Top young Americans

The US Youth Championships are set to begin this weekend

Wednesday January 16th 2008, Author: Rich Roberts, Location: United Kingdom
The future of American sailing will be on display Saturday through Monday when Alamitos Bay Yacht Club hosts the 2008 US Sailing ISAF Youth World Qualifier and US Youth Multihull Championship.

Boys will race singlehanded full-rig Lasers, girls Laser Radials; they'll sail two-person 29er skiffs in separate classes, and some will combine talents on doublehanded Nacra SL-16 catamarans.

The winners will advance to the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship at Aarhus, Denmark in July. The catamarans also will be competing for US Sailing's Youth Multihull Championship for the Arthur J. Stevens Trophy.

The birth date cutoff is 1990 or later, so many of the 82 boys and girls are too young to drive but, boy, can they sail. Several have already built international resumes of success using Western waters as a launching pad. Chris Barnard, 16, of Newport Beach - most recently a close second among 138 Laser Radials in the Orange Bowl Regatta at Miami - is one of five Southern Californians among the seven selections for Gary Jobson's annual Junior All-Star List for Sailing World magazine, along with Chris Segerblom of Newport Beach and Jake LaDow, Caleb Paine and Judge Ryan of San Diego.

All are competing this weekend, as are top girls Radial sailors Emily Billing of Clearwater and Claire Dennis of San Francisco.

Segerblom, 15, and Andrew Mason, 18, racing a catamaran for the first time, placed second by a half-point to Florida's Evan Miller and Alexander Stewart in last year's U.S. Youth Multihulls at ABYC. Stewart's age limit expired, but Miller, 17, is back sailing with Taylor Reiss.

The 29ers and SL-16s will race on an open ocean course, the Lasers and Laser Radials either outside or inside the breakwater of the outer harbor. Racing is scheduled to start at noon each day, conditions permitting.

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