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USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival and Clinic this weekend

by Talbot Wilson on 30 Jun 2011
Dodge Rees, Pensacola’s own 17 year-old Olympic hopeful, will take his turn coaching young Laser sailors. Dodge Rees
More than fifty young Gulf Coast sailors will ride the waves on Pensacola Bay this weekend at the 10th annual Subway® Sailing Clinic and the USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival and Independence Day Regatta.

The festivities start on Friday July 1st with high-powered coaching clinics and conclude with the prizegiving ceremony on Sunday afternoon. Seven races are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday on courses in Pensacola Bay south of Plaza de Luna Park. Spectators are invited.

All Southeast and Gulf Coast sailors 8-21 years old have been invited to bring their Optimist Dinghys, Lasers, Club 420’s and Flying Scots to join the fun at this traditional fourth of July holiday regatta. The public is invited to come out on the bay to enjoy some spectacular racing and help PYC and these young sailors celebrate sailing. For details, reservations and registration click here.

Over the weekend, racing takes the spotlight with competition in nine racing classes: Opti Green, Red, White, and Blue fleets; Laser Full, Radial and 4.7 fleets; Flying Scots, Club 420’s depending on entries in various clases. The PYC committee predicts that there will be anywhere from 50-60 young sailors participating in the festival.

Clinics and practice are scheduled for Friday afternoon. Randy Smyth headlines the coaching slate. He is NW Florida’s sailing ace, the Tornado Class double silver Olympic medalist. Randy is well known to the international sailing community. He’s won more than 55 national and world championships, was a featured 1988 America’s Cup Sailor and a sought after coach. All the young sailors are excited to have Randy Smyth coaching at Friday’s clinics.

Dodge Rees, Pensacola’s own 17 year-old Olympic hopeful, will take his turn coaching young Laser sailors. Dodge is considered a legitimate Olympic sailing prospect by the US Sailing Olympic Sailing Committee. For the second year in a row, Dodge has been named to the US Sailing Olympic Development Team, as a member of the Laser Team (standard rig). He is very successful in both optimist racing and team racing and has moved into competitive international laser sailing.

It’s hard to be an Opti sailor or an Opti parent and not know Spencer Wiberley. He has been a US Optimist Dinghy Association and US National Team coach for 10 years and FAST (Fort Adams [RI] Sailing Team) coach for five years and will lead the Opti group through their drills. Spencer’s day job is sales manager for McLaughlin Boat Works, Opti builders based out of Chattanooga, TN. He brings skill and insight to the youngest group of sailors in the festival.

The Subway® Junior Sailing Clinic, and the 10th annual Independence Day Regatta and the US Sailing Junior Olympic Sailing Festival on the Gulf Coast are presented again this year by local SW Alabama and NW Florida SUBWAY® restaurants. Pensacola Yacht Club in Pensacola, Florida hosts the annual festival and regatta from the clubhouse located at the mouth of Bayou Chico on Cypress Street, Pensacola.

About the 2011 USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festivals - In its 15th season, the Junior Olympic Sailing program is a nationwide series of regattas for youth, ages eight to twenty-one. There are dozens of regattas slated for 2011 in the continental United States and Hawaii and over 5,000 sailors are expected to participate. The action begins with two events in June, and the series culminates with the 33rd annual Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta in Miami, the largest junior sailing event in the country.

This youth development program, nationally sponsored by West Marine, Gill North America, Active.com and Bull Frog, is a nationwide series of regattas hosted by yacht clubs and sailing organizations. They are designed to promote the enjoyment of sailing, develop the skills of young sailors, and to provide a pathway for hopeful Olympic competitors.

US Sailing’s JO program has inspired hundreds of young sailors to reach for their Olympic dreams. The medal ceremony at the end of each JO event is similar to that of the Olympic Games format, as class winners step up to the podium to collect gold, silver, and bronze Junior Olympic medals. Special fun prizes and sportsmanship awards are presented at many JO events.

Schedule of Events

Friday, July 1
8 am to 6 pm: Registration and Check-in
2 pm – Clinics on the Lawn
1:30 pm – Practice Starts

Saturday, July 2
8 am to 10 am: Late Check-in
10 am – Skipper’s Meeting
11:55 am – First Warning Signal
Four races are scheduled

Sunday, July 3
9:55 am – First Warning Signal
Three races are scheduled
No race started after 2:00 pm
Awards presentation at Club after last race

Pensacola Yacht Club website
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