Long Beach: Day 1
2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series
LONG BEACH, CA (July 9, 2021) – Olympic energy filled the air for day 1 of the US Open Sailing Series in Long Beach. The event, taking place at the site of the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games sailing venue, features 124 teams across 8 classes – 6 Olympic classes (Finn, Formula Kite, iQ Foil, ILCA 7, ILCA 6, and the Nacra 17) and 2 youth Olympic development classes (the 29er and the ICLA 4).
On the water, elite Olympic coaches helped prepare the competitors for the west coast leg of the Series with three days of pre-event sessions hosted by the Olympic Development Program (ODP). Two-time Olympic Bronze Medalist, Charlie McKee (Bend, Oregon), coached the Formula Kite sailors for the week and was impressed by not only the depth of talent developing, but also how the talent is developing together as a squad in the newest class on the program for Paris 2024.
“We are super happy with everything that has happened here,” said McKee. “We had a great training camp leading into this event. It’s our first time having the kites at the West Marine US Open Series here in California. We have 23 kites on the line and the level of racing is really high. There is a good mix of teenagers that are super talented and adults that are experienced veteran Kite Foilers, and everyone is working together in a collaborative way to improve.”
Bringing an international technology-driven approach to our US program, Yaniv Meir (Israel) worked with the iQ Foil group in Long Beach. His proven experience working with dominant Israeli board sailors is helping to invigorate the discipline in the States and jumpstart US efforts for both the 2024 and 2028 Games.
“There’s no question the world of windsurfing changed because we changed the discipline to the IQ Foil,” said Yaniv. “Naturally for such a big country like the U.S. the benefit of changing the discipline is giving young sailors the opportunity to jump into a new and exciting class and follow their dreams. I am bringing the experience of coaching windsurfing, but what I get from the sailors is the excitement. What I have seen the last 4 days is the combination of my experience and knowledge of windsurfing with their ambitions. There’s no doubt that it’s opening the door for the US to do great things in the near future, where young American talent shows real results.”
The eight classes are competing across three separate sailing circles off Long Beach and it’s all hands on deck to make the event a success. Southern California activated a volunteer staff of over 100 dedicated individuals from the local sailing community. Members from the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, Long Beach Yacht club, and the US Sailing Center Long Beach worked together to host the 2021 event, laying the foundation that will continue to build over the next seven years in the lead up to Los Angeles 2028.
“With 124 teams racing here in Long Beach, the West Marine US Open series continues to gain momentum,” said Paul Cayard, Olympian, World Champion, and current Executive Director of the US Olympic Sailing Team. “Apart from enjoying the conditions, support of top coaches and the local sailing community at large, these athletes are showing the depth that we are cultivating in the USA. The future of US Olympic Sailing is bright!”
Later in the day, Cayard (San Francisco, Calif.) joined Olympic Bronze Medalist, Pamela Healy (San Francisco, Calif.), on site at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club to host the Tokyo Olympic Team Virtual Send-Off. They were joined virtually by US Sailing CEO Alan Ostfield, premiere partner of the US Sailing Team, John Kilroy, and each athlete heading to Tokyo. Details to watch the archived broadcast can be found below.
The Long Beach component of the West Marine US Open Sailing Series is an exceptional added benefit to competitors taking advantage of the six-regatta series as it provides sailors with top level racing and coaching in future Olympic waters. On a broader scale, the US Open is delivering on a promise to provide annual, high-level racing on a domestic platform- all with the goal of racing toward excellence together on US waters in 2028.
Watch Tokyo 2020 Athlete Send-off here: Let’s Go to Tokyo! Athlete Send-off Celebration
Photo Credit: 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing – Long Beach. Photo by US Sailing/Simon Staff.
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- Entry List: Click here to find out who is racing this week