The Selection Process

The selection team is made up of individuals who are active in junior sailing. They can be race officials, coaches, judges, program directors or active sailors who know and attend junior sailing events. Chances are one or several of us will be at regattas and clinics that you are attending disguised as the person serving dinner or directing traffic in the parking lot, the college coach running the clinic, the PRO on the race committee boat and the college sailor setting marks for you in your sailing class. We are all those people and more.

The following is the procedure used by the Youth Championship Selection Committee to select participants in the U.S. Youth Championship. Your application included a list of some major regional and national regattas whose results are considered by the selectors. For doublehanded teams, the selectors are looking for your team results so you should have applied with and plan on sailing with your regular teammate. Changes are only granted in truly exceptional circumstances. (see the Conditions)

Each selector evaluates the sailors in their area of expertise but no one selector can see the scores of another. Each application is ranked regionally by more than one person and then ranked nationally using the selection process outlined below. There are no fixed fleet sizes – the selectors are looking for up to 175 of the best sailors.

The Selection Process

Score each applicant using a 100 point scale”using the range as listed below. Though this will be difficult in many cases, it is VERY important, particularly in upper to mid 80 range. Keep in mind that comments and records will only be reviewed by the Selection Committee Chairman and are STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL. Decisions of the Selection Committee are final. Comments may only be released to the grievance committee if there is a challenge to the selection process by sailors themselves.

90+= Definitely accept, sailor you feel is a top ten finisher. An “A” sailor.
86-90 = Definitely accept once all the A’s are accepted.
80-85= Good Sailor, Good Potential but not quite ready. Maybe waitlisted.
>80= Declined for the Youth Champs.

The intent of the system is to accept all the 90s and above. If all the As cannot be accepted, the Selection Committee Chairman will contact the Selection Committee member before one of the 90+ is not accepted. Selectors should keep detailed records of decisions with respect to each applicant.

Rank the applications according to the criteria listed below. Use the following order of importance:

Demonstrated sail boat racing ability
Age (Older candidates are given preference in a tie)
Declared training program
Any other criteria

You may want to research each applicant’s ability and background by:

a. examining regatta results
b. drawing on personal knowledge
c. talking with youth sailors in your region
d. talking with junior/youth sailing organizers in your region
e. talking with instructors and coaches in your region
f. researching the relative difficulty of regattas held in your region

While ranking applicants, the Selection Committee members must keep in mind the single most common “complaint” we receive is that a sailor in a region who did not get accepted regularly beats another sailor who did get accepted. Research and knowledge should minimize this occurrence. Selection is final.


Frequently Asked Questions about the Selection Process Part 1

1.Are all of the regattas listed on the application site assigned a specific weight as part of the selection process?Certain events have been designated early acceptance events but they are not the only events selectors look for. There are a variety of regattas that we look at, but they are not weighted and they are not the only ones we look at.
  • There are many excellent regional regattas. It’s one reason why we have regional and national selectors.
  • Every year some events have stronger turnouts than others. We are looking at the big picture.
  • Go to the regattas that you and your family can manage financially and logistically.
  • There is a slot in the application for sailors to list their best regattas. This is especially helpful for sailors who sail in multiple classes.

2. You must go to these to qualify for Youth Champs.
This is not true. Every year we hear from upset sailors who have attended numerous regattas under the impression that this would guarantee their acceptance and were either not selected or waitlisted.

3. If you don’t do well at a particular regatta, you shouldn’t report your result.
This is not only not true, it is also a very bad idea. Ours is a Corinthian sport. US Sailing takes sportsmanship seriously. The selectors have the results of all of the regattas listed and will see your name listed. Not reporting your results can have the opposite effect.

4. You should compete in at least one or two large regattas where you compete against other sailors from around the country so your results can be compared to your peers.
This is true, but there are lots of options. (see the next answer)

5. To sail at this level requires serious financial commitment.
There is no doubt that sailing is an expensive sport, but US Sailing offers financial aid to qualified sailors to go to US Sailing events, like any of the junior championships or their eliminations.
If you sail on your high school team, going to any of the high school nationals also qualifies as a major event.

– See more at:

Frequently Asked Questions about the Selection Process Part 2

6. There are pre-determined fleet sizes.
The selectors pick up to 175 of the best regardless of fleet. This applies to wait list order too. It’s quality that counts. They can and do pick less, but never more. You might be among the best in your fleet, but the selectors are looking at sailors across all the fleets and around the country.

7. US Sailing has a ranking of the top sailors nationwide and they are guaranteed to get into Youth Champs.
There are events that will earn your early acceptance should you apply having placed at a certain level but there is no ranking. Every year there are sailors who qualified for Youths the previous year (or even several years) but do not get in this year.

8. If you are sailing with someone new, your old results will still count.
Teams will be evaluated on their performance together as well as individual results. You should show evidence that the two of you have been racing together over the past year. If you are highly experienced as a crew but are relatively new to helming, your crewing experience will not be as important as your helming experience.
If you are sailing with a new team member but in the same position on the boat, they will look at past results but will also factor in your experience as a team.

9. Each region of the US has a set number of allotted slots.
Not true; if all the best sailors in the USA are currently living in Alaska and Hawaii, they will be the sailors who are invited.

10. Can I submit a grievance if I was not accepted?
Yes and it will be reviewed by a separate committee whose decision is final.

11. What can I do to qualify next year?
• Finish in the top 10% of every regatta you attend. But US Sailing knows that everyone has a bad regatta so if you do, don’t try and hide it. We are looking at the big picture.
• Sail in the best regattas you can manage: U.S. Junior Championships and their eliminations (singlehanded or doublehanded), Orange Bowl, class championships, major regattas in your region, and high school competitions are equally as good. If there’s a conflict between two events, do the event that you and your family can manage logistically and financially.
• The selectors look at results and see who was sailing at which event. They look at the size of the fleet and the conditions under which you were sailing. All of these factor into their thinking.
• Doublehanded teams: Remember that you are applying as a team and develop as a team. If you race together and often, you will be seen by the selectors and your progress will be noted. Every year we see teams who may not have started off strong in the spring but come on like gangbusters as the summer developed.
• Fill out your application form completely and don’t fudge your results.
Character counts. Selectors come and go each year and you never know who is keeping an eye out.