USODA West Coast Championships youth regatta Saturday and Sunday in Marina del Rey
More than 60 junior sailors ages 8 to 15 will be in Marina del Rey this weekend for the United States Optimist Dinghy Assn. West Coast Championships. The event, hosted by and held at the California Yacht Club, takes place Saturday and Sunday beginning at noon and features top youth sailors competing for the title of West Coast Champion -- as well as for the opportunity to qualify for the U.S. National Team Trials in April in San Francisco -- in the under-16 category of the competition.
Open to all Optimist sailors, the event features a multiple-race format in which the young mariners will take part in as many as 12 races over two days (weather permitting), with the low-point total determining the winner.
There will be two separate groups: Green Fleet for the less experienced sailors, with racing inside the protected harbor; and Championship Fleet for the veterans, featuring ocean sailing in Santa Monica Bay about a mile northwest of the Marina del Rey breakwater.
Although most of the sailors hail from California, the field is likely to include competitors from Oregon, Washington and beyond -- the current entry list includes four U.S. National Team members, three International Team members, plus the 2009 West Coast Champion and this year's Pacific Coast Champion, 13-year-old Cooper Weitz of Marina del Rey, returning to defend his title.
The California Yacht Club is located at 4469 Admiralty Way in Marina del Rey.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: Competitors at the 2009 USODA West Coast Championships. Credit: Peter Abraham