U.S. Junior Women's Championships
The U.S. Junior Women’s Championships Committee annually hosts two events: a Singlehanded and a Doublehanded championship. Both championships are open events. However, participants must be young women aged 13-18, members of US Sailing, and U.S. citizens. Each championship combines two clinic days with three racing days. The National Head Coach and staff are hired for the entire event to provide equal guidance to all competitors. No private coaching is allowed.
Support of the U.S. Junior Women's Singlehanded Championship and the U.S. Junior Women's Doublehanded Championship as well as the clinics is made possible by funds provided by the late C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. to perpetuate his unwavering dedication to Junior Women's Sailing. His support is in memory of his late wife, Nancy Leiter Clagett, a world class sailor, and of Ida Lewis, the heroic daughter of a lighthouse keeper. This support is intended to encourage young American women to enhance their sailing ability, with emphasis on sportsmanship, by providing the opportunity to compete in national-level competition with guidance from high-level coaching. Tom Clagett's family continues to assist in fulfilling his vision.
The first event was the Singlehanded sailed in Laser Radials which was started by Tom Clagett in 1980 at the Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Newport, RI and sailed for a trophy named in memory of Tom’s wife, Nancy, who died in April, 1977. In 1985, USYRU (now US Sailing) agreed to support the event on a trial basis. In 1986, it became the U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship for the Nancy Leiter Clagett Memorial Trophy.
The U.S. Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship for the Ida Lewis Trophy championship was started in 1995 when it became apparent that a second championship in a doublehanded boat was needed to complement the singlehanded event. It became a US Sailing national championship in 1996. The event is sailed in Club 420s.
A separate sportsmanship prize was later added to both championships in 2001, following Tom’s death in June of that year and a family logo was created for the championships incorporating Tom’s and Nancy’s private yacht signals. Nancy’s signal was a green ladder on a yellow rectangle since “Leiter” is German for ladder. Tom and Nancy’s first boat was named “The Barefoot Girl” after Nancy’s preference not to wear shoes. Tom’s private signal became two white bare feet on a blue triangle. The Singlehanded class flag is Nancy’s signal flag, and the Doublehanded class flag is a representation of the Ida Lewis lighthouse.