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2016 USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival Schedule

Published on March 30th, 2016

Portsmouth, RI (March 30, 2016) – The USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival is a nationwide series of regattas for youth sailors ages 8 to 21. Every year over 4,000 young sailors compete in USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festivals hosted by yacht clubs and sailing centers around the country.

The 2016 schedule is packed with 28 events in 17 states, beginning with one event in April and two in May. The bulk of the schedule takes place this summer with 20 events slated for June, July and August. The season culminates in the fall and winter with two events in October and two in December, including the Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta (Miami, Fla.) – the pinnacle USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival event.

“Hawaii’s Junior Olympic Sailing Festival provides a focal point for our summer programs and helps get sailors to the next level in the four classes we offer,” said Scott Melander, Co-Chairman of the USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival in Hawaii.

Each event in this series of regattas is hosted by a different club or organization, but all the events share a common goal: to promote the enjoyment of sailing and development of skills for young sailors, and provide an Olympic pathway for talented youth racers. These events mix Olympic-style competition with elements of learning and fun for all levels, from beginners to those with Olympic aspirations.

US Sailing Team Sperry women’s 470 sailor, Annie Haeger, has fond memories from her Junior Olympic experiences. “The Junior Olympics was the first event I ever competed in with the word “Olympics” in it,” said US Sailing’s 2015 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. “There are podiums and medals handed out, just like the real thing. Not only is the event a great learning experience, but it also acted as a great information sharing opportunity between kids. The Junior Olympics provides a platform for kids looking to jump to the next level and push each other while learning from one another. Good luck to all of those competing this summer!”

Team racing bursts onto the scene with two pilot events slated for 2016. Watch Hill Yacht Club in Westerly, RI will host a Club 420 Team Race in July and an Opti Team Race in August. US Sailing looks to expand this nationally, while providing team racing event management resources to organizers.

Participation is on the rise at USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festivals. In 2015, this series featured 26 events and 4,012 participants – a 22% increase in over 2014. Two new Skill Builder Clinics were conducted with the goal of building the skills of sailors, broadening the curriculum for program directors, coaches and instructors and expanding the expertise of local race managers and volunteers.

More skill builder clinics will be scheduled in 2016, including Mentor Harbor Yacht Club (Cleveland, Ohio) on June 10-12, Lake Forest Sailing (Lake Forest, Ill.) on June 25-26, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club (Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich.) on July 29-31 and Rochester Yacht Club (Rochester, NY) on July 29-31.

“US Sailing provides Skill Builder Clinics where coaches can collaborate and improve the overall level of competition,” said Mitch Hall, Assistant Coach at the College of Charleston and Skill Builder Clinic coach. “Lead coaches bring national and international experience to the regional level in order to maintain the Junior Olympic Festivals as a pathway to success for the next generation of youth sailors.”

Coaches can sharpen their skills by getting their sailors involved and participating themselves as instructors or coaches at upcoming USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festivals in their area. These regattas also serve as outstanding training opportunities for race officials and judges.

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Source: Jake Fish, US Sailing Communications

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