US Sailing's Youth and Junior 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. The junior and youth events provide an avenue for sailors to compete on a wider basis. Paul Cayard, via the Junior Triplehanded Championship for the Sears Cup, was drawn into first national, then global competition. Anna Tunnicliffe was a participant in the Junior Women's championships before moving onto successes at the U.S. Team and U.S. Women's Match Racing Championships in addition to her gold medal in the Radial class at the 2008 Olympic games.
The oldest Championship is what is now the U.S. Junior Triplehanded Championships for the Sears Cup. When the Sears Cup was first offered as a perpetual trophy to winners of a sailing competition among Massachusetts youth, the boys were required to wear caps, neckties and jackets while sailing. The girls had to wear dresses. And the sails were canvas. US Sailing's Chubb Junior Championships for the Sears Cup, the Bemis Trophy and Smythe Trophy are ladder‑type events. Competition begins at local districts or Areas and only the top sailors advance to the national finals. A couple of the Championships are open championships where no eliminations are required and all are open to eligible junior sailors. The U.S. Youth Multihull championship for the Stephens Trophy is the newest of these. The U.S. Junior Women’s Championships are an open event for junior women; in the doublehanded, they sail for the Ida Lewis Trophy, while singlehanded junior women compete for the Nancy Leiter Clagett Memorial Trophy. Perhaps the largest of these is US Sailing's Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship which is held biannually. Participants in this championship have been as young as 14.
Some of the championships are by invitation only. The U.S. Youth Sailing Championships provide young sailors an opportunity to compete at a national level in some of the Olympic class boats. 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. Recent competitors have included representatives from the Optimist and C420 classes. Eligible sailors 17 and over can also either participate via the elimination process or apply by resume to the U.S. Singlehanded Championships in both the Men's division and Women's division.
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's Championships. Many of the championships are preceded by clinics to promote excellence in the sport. But 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.