Sunday, July 12, 2015

US Youth Sailing Championships 2015 - Drone's Eye View

All last week the US Youth Sailing Championships were being held on Mount Hope Bay - right in front of the Tillercottage. There were Lasers and Radials and 420s and F16s and 29ers. Must have been over 100 boats. What a magnificent sight!

Check out this video which has some excellent drone footage of the youth champs. One of those little white dots on the hillside is my house!

On Thursday I drove to Bristol to go for a run on the East Bay Bike Path. As I crossed over the Sakonnet Bridge I saw boats sailing down towards Stone Bridge, probably from the Tiverton YC youth program. Over in Portsmouth I saw more sailing dinghies on Island Park Cove, probably also from TYC. Crossing Mount Hope Bridge I had a good view of the US Youth Champs again with a Laser start in progress just off Common Fence Point not far from Roger Williams University the host of the event. In Bristol Harbor there were more dinghies - from the Bristol YC junior program I assumed.

As I slogged up the bike path I saw a huge fleet of Optimists on Upper Narragansett Bay - a regatta I guess. Then as the path went up the side of the Warren River I saw more Optimists and some two-man dinghies - almost certainly Barrington YC's junior program.

They say sailing is in decline but it didn't look like it on Thursday.


Jay Eveleth said...

Don't get too relaxed about youth sailing. Admittedly the Sunfish is a bit passé, but in this year's NA's there were only 8 boats, down from 100 some years ago, and the top finishers were all from South America. And, our feeder system does not produce winning Olympians. In 1984 we took medals in all seven events, three gold and four silvers. In London we took no medals. In my view the primary problem is not the sport, nor the boats, but complacency on the part of adults, although neither the racing formats nor the boats are helpful. I think the games and creative races which have been well received by kids in my town and boats like the Aero will help, but we owe it to our kids to be more aggressive about providing a more modern approach for them. I think sailing is a fantastic sport for young people!!

Tillerman said...

There are signs of progress in creating a system to develop winning Olympians. US Sailing changed the leadership and format of the whole US Olympics sailing development and training program after doing so poorly at the last Olympics. Part of this seems to be a recognition that kids need to get into boats that are more like the Olympic classes much earlier - notice the inclusion of 29ers and F16s in this event. And there is also more recognition now that kids who show talent and have Olympic ambitions don't need to spend 8 years of their sailing lives roll-tacking old tubs like 420s in high school and college. There should be programs that will train them in the skills required to win in Olympic classes. It may take 8 or 12 years to see the fruits of this thinking but it seems they are on the right track.

Jay Eveleth said...

Right on. About time.

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