Posted On:  01/06/2016 23:45:54
The O'Pen BIC North Americans this past weekend has become more than the pinnacle "Un-Regatta" of the season- it has become a family reunion with sailors returning from as far as Hawaii, California, Canada, and all over to share the O'Pen BIC vibe. This year the class enjoyed outstanding Southern hospitality hosted by the beautiful James Island Yacht Club, following Charleston Race Week.
Watch the VIDEO of the event
Just thought I'd share with you my experiences at the "Un-Regatta" format at the 2016 O'Pen BIC North American Championship.
My kids sail O'Pen BICs on Lake Erie at the Buffalo Canoe Club. They both love being on their boats all day long because of the boat's' speed, sharp handling, and cool design. We all look forward to the "Un-Regatta's" thrown by Nevin Sayre, including the 2016 North Americans in Charleston two weeks ago.
The atmosphere at the Un-Regattas is perfectly age-appropriate with the focus on having fun and sportsmanship, while still running competitive racing with unconventional twists such as dry tipping mid-race, standing up downwind, beach starts, and "Freestyle" competitions. After three full days of racing, the best sailors invariably rise to the top of the standings because their inherent skill handling the boat is expressed doing these unconventional twists.
I only wish that other youth sports would embrace the Un-Regatta philosophy. Most of the kids only see each other during these BIC events, yet they all are supportive of each other on and off the water. The parents recognize that making lifelong friends at a young age is far more important than winning these particular events. I now have families in Hawaii, Rhode Island, Martha's Vineyard, and Florida who would host us for a sailing event or simple vacation.
The lifeblood of the future of sailing naturally rests in the crop of kids coming up through the ranks. I believe these Un-Regattas give us the best chance of keeping the kids interested long enough to carry into adulthood, and beyond.
- John Marynowski