125 years of US Sailing

US Sailing is turning 125!

For 125 years, we have served the sailing public - first as NAYRU, then as USYRU, and finally as US Sailing.

For 125 days, from June 27 through October 30 (the day of our founding in 1897) we will be celebrating with a series of videos, editorials, membership perks, and fun stories highlighting important moments in the sport. We invite you to honor history and impact the future with us!

Video Gallery

Throughout 125 Years of US Sailing

The Beginning

US Sailing was established as the North American Yacht Racing Union in 1897 to encourage and promote yacht racing, and to unify the racing and rating rules in the United States and Canada and throughout the yachting world. It remained relatively dormant during this time. In 1900, Sailing was included in the Olympics for the first time.

The Awakening

In 1926, the NAYRU was revived by Clifford Mallory, who throughout the 1920s, used the organization as a way to establish sailing rules -both offshore and inshore - for North America. It was during this time that the organization began sending delegates to the International Yacht Racing Union (now World Sailing) meetings. NAYRU also established the Sears Cup Junior championship in 1931, kickstarting NAYRU’s organization of championships across the US (there are now 12!). That same year, Canada formed it’s own organization, leaving NAYRU. 


NAYRU developed long and continuous associations with the IYRU and the Offshore Racing Council, which have included initiating unified racing rules in 1960.

 In 1975, the NAYRU changed it’s name to the USYRU. In the early 80’s, USYRU began a program to train young sailors through a network of certified instructors, a program that continues today with our small boat instructor programs. In 1991, USYRU change its name to the United States Sailing Association, Inc. and began to do business as US SAILING - what we are currently known as. Also in the early 90’s, US Sailing developed a comprehensive instruction program for adults. Also during this time, a number of our preeminent championships were created - including the Championship of Champions and the Hinman trophy.

In 1984, the US Sailing Team won medals in every Olympic sailing event.

Modern Era

In 2000, the US Sailing Team wins it’s first Paralympic sailing medal, a bronze in the 2.4 Meter class. During this time US Sailing established Reach, our STEM in sailing educational curriculum which aims to get kids involved in math and science. Most recently, in 2019, US Sailing established the Siebel Sailors program to increase access to youth sailing in underserved communities.

125 Editorials Pieces

From the Desk of the President: Reflecting on 125 Years of US Sailing

A note from USSA Board President Rich Jepsen 125 years of US Sailing. Wow. As I started my first year as president of the board, I reflected on the long list of luminaries who served in my post before me. It’s a daunting list! I also reflected on how many times in those 125 years…


What does it take to become a Sailing Legend? These days, the criteria may seem obvious – an Olympic gold medalist, America’s Cup winner, or venerated ocean racer. But, like many things, the word “legend” has changed over time. One of America’s first venerated “sailing legends” was not revered for his racing abilities but rather his engineering talent.  

Known as the “Wizard of Bristol,” Captain Nathanael Herreshoff was born in Bristol, RI (current home of the US Sailing office!) in 1848. He was an early graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s mechanical engineering program, and went on to found his own manufacturing.

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Sailing has been a part of the Olympics since the dawn of the modern Olympiad in 1896 – only one year before the founding of the NAYRU, which later became US Sailing. The pathway of sailing in the Olympics and the evolution of US Sailing run (or sail?) a parallel course – as the sport evolved, so did its governing body and peak international competition.  

A lot has changed over the last 126 years!  

“It’s even visible in the name,” said Riley Schutt, Head of Technology for the US Sailing Team. “In the beginning, it was known as ‘Yachting,’ whereas now it is the program as ‘Sailing.’” 

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