US Sailing's Championships offer a wide variety of disciplines including invitational, ladder, resume, and open events in which sailors of all ages can test their skills at a national level. Over the years, US Sailing's Championships have helped shape the sport of sailboat racing. In 1925, the North American Yacht Racing Union, which later dissolved and spurred US Sailing, was primarily an administrative body concerned with developing uniform racing rules and boat rating systems. It was not until the founding of the Championships did the organization begin to reach sailors both along America’s coasts and inland. The Adams Trophy, awarded to the U.S. women’s champion, dates back to 1924. Soon after women won the right to vote in this country, what is believed to be “the first women’s championship ever held in the world” ‑ surely the first in North America ‑ was contested.
The Championships have served an important role in unifying sailing instructions, developing types of race courses, helping shape racing rules for certain aspects of the sport, initiating such features as moving the windward mark in case of a wind shift, drawing top local competitors to national and even worldwide competition and helping identify and prepare America’s top sailors for the Olympics. The Championships, trophies and winners provide a glimpse into the glorious history of the sport, and provide a canvas for the young sailors of today to paint their own version of tomorrow’s history.
Other ladder events include, the U.S. Men’s Championship for the Mallory Trophy, U.S. Women’s Championship for the Adams Cup, U.S. Singlehanded championship for the O’Day Trophy and Helen Hanley Trophy, and U.S. Multihull Championship for the Hobie Alter Cup for multihull sailors All of these also have a process whereby sailors can be selected by resume. The ladder events provide an avenue for sailors to compete on a wider basis. For example, they drew America’s Cup winner Buddy Melges, via the Men’s Championship for the Mallory Cup, out of scow country and eventually to the Olympics and the Americas’ Cup.
The U.S. Match Racing Championship for the Prince of Wales Bowl has led to many changes in the sport where two boats race only each other. This championship has led to refinements that affected the America’s Cup by, for example, drastically shortening the length of the starting line for match racing. The championship, no doubt, had an influence on the special section of racing rules for match racing. It is now joined by the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship for the Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy, which is bringing more and more women into the sport.
A couple of the Championships are open championships where no eliminations are required. Perhaps the largest of these is the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship which is held biannually. The U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship for the Chandler Hovey and Goldman Trophiesround out the list.
Some of the championships are by resume application only. The U.S. Women's Match Racing is one. The U.S. Team Racing Championship for the George Hinman Trophy is another, where three‑boat teams compete against each other under a special set of rules. For offshore sailors, there is the U.S. Offshore Championship for the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy.
One particular event, US Sailing’s Championship of Champions for the Jack Brown Trophy, is a combination invitation/elimination entry process. Winners of national, North American or world championships of 20 selected one‑design classes compete the following year to see who is the best of the best.
Identifying champions, selecting sailors for international competition and developing sailors for the U.S. Olympic Team are only part of the purpose of US SAILING Championships. As every sailor knows, just racing with top‑notch competitors who are willing to share their expertise, makes for better racing for all of us.
To get information pertaining to a particular championship, such as dates, venues, type of boat, notice of race, or contact information, click on the championship's title on the left.