by Miami YC, November 1 to 3, 2012.