Olympic class circuit launches in USA
Published on January 11th, 2021
US Sailing and host yacht clubs at established sailing venues in Florida and California have launched in the USA a new domestic racing and training series of Olympic-class regattas in 2021.
The West Marine US Open Sailing Series offers an increase in high-quality Olympic-class racing for U.S. athletes with a long-term goal of attracting top-level international competitors to race in these regattas for years to come.
With a strong demand identified for a racing and training platform based in the United States that serves to provide a runway to the Olympic Games for prospective athletes, and with the 2028 LA Olympics on the horizon, US Sailing sought to establish a consistent and predictable cycle for athletes to plan for on an annual basis.
With West Marine as the title sponsor, this series of regattas allows US Sailing to provide more domestic support for sailors at these events through advanced and in-person coaching, training, and data collection.
The series will become an important part of the training plans for young sailors participating as part of the Olympic Development Program (ODP), a US Sailing initiative supported by the AmericaOne Foundation that provides world-class coaching support to promising American youth sailors competing in high-performance classes.
2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series:
January 15-18: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Lauderdale Yacht Club
January 21-24: Miami, Florida
Miami Yacht Club Youth Sailing Foundation
February 4-7: Clearwater, Florida
Clearwater Yacht Club, Clearwater Community Sailing Center, Tampa Bay Charities, Sail Life
June 11-13: San Diego, California
San Diego Yacht Club
July 9-11: Long Beach, California
Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, Long Beach Yacht Club, US Sailing Center Long Beach
August 13-15: San Francisco, California
St. Francis Yacht Club, Treasure Island Sailing Center, San Francisco Yacht Club, Richmond Yacht Club
Note: The yacht clubs and sailing organizations hosting these US Open Sailing Series events are the Organizing Authorities for each regatta.
“This series is a real game changer for Olympic-class sailing in the U.S.,” said Leandro Spina, US Sailing Olympic Development Director.
“The U.S. really needs an Olympic sailing platform like this, so prospective athletes at every level can race and train right here in the United States. We want to be more efficient and resourceful with our efforts to prepare our athletes for the Games and provide them with a tremendous experience.”
Spina also commented on the opportunities for the best Olympic-class sailors from all over the world to come to the U.S. and race in US Open Sailing Series regattas. “The long-term goal is to attract the best sailors in the world to these outstanding venues here in the U.S. as they prepare for and look ahead to Paris 2024 and LA 2028.”
Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), a two-time Olympian in the Laser Radial and Florida native who will represent Team USA in her third Olympics at the Tokyo Games this summer, was excited to learn of the new US Open Sailing Series coming to three Florida venues in 2021.
“Domestic events allows the top U.S. athletes to stay home, and our youth sailors can compete against our experienced top sailors at local events. This is important because it allows our kids to interact and learn from the older athletes. It’s a great way for a transfer of knowledge to happen organically.”
Jeff Johnson, Waterfront Director at San Diego Yacht Club, discussed their local Olympic Class Regatta and it’s move to the US Open Sailing Series.
“This event is four years old now and the evolution of the regatta is evidence of our commitment to competitive one design racing. With the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles on the horizon, establishing a path of well-run events on the West Coast that can accommodate the needs of campaigning Olympic-class sailors, as well as translate their drive into a positive net for the local sailing fleets and communities, would be a huge win for everyone.”
Johnson learned from his experiences participating at World Cup Series Miami over the years what these large-scale international regattas can do for a local sailing community.
“Having participated in the World Cup Sailing Series in Florida for many years, I would be most excited to see that same level of international participation develop on our club’s doorstep. I think everyone gains from exposure to that high level of focus and execution of skill.”
The first event begins this week in Fort Lauderdale on January 15 through 18. The Lauderdale Yacht Club has been hosting Olympic-class regattas like this since 2016. They have hosted the annual Finn Midwinter and Women’s Laser Radial North American Championships since 1982. These events often served as a runway for athletes planning to race at World Cup Miami.
The second event of the series will pick up in Miami on January 21-24, positioned as the longest standing Olympic-class regatta in the USA. Over the years, event organizers in the Key Biscayne area collaborate to host these international sailing regattas, including US Sailing’s Miami Olympic Classes Regatta and World Cup Series Miami.
A new Olympic-class regatta has been created in Clearwater, running February 4-7. This event rounds out the three-event Florida tour and increases opportunities for these sailors to compete.
The West Marine US Open Sailing Series resumes this summer on June 11-13 in San Diego. Most recently, San Diego has been hosting Olympic-class and other one design regattas similar to this series since 2018. San Diego’s long history of Olympic sailing achievement has been inspiring sailors to participate in the sport for generations.
Long Beach, the location for the Olympic Sailing competition at the LA 2028 Games, will host the next regatta in the series on July 9-11. Long Beach has been a popular sailing destination on the West Coast for decades and they have been conducting these major regattas over the past 50 years for both Olympic-class boats and popular local classes.
The 2021 series comes to a wrap on August 13-15 in spectacular sailing venues of San Francisco. A new event in the Bay Area was developed to contribute to the domestic training platform in a major U.S. market on the West Coast.
To learn more about the West Marine US Open Sailing Series and to follow all the action in 2021, visit the series website at usopen.ussailing.org.
Source: US Sailing