Young sailors from around the globe will converge on South Florida for the 69th annual Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta (OBIYR).
The four-day event, Dec. 26-30, takes place on Biscayne Bay and is the largest youth regatta in the U.S. attracting more than 675 competitors from 27 states and 23 countries.
One of the largest dinghy regattas for sailors ages 8 to 18 in the world, the OBIYR will take place at the Coral Reef Yacht Club (CRYC) in Coconut Grove, with support from the U.S. Sailing Center Miami, Lauderdale Yacht Club, and Shake-A-Leg Miami. The event, a staple in South Florida for almost seven decades, attracts more than 200 volunteers from around the community.
“Coral Reef Yacht Club is proud to be involved in this premier event, which provides up-and-coming sailors with an opportunity to race competitively and become more active within the sailing community,” said OBIYR chair Lori Harvey. “Besides the excitement of the regatta, more than half of the sailors and their families come from outside of South Florida and spend an average of five to six nights here, which helps support our local economy in the form of hotel nights, food, transportation and retail sales.”
There currently are four high schools in Miami-Dade County that have active sailing programs: Ransom Everglades, Gulliver Preparatory, Coral Gables Senior High, and Westminster Christian School. Many of these high school sailors will compete in the OBIYR, giving them exposure to some of the top sailing coaches from around the country.
The four days of competition feature several types of vessels: Optimists, Lasers (Full, Radial, and 4.7), and Club 420s. This year’s regatta already has reached its cap in all three categories, and fleets are being put on a wait list.
Platinum sponsors for the event include: the Orange Bowl Committee, McLaughlin, Sperry Top-Sider, KO Sailing, and Gill.
Awards are distributed to the top sailors in each vessel category by government officials, Orange Bowl Committee leaders and Olympians including Magnus Liljedahl, a former U.S gold medalist who will be presenting this year’s Magnus Liljedahl Sportsmanship Award. In addition, this year’s top local Opti sailor will be presented with a trophy sponsored by the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District.
Staging for the four day regatta will take place at several locations including the CRYC, U.S. Sailing Center Miami, and Shake-A-Leg Miami.
For more information or a daily schedule of events, visit www.coralreefyachtclub.org or call 305-781-5177.