How to Transition from College to Olympic Sailing Now
College sailors are know for their tactical acumen and starting ability, who vital elements of fleet railing. However, it’s often been hard for college sailors to transition those skills into Olympic style sailing, which involves more boat speed, equipment management, and logistics on top of the pure racing skills.
We are happy to share with college sailors a clear path to the LA 2028 Olympics. For the first time ever there will be a series of pinnacle championships on American shores.
The 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 Classes have recently announced the 2022 World Championship in Halifax Nova Scotia, and the 2025 World Championship in Long Beach, California. Additionally, the Pan Am Games organization recently announced the inclusion of these three Classes into the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games and 2027 inclusion seems likely as well. In the summers of 2026 and 2027 there will be ‘Test Events’ in Long Beach (formerly known as Pre-Olympics). There has never been so much pinnacle Olympic class racing confirmed for such a long window in the America’s before.
Additionally, US Sailing in conjunction with Sail Canada is developing a series of US Open regattas. Separated into three zones, there will be a total of nine annual regattas, 3 in Florida in Dec/Jan, 3 in California June/July, and 3 in the North-East in August and September. These events will include clinics and the US Sailing development squad has invited new sailors and teams to be part of this Olympic sailing development effort.
Now is the time best time there has ever been for Youth Sailors or College sailors to begin sailing fast boats. We have plenty of resources and options to help sailors with their near term and long-term development in the Americas.
2021 – Domestic USA circuit with clinics – all welcome
2022 – Worlds in Halifax
– There will be a series of pre-regattas leading up to the Worlds
2023 – Pan Am Games in Chile
2025 – Worlds in Long Beach
2026 – Test Event in Long Beach
2027 – Test Event in Long Beach
2028 – LA 2028
So the pinnacle pathway above is fairly clear. There are regional opportunities for top level sailing each year from now through 2028. Successful 49er and Nacra sailors have come from all of the youth classes and other Classes too. Laser, 420, 470, 29er, Nacra 15, Snipe, Hobie, Windsurfing and Kitesurfing sailors can all claim top representatives in the fast classes. All that is necessary is some athleticism and a passion for sailing.
The best way to start is with second hand gear and a few friends to practice with. Boathandling must be learned over a period of 12 months or so before proper racing can begin. The equipment is much improved from the early days of the 49er, so breakages are much reduced and there is so much great content on youtube that figuring out all the techniques needed is highly accessible.
The 49erFX is a great event for both men and women to transition from youth and junior Classes. It goes just as fast, but a bit easier to handle than the 49er or Nacra 17. Sailors can mix and match as a squad, learning both skipper and crew position before settling into firm partnerships for the big push.
The 49er class (including FX) recently announced new mast and sail manufacturers starting in the summer of 2021, so there should be plenty of second hand equipment of top quality entering the marketplace. The new masts and sails are pretty much the same as the outgoing equipment, so teams needing to learn boathandling first will not notice any difference. If sailors are looking to get new equipment, second hand equipment, or parts reach out to the North American Class president Trevor (firstname.lastname@example.org) for info.
For teams looking to get linked up with you national or regional training groups, reach out to Ben Remocker, the class manager for 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17.
For Youth and Junior Sailors with serious sailing aspirations in the America’s, there has never been such a clear pathway to the top! The effort for a medal in LA 2028 starts now, as champions are built over time well spent on the water.