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2021 Youth Racing Summer preview by John Pearce

by John Pearce 16 Jun 09:18 PDT
Club 420 fleet © US Sailing

After pausing for most of 2020, youth racing is roaring back to life in 2021. As the fog clears and sailors get back out on the racecourse this season, there are many great events to choose from.

Sailors should look at a range of options when planning their racing schedule, including club and local racing, youth sailing circuits organized by regional associations, and national events organized by US Sailing and One Design Class Associations. Talk to local sailors about the "don't miss" regattas in your region, and go to US Sailing's One Design Central website to get connected to all of the action in various One Design Classes.

Development Principles

Before diving into the 2021 event highlights, I also want to make sure to remind youth sailors, coaches, and parents of a few overarching development principles:

  • Add variety to your sailing - You'll learn faster if you try different types of boats, different crew positions, and sail with and against adults. Check out this article for more details on why it is important to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone This Summer!
  • Balance practice and regatta time - Don't get me wrong, regattas are great! You get to compete, see your friends, and visit new sailing locations. BUT, practice makes perfect. Athlete development experts recommend spending roughly 70 percent of your time practicing, and 30 percent competing. Before you pack your summer calendar with back-to-back regattas, make sure you are giving yourself a chance to practice (and relax) between regattas. Check out the USOPC's American Development Model for more training best practices.
  • Always be learning - Anytime you are sailing, it is an opportunity to learn and improve. It doesn't have to be a structured practice or regatta; messing around with a few friends or cruising on your own is big part of learning. Make sure to keep this same attitude at regattas. Winning a race is great, but learning, improving, and having fun are even more important in the long run. Check out this video from Luther Carpenter, Head Coach of the US Sailing Team, about how to Own Your Training and always be learning.
Top 5 Events You Don't Want to Miss:

1). Learn from the Best and Get Inspired at a US Sailing Junior Women's Clinic

Click here to the Event Website.

When & Where:

  • *June 16-18: Alamitos Bay Yacht Club - Long Beach, CA
  • *June 25-27: Olympia Yacht Club - Olympia, WA
  • *June 25-27: Florida Yacht Club - Jacksonville, FL
  • *June 29-July 1: Old Dominion University - Norfolk, VA
  • July 13-15: Roger Williams University - Bristol, RI
  • July 13-15: Macatawa Bay Yacht Club - Macatawa, MI
  • July 15-17: Oklahoma City Boat Club - Oklahoma City, OK
(*) - asterisk indicates registration is closed.

Boat Classes:

  • ILCA 4 (4.7), ILCA 6 (Radial), Club 420, 29er
What You Need to Know:
  • Get coached by Olympians, US Sailing Team members, college coaches, and top female and male coaches! In place of the U.S. Junior Women's Singlehanded and Doublehanded National Championships, US Sailing is proud to offer a series of seven regional junior women's clinics. This unique series provides junior sailors with a chance to build their skills in an all-female environment and foster friendships for a lifetime. The three-day clinic will be comprised of group presentations, on the water drills and practice racing. Come get inspired!
2). Hone Your Skills and Have a Blast at a USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival

Click here to the Event Website.

When & Where:

Boat Classes:
  • Opti, O'Pen Bic, ILCA, Club 420, and other popular youth classes
What You Need to Know:
  • USA Junior Olympic Festivals (JO's) are grassroot racing at it's best. JO Festivals take place at host clubs around the country with a focus on fun, competition, and learning. Along with great racing, many JO's include clinics with expert coaches, "green fleets" for new racers, and fun onshore activities. Check out the JO calendar and find a Festival near you!
3). Aim for the Top at the West Marine US Open Sailing Series

Click here to the Event Website.

When & Where:

  • July 9-11 @ Long Beach, CA
  • August 13-15 @ San Francisco, CA
Boat Classes:
  • Olympic and youth classes, including the ILCA, i420, 29er, Nacra15, iQFoil, Formula Kite
What You Need to Know:
  • Pack up your boat and head West! If you are an experienced racer with high performance ambitions, there's never been a better time to "go for the gold". The West Marine US Open Sailing Series is bringing top competition, including sailors from around the world, to the USA. The series, which launched this year and builds towards the LA2028 Olympics, includes three regattas in California each summer and three regattas in Florida each winter.
4). Chubb U.S. Junior Sailing Championships

Click here to the Event Website.

When & Where:

  • National Championship: August 10-13 - Marblehead, MA
  • Area Qualifier: Regattas in each of the 11 Areas nationwide
Boat Classes:
  • ILCA 6 (Radial), Club 420, RS21
What You Need to Know:
  • Race in your Area Qualifier for a chance to compete for the original Junior National Championship! The 2021 Chubb U.S. Junior Championship will include the 100th Anniversary of the Sears Cup, America's first junior sailing championship regatta! Sailors ages 18 and under can qualify to represent their region by finishing at the top of their Area Qualifier regatta. Singlehanded (Smythe Trophy), Doublehanded (Bemis Trophy), and Quadruple-handed (Sears Cup) Championships are up for grabs.
5). U.S. Youth Sailing Championships

Click here to the Event Website.

When & Where:

  • October 8-11 - Camp Sea Gull, Arapahoe, NC
Boat Classes:
  • 29er, International 420, ILCA 7 (Standard), ILCA 6 (Radial), Nacra 15, iQFoil
What You Need to Know:
  • Race hard this summer and earn an invitation to US Sailing's pinnacle youth regatta. Traditionally a summer regatta, the Youth Champs have been moved to October this year to give sailors plenty of time to shake off the COVID rust and hone their skills at regattas this summer. Sailors can earn a spot at Youth Champs two ways: 1). based on a top finish at a Direct Qualification Regatta this summer, or 2). by submitting an application with sailing resume and training information. Applications are due on August 17.

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