It started with more than 400 young sailors across the country, sailing in local and regional regattas to qualify for a National Championship.
Now, the list of competitors has been narrowed down to 60 sailors and they are all coming to South Dartmouth, Mass., in a few days to compete in two of US SAILING's prestigious Junior National Championships.
The U.S. Junior Double-handed Championship, sailed in Club 420s for the Bemis Trophy, and the U.S. Junior Single-handed Championship, sailed in Lasers for the Smythe Trophy, will take place August 14 through 18 at New Bedford Yacht Club. Demonstrating its strong commitment to youth sailing, Vanguard Sailboats is providing brand-new boats for both events.
For many youth sailors, these Championships are the pinnacles of their summer vacation, having trained for the event throughout the previous months. Previous winners of these Championships have gone on to become world-famous sailors, competing in the Olympic Games, Adult National Championships, the America's Cup, and many more. Two current members of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team competing in Athens have previously won a National Junior Championship: Peter WELLS won the U.S. Junior Double-handed Championship in 1989 and Kevin HALL won the U.S. Junior Single-handed Championship in 1985 and 1986.
About the U.S. Junior Doublehanded Championship
The winning team of the U.S. Junior Double-handed Championship will be awarded US SAILING's Bemis Trophy. The Bemis Trophy is named after F. Gregg Bemis who was best known for his work on the racing rules, which included a long tenure as chairman of the Appeals Committee. It was his leadership role in judging at junior and intercollegiate regattas that inspired a group of co-judges to donate in 1975 a trophy for double-handed junior sailing. Similar to the U.S. Junior Single-handed Championship for the Smythe Trophy, it is a ladder competition starting at the yacht club level.
About the U.S. Junior Single-handed Championship
The winner of the U.S. Junior Single-handed Championship will receive US SAILING's Smythe Trophy. Spurred by a growing interest in the Olympics, particularly in single-handed boats, in 1975 the junior championships were expanded to include a national single-handed championship with the donation of a trophy in honor of a long-time chairman of the Sears Trophy Committee, D. Verner SMYTHE. An active member of the Pequot Yacht Club at Southport, Conn., Smythe also served as Chairman of the Coordinating Committee of the North American Yacht Racing Union (now US SAILING) Championships.