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1 May 2009, 11:06 am
US SAILING to Make Summer Splash For Young Sailors
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US SAILING News

Young aspiring sailors around the country are amped up and ready for an exciting season of fun competition on the water at the many US SAILING coordinated regattas from two tremendously popular circuits.
The USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival (JO) and the United States Junior Championships collectively organize a combined 30 regattas around the country from June through December 2009.

2009 USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festivals

In its 13th season, this programme is a nationwide series of regattas for youth, ages 8 to 21. There are 25 regattas slated for 2009 in the continental United States and Hawaii and over 4,300 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, the largest junior sailing event in the country. The Orange Bowl is hosted by the US Sailing Center and Coral Reef Yacht Club in Miami, Fla. Last year over 700 junior sailors from 24 countries, as well as 26 U.S. states and territories participated. The regatta includes four days of competition on Biscayne Bay.

This youth development programme, 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.

During the course of the 2009 JO season, young sailors will race Optimists, Lasers, Bytes, Sunfish, El Toros, Club 420s, CFJs, 29ers, windsurfers and more in 25 events held in 16 states. Since the inception of the programme in 1997, more than 38,000 sailors have participated in 233 events offering various levels of competition, skill building and fun activities designed to encourage a life-long involvement in the sport of sailing.

Additionally, US SAILING's JO programme 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.

2009 United States Junior Championships

US SAILING has been coordinating junior championship regattas since 1921. These championships are hosted by local yacht clubs and sailing organizations around the country, and they offer a wide variety of opportunities to participate. Each championship is steeped in its own unique tradition. A long line of some of the best sailors in the world sailed through the ranks of the Junior Championships. US SAILING's 2008 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year, Terry HUTCHINSON and Anna TUNNICLIFFE, both participated in the United States Junior Championships as young, promising sailors.

During the 2009 season, young sailors will race Club 420s, Hobie 16s, Lasers, Laser Radials, Rhodes 19s, and 29ers. These prestigious events provide junior sailors with an opportunity to test their skill at a national level. Each championship has three days of racing under the watchful eyes of coaches, which are provided by US SAILING. Sponsors include LaserPerformance, Gill and Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. The 2009 season started with the U.S. Youth Multihull Championship from 17-19 January at the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in Long Beach, Calif.

The summer schedule gets underway with the U.S. Youth Championships from 25-30 June at the Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, Conn. The event is the pinnacle of youth sailing competition in the United States. Based on submitted sailor resumes, a team of selectors evaluates each application and invites up to 150 of the nation's top junior sailors to compete. Sailors will be competing in four fleets on Long Island Sound.

The series sails into July with the U.S. Junior Women's Doublehanded Championship from 6-11 July at the Hampton Yacht Club in Hampton, Va. This event is followed by the U.S. Junior Women's Singlehanded Championship from 19-24 July at the Westhampton Yacht Squadron in Remsenberg, N.Y. Both events are supported by the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Trust. These open events for girls, ages 13-18, feature intensive clinic instruction prior to the championship.

US SAILING's Chubb United States Junior Championships is a nationwide elimination series that concludes in Marblehead, Mass. From 9-13 August. This event is run by organizers from the Pleon, Eastern, Corinthian, and Boston Yacht Clubs. This unique regatta is among the oldest of the championships. Each team represents their home sailing organization. Semifinal eliminations are held within the 11 US SAILING Areas. Many of these elimination events are preceded by Chubb Clinics, designed to prepare sailors for racing at this level. The top teams from each Area semi final will advance to compete for the Sears, Bemis or Smythe Trophies.

Competition is just a part of the experience associated with this great series. In conjunction with the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA), US SAILING is featuring a new seminar for young sailors competing at the U.S. Youth Sailing Championship and Chubb U.S. Junior Championships on 26 June and 10 August respectively. US SAILING's College Sailing Seminars, sponsored by Gill, provide a forum for young sailors to learn about opportunities in college sailing.

For a complete schedule of US SAILING's 2009 Junior Olympic Sailing Festival events visit: http://wwwussailing.org/youth/racing/jo/calendar.asp.
Jake Fish
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