The best junior sailors in the Northeast Region will convien on Gloucester this month.
Up to 300 sailors ages 8-18 from all over the Northeast will be competing in the Mass. Bay Junior Olympic Sailing Festival, which will take place at Gloucester’s Annisquam Yacht Club from August 13-15.
The event, which rotates between sailing clubs in Massachusetts each year and is open to all junior sailors in the Northeast, will take place on Ipswich Bay where spectators can grab a perfect view of the action from Wingaersheek Beach. The races go off at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, August 13 and start at 9:30 a.m. the following two days.
“It’s going to be a really exciting event,” said Val Gilman, Co-chair of publicity at Annisquam Yacht Club. “We have a lot of good sailors coming from a lot of good sailing clubs. Gloucester is a boating community and this event will represent the city well.”
While sailors will be coming to Gloucester from all over the Northeast, there are going to be sailors representing several local sailing clubs including Eastern Point Yacht Club, Sandy Bay Yacht Club, Manchester Sailing Association and Ipswich Jr. Sailing.
Sailors will be divided up by skill level, age and by boat class. There are three different types of sailing to be raced at the Junior Olympic festival.
The Club 420 boats, two man boats that are 4.2 meters long and powered by two people. The Club 420’s are the biggest and fastest moving boats which make for some of the more exciting races.
The other two types of boats, both single rider boats, are the laser radials and the optimists. The laser radial is usually sailed by lower weight sailors while the optimists are one of the most popular sailboats used in junior races.
Each crew or sailor will race as many races as the event can get in each day and each crew or sailor gets to drop its worst time, the crew or sailor with the lowest combined time in each class is declared the winner.
The single carrier boats will set off at the Annisquam Yacht Club and move towards Ipswich Bay. The club 420’s, however, will be touching down in the water at the boat ramp behind Gloucester High School due to the size of the boats.
“The city has been really helpful working with us,” Gilman said. “The waterways board is working with us to help the 420’s be launched at the GHS boat boat ramp and they have given the athletes permission to leave their trailers there as well.”
The event kicks off at 10:00 a.m. Monday, August 13 with opening ceremonies and skippers meetings to be held at the Annisquam Yacht Club’s tennis courts, which is going to serve as a home base for the event. The event is also a green regatta and will have a strong environment presence. Gilman says the Annisquam Yacht Club is still looking for volunteers and those interested can contact the club.
“This is a community event and we are very happy with the way the city and the community has reached out to help us,” Gilman said. “It’s going to b an amazing event. The camaraderie between the athletes is unbelievable and it’s going to be fun and exciting to see them compete against each other.