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Offshore youth wanted for Paris 2024

Published on February 18th, 2020

What began as an effort in 2013 to boost interest in keelboats and offshore sailing for youth sailors, the Young American program continues to expand what’s possible.

Day and coastal races on Long Island Sound in J/105s stretched in 2016 to include the 640nm Newport Bermuda Race on a 41-footer, and then again the 2018 race on a 63-footer. For the 2020 edition, plans are underway to expand again.

Now called the Young American Sailing Academy (YASA), the program is seeking interested sailors to join the YASA sailing team and participate as a mixed double-handed offshore entry in the 2020 Newport Bermuda Race.

With the Mixed Two Person Keelboat Offshore event planned for the Paris 2024 Olympics, YASA is eager to help find and create American’s talent in the short-handed offshore discipline. In four years, there is an Olympic medal up for the taking, so they see this initiative as setting a course toward that goal.

YASA will have two mixed double-handed entries and is now upgrading its two J/105s for double-handed offshore sailing. The boats, which already have a solid track record, are being equipped and configured with high quality instruments/auto pilots and offshore sail configurations.

Selection Process
Interested skippers are asked to submit their sailing resumes and their expression of interest. The YASA selection committee will select a short list from the submissions from which interviews will be conducted leading to the selection of the final skippers. Second tier and backup crews will be selected at the same time. Interested sailors may apply either as individuals or as a pre-formed team.

The selection committee anticipates starting to review applications February 25 with the intention of making selections by March 15.

YASA has been a youth centric program from its inception and consistent with that bias we encourage interest from youthful participants (<25), however, all candidates regardless of age will be considered.

Some of the qualities and characteristics that are desirable in a skipper candidate are the following:
• “Skipper” frame of mind and team attitude
• Having a gas-pedal – i.e. the ability to do all things to make a boat go fast in all conditions
• Prior experience with offshore endurance sailing, preferably short-handed
• Tireless, flexible, curious and tenacious
• Focused and with a willingness to commit to an intense campaign
• Knowledge in weather and weather routing

For the application/information form, click here.

YASA Framework and Support
Projects such as this are dependent on funding, YASA as a 501(c) (3) provides the tax advantaged framework for charitable donations and commercial support to help meet the funding requirements. YASA will enhance its social media campaign promoting the project, its sponsors and highlighting the sailors.

As previously mentioned, YASA is providing the boats and is working hard to deliver the associated equipment and upgrades. There is and will be plenty of work and preparation required which YASA will support in every way possible.

Skipper Commitments
Each skipper should be committed to providing the following:
• Commitment to working and training hard to become an elite short-handed sailor
• Achieving and maintaining a high level of physical conditioning
• Commitment to fundraising in support of the project budget (approx. $8,500/crewmember)
• Providing personal safety equipment, offshore gear and associated supplies
• Having the time, energy, passion and excitement about mixed offshore sailing

Provisional Budget
The provisional budget for each of the two boats for the Newport Bermuda Race campaign is approximately $17,000. This budget includes the entry and operational expenses as well as the necessary safety equipment and ORR rating. It does not include capital upgrades, which include B&G H5000 Hercules instruments and pilot and offshore sail inventory.

This is the moment to find and create American’s talent in the short-handed offshore discipline. In four years, there is an Olympic medal up for the taking, let’s set a course toward that goal and enjoy the journey.

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