ICOYC Spotlights the Americas Region

As Vice President of the Americas region, I’m pleased to offer some thoughts about this home to 17 ICOYC Member-Clubs. The diversity of boating venues is as great as any in the world.  Member clubs are located on lakes, oceans, sounds and estuaries, distributed broadly across the continent.

Yacht racing is an important element in all of the Americas member clubs. Signature races include Newport to Bermuda, Annapolis to Newport, Chicago-Mackinaw, Long Beach’s Congressional Cup, and St. Francis Yacht Club’s Rolex Big Boat Series. Many clubs host weekly series races (Beer Can, Wednesday Night, Frostbite to name a few), and many class and other world, national and regional championships are hosted throughout the year. There is a trend to get all kinds of boats on the racecourse, and clubs are asking sailors what kind of racing they enjoy. More point-to-point races are now offered, such as the Three Bridge Fiasco in San Francisco Bay, which has inspired other clubs looking for a fun event. A very good sense of humor is required, as boats can cross the start and finish lines and round the marks in either direction, hence the moniker “fiasco”.

Interclub racing has become more and more popular, with most ICOYC clubs maintaining their own fleets of boats, such as Sonars and J/22s. These club challenges can be team, match or even fleet racing, and offer wonderful opportunities to connect with sailors around the world and abroad. Interclub racing attracts younger members but masters’ events are just as popular, and all have fun as a priority.

ICOYC clubs in the Americas boast excellence in race management, and St. Petersburg Yacht Club created the St. Petersburg Trophy in the late 1960s to recognize the club which ran the best regatta. The trophy was donated to US Sailing in 1977 and the winner is selected annually on the basis of race management superiority and evaluation by participating skippers. It remains a prestigious, sought-after award. At the 2023 ICOYC Forum in Vancouver in September, we look forward to an in-depth discussion of race management and the latest technology.

ICOYC clubs have boasted their share of Olympic contenders and medal winners, and famous sailors such as Ted Turner, Dennis Connor, Stan and Sally Honey, Paul Cayard and Gary Jobson are all members of ICOYC clubs.

Racing is not the only boating activity you’ll find at ICOYC clubs. Cruising and fishing groups are strong, and junior programs are thriving. The most significant activity is boaters connecting with each other on the water and in the fine facilities of our member clubs, not just in the Americas region, but around the world.

In the Americas we have a true love of the sport and sailors as part of a community. Visiting sailors are welcomed to join in the fun.