FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jake Fish, US SAILING Communications Manager
PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (June 22, 2009) – Every sport season has their eagerly anticipated and much celebrated opening day. US SAILING, the national governing body of the sport, presents its version of opening day for the summer and fall seasons with the U.S. Youth Sailing Championship on June 25-30, hosted by the Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, Conn. Sponsored by LaserPerformance and Gill North America, the U.S. Youth Sailing Championship is the pinnacle of youth sailing competition in the United States.
The waters of Long Island Sound will be the site for this year’s championship, where 116 of the country’s top single- and doublehanded young sailors, both girls and boys, ranging from 13 to 19 years of age, will race Lasers, Laser Radials, 29ers, and Club 420s. US SAILING has selected this field of sailors from across the country, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, based on their sailing resumes and performance at regional, national, and international competitions.
Among those to watch in the Laser Radial class will be Marissa Lihan (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.). She has been consistently improving over the past year, and in 2008 she finished second at the U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship. She won the ISAF Youth Worlds Qualifier this year, and after the championship she will leave to represent the United States in Brazil at the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships. Lihan is also a member of the US Sailing Team - U18. She will be rivaled by Boston College standout, Anne Haeger (Lake Forest, Ill.), who won the 2008 College National Singlehanded Championship in Laser Radials.
This year’s Laser class competition should be closely contested. A pair of former U.S. Youth Sailing Champions will square off in this year’s event. Colin Smith (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), winner of the 2007 Laser division and second place in the Laser Radial division last year; and Ian Heausler (Tampa, Fla.), winner of the 2007 Laser Radial division will be vying for another title. This will be Heausler’s first appearance in the Laser fleet at this championship.
In the C420s, Korbin Kirk (Long Beach, Calif.) and Daniel Segerblom (Costa Mesa, Calif.) bring an impressive resume to Greenwich. They are the 2009 U.S. Youth Multihull Champions and will be leaving for Brazil after the championship to represent the U.S. in the multihull division of the ISAF Youth World Championships. Kirk won the 2008 U.S. Junior Doublehanded Championship. Both Kirk and Segerblom are members of the US Youth World Team. New to the championship this year is Ian Barrows (St. Thomas, VI) who is sailing with Olin Davis (St. Thomas, VI). One of the youngest competitors, Barrows is making the transition to the C420 class from the Optimist class, where he won the Optimist South American Championship in 2008. Davis finished seventh at the 2008 Orange Bowl in the 420 s, and won the St. Maarten Heineken Formula 40 in February.
Also in the hunt in the C420 are Eliza Richartz (Old Lyme, Conn.) and Carly Shevitz (Santa Barbara, Calif.) who sailed to a second place finish at the ISAF Youth World Qualifier in January. Richartz was second in the U.S. Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship in 2008, and fifth at the U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship.
In the 29er class, the team of Maxwell Fraser (Capitola, Calif.) and David Liebenberg (Livermore, Calif.) has returned to put closure to unfinished business from a year ago. Last year, Fraser and Liebenberg finished second in the U.S. Youth Sailing Championship. In August, they collected a win at the 2008 29er North American Championship.
A new addition to the U.S. Youth Sailing Championship is the Gill College Sailing Seminar on Friday, June 26. The seminar includes a panel discussion with college sailors and coaches. Scheduled to participate on the panel are Mark Zagol (U.S. Coast Guard), Frank Pizzo (Bowdoin) Bill Ward (St. Mary’s), and John Vandemoer (Stanford). Joining them will be panelists of current and recently graduated college sailors. This seminar will focus not just on college sailing but also its role in the admission process and how different school programs and different regions interact. Gill will be providing an educational session on “What to Wear” designed to teach sailors how to effectively use the latest technical gear for all conditions.
Several members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics have participated in the championship at some point in their career. U.S. Youth Championship graduates have become the stalwarts of successful college sailing programs, including a number of All-Americans and College Sailor of the Year award recipients.
At the conclusion of the regatta, a number of significant awards will be presented to the winners. The Robert L. Johnstone Trophy, which honors Johnstone's pioneering work in popularizing one-design sailing and serving as the U.S. Youth Championship's creator and first committee chairman, will go to the winner of the Laser class. The Manton D. Scott Memorial Trophy, honors the life of an aspiring Olympic sailor whose life was cut short prematurely in a sailing accident in 1973, will be awarded to the winning boat in the Club 420 class. The Robert and Ann Conner Trophy honors the Conners’ lifelong effort to promote junior sailing, and will be awarded the winner of the Laser Radial class. The David M. Perry Sportsmanship award will be given to the sailors in each division who exemplify the highest level of the Corinthian spirit at the championship.
For daily video highlights of the 2009 U.S. Youth Sailing Championship, go to http://www.sailgroove.org/videos/coverage/view/235205-us-sailing-youth-sailing-championship.
For more information about the U.S. Youth Championship, including a complete list of competitors and latest updates as the event is happening, please visit http://championships.ussailing.org/Youth/US_Youth_Champs.htm.
About US SAILING
The United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US SAILING offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org.
About Indian Harbor Yacht Club
For 120 years, Indian Harbor Yacht Club has fully embraced one-design, fleet and blue water racing. In addition to a strong junior sailing program, which is open to all children in the community, Indian Harbor also remains committed to race management excellence. Early members were the founders of organizations such as the North American Yacht Racing Union, known today as US SAILING, as well as the Yacht Racing Union of Long Island Sound and the U.S. Power Squadron. Commodores such as Robert Law and Clifford Mallory, whose Mallory and Law Trophies are competed for each summer, demonstrated an early commitment to the importance of junior sailing that still continues. Today, whether racing in one-design boats, sending a record number of entries to Bermuda or winning Transatlantic races, Indian Harbor Yacht Club remains committed to the continued development and success of the sport. Indian Harbor Yacht Club, 710 Steamboat Road, Greenwich, Connecticut, 203-869-2484.
LaserPerformance formally Vanguard Sailboats has a long history of providing benefits and support to US SAILING, its members, events, and programs. Today, LaserPerformance has the role of official sponsor of the US Youth Championships, the U.S. Junior Women's Doublehanded Championship, the U.S. Junior Women's Singlehanded Championship, the U.S. Singlehanded Sailing Championship, the U.S. Junior Singlehanded and Doublehanded Championships, and the U.S. Team Racing Championship. LaserPerformance's commitment to supplying the boats and support for these events is what helps to ensure high caliber competition at these Championships. Many of the world's most popular dinghies are built by LaserPerformance. The impressive list includes three of the nine Olympic class boats (Laser, 470 and 49er). Boats being supplied to US SAILING Championships are the Laser, the Laser Radial, the Club 420 and the Vanguard 15. For more information on LaserPerformance, call 401-683-0960 or visit their web site at www.laserperformance.com.
About Gill North America
Gill NA, with headquarters near Atlanta, GA is the sole distributor and licensee of Gill-brand foul weather gear in North America including Caribbean, Central America, US and Canada. Gill is an apparel and accessories leader in the worldwide marine industry for over three decades and specializes in high tech, breathable waterproof clothing. The company tests, designs and markets a variety of performance-oriented, award-winning apparel and accessories for virtually every type of boating activity with product lines that include foul weather gear; interactive layering systems; footwear; gloves; bags; junior gear; scholastic gear and team wear. Available through hundreds of dealers nationally, Gill NA is the sole distributor and licensee of Gill-brand foul weather gear in North America, where it is the top selling yachting clothing brand. For more information on Gill NA, visit the company website at www.gillna.com, or contact Lance Jones at Gill NA, (678) 730-5581; e-mail: email@example.com