Promoting Youth Offshore Sailing

Published on March 16th, 2018

As part of the Storm Trysail Club’s efforts to engage younger sailors in the offshore component of yacht racing, the Tri-State Youth Offshore Challenge has been created which includes a series of regattas in eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island and Shelter Island, NY.

The series will incorporate the 10th “Mudnight Madness Overnight” (July 27, 2018 – organized by the Mystic River Mudhead Sailing Association), the Race Around Shelter Island (August 3, 2018 – organized by the Shelter Island YC), and the Ida Lewis Distance Race (August 17, 2018 – organized by the Ida Lewis YC).

The winner of the series will receive the “Rugg Family Youth Offshore Trophy” – a new trophy donated by the Rugg Family through the generosity of Storm Trysail Club member Peter Rugg, who along with fellow STC member Bruce Lawrence, had the initial vision for the series and were instrumental in bringing it to fruition.

“We have a very active community of young sailors who are looking for additional opportunities to move up from dinghy and small keelboat sailing to big-boat distance racing,” said Rugg.

“Spurred on by the American YC’s success with their Young American program [run by STC members Peter Becker and Rob Alexander], and the donation to the Mudratz (the Junior sailing arm of the Mudheads) of the Swan 48 Dreamcatcher, we felt the time was right to launch a youth-focused offshore series.”

Added Lawrence, “Boat owners are always looking for crew – especially younger and more-agile crew – and one of the challenges to increasing the level of participation in offshore sailing is the lack of breadth and depth in the crew pool.

“It seemed to us that one of the best ways of getting more boats out there is to provide more youth sailors with a chance to ‘get their feet wet’ – as well as the rest of their bodies! – in shorter overnight, distance and offshore races.”

Teams competing for the Rugg Trophy must complete at least two of the three events in good standing, and have one more than half of the crew (rounded up) between the ages of 14 and 23 in the current calendar year (e.g. 5 qualifying youths out of 7 total). The boats must be offshore-capable yachts with a minimum LOA of 30 feet.

Any boat owners who would like to participate in the Series, and any crews looking for boats/teams to race with, are encouraged to contact the Series co-chairs Bruce Lawrence ( or Tim Keyworth (

As the Storm Trysail Club is a leader in the promotion of offshore safety (the Foundation arm of the Club runs numerous Safety-At-Sea and Junior Safety-at-Sea seminars every year), each member of the crew under 18 must have attended a Junior Safety-At-Sea seminar and every member of the crew over 18 shall hold a valid US Sailing Safety-At-Sea certificate.

The complete and official Notice of Series with more details concerning the eligibility and safety requirements, as well as the scoring procedure:

The schedule of upcoming Storm Trysail Foundation Junior Safety-At-Sea events – which is required for all crew members under the age of 18 – is:

• Wed. June 2 – Shelter Island YC, NY – Ed Carey:
• Sat. June 30 – Newport Harbor, CA/Balboa YC – Ian Vickers:, Peter Macdonald:
• Mon. July 9 – Annapolis YC, MD – Ross Dierdorff:
• Fri. July 20 – Larchmont YC, NY – Dick York:
• Wed. July 25 – Raritan YC, Perth Amboy, NJ – Kelly Robinson:, Ann Myer:
• Wed. July 25 – Stonington, CT – Peter Rugg:, Frank Bohlen:

More information about the Storm Trysail Foundation’s Junior Safety-At-Sea events may be found here:

About the Storm Trysail Club:
The Storm Trysail Club, reflecting in its name the sail to which sailors must shorten when facing severe adverse conditions, is one of the world’s most respected sailing clubs, with its membership comprised strictly of skilled blue water and ocean racing sailors. The club is involved in organizing or co-organizing various prestigious offshore racing events including the annual Block Island Race, the biennial Block Island Race Week, The Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race, the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race, The Down-the-Bay Race in the Chesapeake, The Mills Trophy Race in Lake Erie, and the Wirth Munroe Race from Miami to Palm Beach, Florida. They are also one of the four organizing clubs of the 2019 Transatlantic Race. For more information about the club, visit

About the Storm Trysail Foundation:
The Storm Trysail Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to support the education of young sailors, junior and adult safety at sea, and intercollegiate big boat racing. The Storm Trysail Foundation educates young people as they bridge the gap between learning to sail and becoming accomplished blue water sailors, through a national program of events including approximately 10 Junior Safety-At-Sea seminars a year in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, California and Michigan. For more information on these invaluable and life-saving events, contact: Lisa Schinella at or call her 646-996-3498.

Source: Ron Weiss – Chairman, Communications and Sponsorship Committee

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