Inaugural Olympic event in San Diego

Published on July 12th, 2018

With an eye towards the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 2028, the inaugural San Diego Olympic Classes Regatta (SDOCR) will provide a venue for sailors to train and compete in international, high-performance classes from October 6-8, 2018. The SDOCR plans to be an annual event, growing in scale approaching 2028.

“When I was a kid, we had the Olympic trials in San Diego,” recalled two-time Olympic gold medalist Mark Reynolds. “Fast forward 8 years, I got the chance to attend the 1976 Olympics helping Dennis Conner and setting me on my path to try out for the Olympics. After a few tries, my Olympic dream came true.”

Hosted by San Diego Yacht Club, Reynolds is pleased the next generation will witness the activity. “It’s meaningful to me to see the young sailors at SDYC have the same opportunities… to know that if they focus and work hard enough, competing in the Olympic Games can be in their future.”

Seven classes will compete in the inaugural event: 29er, Finn, i420, Laser, Laser Radial, Snipe, and Star. Racing for be on October 6 and 7 with the exception of the Snipe class which will finish racing on October 8 as this event will be the Snipe North Americans and Pan Am Games Qualifier. Two courses will host the fleets on Coronado Roads.

San Diego’s history of Olympic sailing achievement began in Tokyo 1964 with SDYC’s Lowell North, and Charlie Rogers plus Dick Deaver, winning a bronze medal in the Dragon. In 1968, North with his crew, Peter Barrett, won the Olympic gold medal in the Star class.

Twelve years later, Dennis Conner took the bronze in the Montreal 1976 Olympics in the Tempest. Mark Reynolds in the Star class won the silver (Seoul 1988), the gold twice (Barcelona 1992; Sydney 2000) and won the Pan Am Games in the Snipe in 1979. Reynolds is the most medaled male Olympian in US Sailing history.

At the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, SDYC had a record three sailors on the podium with Brian Ledbetter (Finn – Silver) and JJ Fetter (Women’s 470 – Bronze) plus their former junior sailing instructor, Mark Reynolds (Star – Gold). Fetter medaled for a second time in 2000, winning Silver, making her currently the most medaled female Olympian in US Sailing history.

Vince Brun competed for Brazil in the Soling in 1976 and 1980 and Giselle Camet Nyenhuis competed for Argentina in 1992. SDYC’s Carl Eichenlaub played a crucial role in US Team success as the boatwright from 1976-2004.

These original SDYC Olympic medalists set the precedence for the future of SDYC sailors. SDYC’s Graham Biehl competed in the men’s 470 Olympic Games in 2008 and 2012 along with Andrew Campbell in 2008 in the Laser class. Molly O’Brien Vandemoer competed in the 2012 Olympics in Women’s Match Racing and Paris Henken competed in the Women’s 49er FX (2016 Rio).

“The SDOCR will be an excellent event for sailors of all ages to compete in some of the sailing world’s most challenging and competitive fleets,” notes Junior Sailing Director John Fretwell. “Racing will include current Olympic boats like the Finn, Laser, and Radial, but also active high-level international classes like the Star, Snipe, i420, and 29er.

“Juniors may race side by side with seniors at the OCR, and the SDYC Junior Program will host a series of clinics in August to introduce these classes, and create training opportunities with veteran coaches; a great way to start the path to the Los Angeles Games in 2028.”

Clinic information can be found at and

Lowell North, SDYC gold medalist in 1968, will be donating the perpetual trophy for the SDOCR regatta. This October is the 50th anniversary of Lowell North and Peter Barrett’s Gold medal at the ’68 Olympics.

“The SDYC Junior Program was the foundation for the majority of our successful Olympians and we’re glad to give this exposure to the next group of aspiring sailors not only in our Junior Program, but in southern California and the country,” remarked Jerelyn Biehl, SDYC’s Vice Commodore and mother of recent Olympian Graham Biehl.

Event details:
Notice of Race:

Source: SDYC

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