US Sailing’s Chubb U.S. Junior Championships
In 1921, Commodore Herbert M. Sears of the Eastern Yacht Club at Marblehead, MA placed in competition a Cup bearing his name for competition among juniors of Massachusetts yacht clubs. The next year eligibility broadened to include clubs such as Larchmont and Seawanhaka Corinthian on Long Island Sound and Cedarhurst on the south shore of Long Island, NY. How racing has changed since then is reflected in a comment about the 1923 & 25 victories of the Duxbury Yacht Club team on which C. Raymond Hunt (designer of the 110 and 210 classes and the Boston Whaler) was helmsman, “Boys in those days were required to wear caps, neckties and jackets while sailing and girls dresses.”
In 1930, Commodore Sears of the Eastern Yacht Club at Marblehead, confident that NAYRU was here to stay and deeming it desirable that the competition be national in scope, deeded the trophy to NAYRU for triplehanded sailing among juniors over 12 and under 18 whose parents or guardians are members of some Yacht Club in the United States recognized by the Union. Under the deed, the Cup is “for the purpose of promoting the sport of yachting by encouraging proficiency in seamanship and sportsmanlike conduct in sail yacht racing on the part of boys and girls of school age”. Also, the finals were to be held in home waters of a yacht club on the Atlantic Coast north of Sandy Hook – both conditions mirroring those for the Adams Trophy. As Member Associations of NAYRU proliferated to include all parts of the continent, the Sears Cup likewise became trans-continent. By the 1950’s. NAYRU was inviting the Associations to make selections of teams to compete. Until the US Yacht Racing Union was formed in 1975, teams from Canadian Yacht Clubs also competed. In 1931 the minimum age was raised to 15.
The Championship is a ladder event in which eliminations are held among the 1000+ yacht clubs and 150+ community sailing programs in the Yacht Racing, or District, Associations that today comprise US Sailing. Winners there of compete in eliminations for the Area group in which their respective Yacht Racing Association (YRA) or District is located for a berth in the finals.
The Sears Cup was fortunate to have as first Chair of the NAYRU Junior Championship Committee from 1932 – 1940 Hugh M. Wharton of the Pequot Yacht Club, Southport, CT. He was a dedicated and able yachtsman who also was a founder in 1924 and first President of the Junior Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound. The Junior YRA of LIS was called the ‘parent’ of such organizations that were instrumental in developing competition and training among juniors in YRA Districts across the continent. Wharton was succeeded by a fellow member of Pequot, D. Verner Smythe who also served as Chairman for a long tenure as well as Chairman of the Championship Coordinating Committee.
Spurred by the growing number of sailors in single handed boats, led US Sailing to the addition in 1974 of a national singlehanded championship and the donation of a trophy in honor D. Verner Smythe, a long‑time chairman of the Sears Cup Committee (the tradition‑rich triplehanded youth championship. The first junior singlehanded championship was sailed in Sunfish in conjunction with the triplehanded.
Both are ladder‑style events where teams must earn the right to continue competing. The events start with a local sail‑off, and continue through Area eliminations before the national finals. Similar to the Doublehanded,
The U.S. Doublehanded Championship is of similar vintage as the U.S. Junior Singlehanded. F. Gregg Bemis was best known for his work on the racing rules which included a long tenure as chairman of the Appeals Committee, but it was his leadership role in judging at junior and intercollegiate regattas that inspired a group of co-judges to donate in 1975 a trophy for doublehanded junior sailing. Similar to the Triple- and Singlehanded Junior Championships, it is a ladder competition starting at the yacht club level. In 1999 it was expanded to include two teams per Area (groupings of Yacht Racing or District Associations) with the exception of Areas H and L, each of whom send one team. The only two-time winners are John Shadden of the Long Beach Yacht Club, CA and Mike Funsch of St. Petersburg Yacht Club, FL .
U.S. Youth Sailing Championship
The U.S. Youth Sailing Championship was started in 1973 at the Sheridan Shore Yacht Club in Wilmette IL. The top 150 sailors from around the country, aged 19 or under (ISAF World Youth Championship age limit), were sent invitations on US Olympic Yachting Committee letterhead to attend the event in Lasers and 470s in mid-June. From the outset, a racing clinic and video recaps of the races led by world class sailors have been an integral part of the week. Buddy Melges, Dave Ullman, Bruce Goldsmith, and Bruce Kirby were instructors in that first year. Winners were funded to World and National Championships.
The event has several goals: (a) to provide a challenge to young sailors to grow beyond the skill levels used to win at the local and regional level (b) to serve as a bridge between Junior Sailing (age 17) and College Sailing, at a time between the end of school and the start of summer sailing instructor jobs when participants had their driving licenses (c) to better produce US sailors capable of winning the World Youth Championships in big-fleet races; (d) to develop and identify talent for the US Olympic Sailing Team, and (e) to motivate a lifetime commitment to sailing.
Invitations to the event are made by US Sailing’s Youth Championship Selection Committee, based on review of applicant’s entry forms. Other than the Laser, boats have changed over the years. Beginning in 2006, this prestigious championship included Club 420’s, Lasers, Laser Radials and 29ers. In 2010, the timing of the championship was changed to August. In 2011 a minimum age was added. Applicants cannot turn 20 in the calendar year of the event and must turn at least 16 in the calendar year. The U.S. Youth Championship is now the pinnacle of youth racing for the summer season. The sailors arrive Youth Championships at the top of their game.
There have been juniors who have won a U.S. Junior Championships and claimed a U.S. Youth title. Louis Verloop of Coconut Grove Sailing Club won the Smythe trophy three times and also claimed the Junior Olympic Singlehanded title in 1983. California’s Kevin Hall won the Smythe trophy twice and added the Junior Olympic Singlehanded title to his resume in 1986. Peter Dreyfuss of Miami, FL, won the Singlehanded title in 1988, a year after he won the Smythe trophy. Dalton Bergan of Seattle, WA, did the same, winning the Singlehanded title in 1996 and the Smythe trophy in 1995. David Ames of Miami, FL pulled off a similar feat, winning the Doublehanded title in 1995, three years after winning the Bemis trophy. He had the same crew, P.J. Buhler, on both occasions.
One significant outcome of the event has been to create a new “class” of friends each year, coming from every sailing center in America. As these graduates became more involved and contributed to the administration of the sport of sailboat racing, the North American Yacht Racing Union (NAYRU) evolved into today’s US Sailing with truly national representation. Youth Championship graduates have become the stalwarts of successful college sailing programs and fill out the ranks of All-Americans. As an example, seven early participants in the US Youth Champs eventually were honored with the Everett B. Morris Trophy for College Sailor of the Year. These included Augie Diaz (’74), Peter Isler (’76), Carl Buchan (’77), Steve Benjamin (’78), Alex Smilgelski (’79), Stu Johnstone (’80) and Morgan Reeser (’84). Additionally: Terry Neff, Neal Fowler, Dave Perry, Hugo Schmidt, James McCreary, Buzz Reynolds, Ed Adams, Gerard Coleman, Kelly Gough, Mark Rastello, and Gary Knapp were early 1970s Youth Championship participants who also became Collegiate All-Americans.
The only three‑time winners are Scott Haladay of Gulf Breeze, FL (boardsailing); Andrew Campbell of San Diego, CA (Singlehanded) ; and Bill Hardesty of San Diego, CA (Doublehanded & Singlehanded); Andrew Campbell led the 2006 Georgetown Hoyas to the Leonard Fowle Trophy, emblematic of the top collegiate team, while winning the Morris Trophy for Sailor of the Year honors. Hardesty also won the Bemis trophy in 1990 and was College Sailor of the Year in 1998. Eight winners went on to with the Youth Worlds. Mike Goyan (Lakewood, CA) was the winning crew three times in four years during the 1980s, each time with a different helm.
The Robert L. Johnstone III Trophy for the Singlehanded winner recognizes the Founder and Chairman (1973-1980) of the event and his contribution to one-design and community sailing programs. The Doublehanded trophy memorializes Manton D. Scott, a Sears Cup winner (’69), Collegiate All-American (’72) and inspirational leader in small boat sailing, who was electrocuted by an overhead powerline when stepping the mast of his 470. This was a month prior to the 1973 event, where Scott had been scheduled as one of the Clinic instructors. The Robert and Ann Conner Trophy was donated for the winner of the Radial Division in recognition of their contributions to junior sailing.
Sportsmanship awards were given out beginning in 1989 in the name of 1973 participant and later event Chairman, David M. Perry, a well known author of books on the racing rules, recognizing his leadership qualities in junior and intercollegiate sailing.
In 2013, another championship, the U.S. Youth Multihull Championship was incorporated into the Youth Championship. For many years the U.S. Youth Multihull Championship was organized by the Multihull Council and was initially sailed for the Hoyt-Jolley Trophy. In 2004 a new trophy was awarded in honor of Arthur J. Stevens whose dedication to youth multihull sailing was the foundation of this championship. In 2007, the regatta moved under the Championships division of US Sailing and in 2013, became part of the Youth Champs in recognition of the importance of youth multihull sailing within US Sailing.
The W. Darline Hobock Sportsmanship prize recognizes pure sportsmanship behavior throughout the fleet.
U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded & Doublehanded Championships
The U.S. Junior Women’s Championships Committee annually hosts two events: a Singlehanded and a Doublehanded championship. Both championships are open events. However, participants must be young women aged 13-18, members of US Sailing, and U.S. citizens. Each championship combines two clinic days with three racing days. The National Head Coach and staff are hired for the entire event to provide equal guidance to all competitors. No private coaching is allowed.
Support of the U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship and the U.S. Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship as well as the clinics is made possible by funds provided by the late C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. to perpetuate his unwavering dedication to Junior Women’s Sailing. His support is in memory of his late wife, Nancy Leiter Clagett, a world class sailor, and of Ida Lewis, the heroic daughter of a lighthouse keeper. This support is intended to encourage young American women to enhance their sailing ability, with emphasis on sportsmanship, by providing the opportunity to compete in national-level competition with guidance from high-level coaching. Tom Clagett’s family continues to assist in fulfilling his vision.
The first event was the Singlehanded sailed in Laser Radials which was started by Tom Clagett in 1980 at the Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Newport, RI and sailed for a trophy named in memory of Tom’s wife, Nancy, who died in April, 1977. In 1985, USYRU (now US Sailing) agreed to support the event on a trial basis. In 1986, it became the U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship for the Nancy Leiter Clagett Memorial Trophy.
The U.S. Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship for the Ida Lewis Trophy championship was started in 1995 when it became apparent that a second championship in a doublehanded boat was needed to complement the singlehanded event. It became a US Sailing national championship in 1996. The event is sailed in Club 420s.
A separate sportsmanship prize was later added to both championships in 2001, following Tom’s death in June of that year and a family logo was created for the championships incorporating Tom’s and Nancy’s private yacht signals. Nancy’s signal was a green ladder on a yellow rectangle since “Leiter” is German for ladder. Tom and Nancy’s first boat was named “The Barefoot Girl” after Nancy’s preference not to wear shoes. Tom’s private signal became two white bare feet on a blue triangle. The Singlehanded class flag is Nancy’s signal flag, and the Doublehanded class flag is a representation of the Ida Lewis lighthouse.