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North Sails 2021 Innovation - LEADERBOARD

Pensacola YC to host the nation's first US Sailing Junior Olympic Youth Performance Sailing Festival

by Talbot Wilson 6 Apr 2022 11:45 PDT June 10-12, 2022
Junior sailors are invited to Experience Performance Sailing at a Fast & Fun Festival © Allison Chenard / US Sailing

Dream big. Don't let youth sailors miss this chance to experience the future of sailing when Pensacola Yacht Club hosts the first US Sailing Junior Olympic Youth Performance Sailing Festival June 10-12. Let them catch the magic of what the future holds for them.

"US Sailing is partnering with Pensacola YC to design and organize the prototype for this new (old) Junior Olympic Festival format. The Pensacola YC event will be the first of about a dozen similar events strategically placed around the USA. And Pensacola YC will be the first to have a totally new Performance FESTIVAL format." — John Pearce, Youth Competition Manager, US Sailing.

This will be a three-day, fast-paced event offering a fantastic opportunity for boys and girls... and their parents... to learn about these high-performance sailboats from top coaches and industry leaders and sail them, too.

"Festival" is the original founding purpose of the JO events. Now, US Sailing has tapped Pensacola YC to design and host the first of these festivals. The new Pensacola YC festival will be the showpiece for other US Sailing JO Festivals across the country as the new format evolves.

US Sailing has decided to revamp its Junior Olympic sailing events to make them a true "Festival" of youth 'Performance' sailing today. This is sailing that is fast and fun using modern, cutting-edge equipment.

Here are key highlights of the Pensacola Junior Olympic Performance Sailing Festival:

  • Boat demos featuring modern boats and boards
  • On-shore education and activities for youth racers
  • Modular format gives participants the chance to engage in multiple onshore and offshore activities
  • Parent education on racing pathways, Olympic development, college sailing, and more

The festival will introduce junior sailors and their parents to the hottest new youth sailing experiences, essential safety issues for performance sailing and the latest performance equipment from their manufacturers.

Special sessions will be held for participating parents to cover the nuts and bolts... equipment availability, future events and clinics and availability of coaches. This is a pathway to the future of competitive sailing.

Select industry partners will support the new festival format, so the young sailors will be introduced to multiple newer sailing design experiences including high performance platforms such as sport boats, skiffs, catamarans, foilers, windsurfers and a wing foiler design.

Many of these boats will be technically beyond the skill and ability and maybe stature of some of the junior sailors. However, this will not keep the instructors and coaches from providing on-the-water experiences at a suitable level for all the junior sailors. This will open eyes wide and promote imaginations to run wild as the juniors envision their sailing futures.

This will not be a racing event, rather an introduction to performance sailing with hands-on experience with all this new equipment, with leading coaches for each class and industry partners participating. It is a performance sailing boat show guided by US Sailing and top coaches from the classes. The specific design of this festival is a work in progress, but it will feature multiple modules on shore and afloat.

Pensacola's NEW Performance Festival will be limited to 80 young sailors. Registration will be on a first come first sail basis at, or through Pensacola YC Sailing Calendar.

The USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival series will continue with 12 more events around the country, blending festival modules with an exciting regatta. Each regatta event will also include on-water boat demos featuring modern boats from industry leading brands, along with special appearances and education opportunities for sailors and their parents.

The USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festivals are sponsored nationally by New England Ropes.

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