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O’Pen BIC Youth Sailors Challenge Conventional Regattas in Hi-Wind Slalom

While the races of the AC34 were postponed on August 17-18, 2013, 25 youth O’Pen BIC sailors took on the blustery weather to show off their skills in a Hi-Wind Slalom course at the America’s Cup Village Marina Green in San Francisco, CA.

While the races of the AC34 were postponed on August 17-18, 2013, 25 youth O’Pen BIC sailors took on the blustery weather to show off their skills in a Hi Wind Slalom course at the America’s Cup Village Marina Green in San Francisco, CA. The race, which was part of the AC Open series, required not only tactical skills, but also had sailors performing crazy maneuvers and stunts to entertain spectators, such as rounding marks while standing and high-fiving one another on certain legs. In fact, the slalom took youth sailing to a new level by requiring sailors to wear helmets and had a record number of spectators cheering on the excited junior sailors.

The sailors ranged in age from 9 to 15 and represented Team New Zealand, ORACLE, and Artemis, but hailed from Bermuda, New Zealand, Hawaii and the continental U.S. Bermuda sailors Mikey Wollmann and Peter Dill won first and second, but with AC72s cruising alongside the O’Pen BICS and regatta rules stating, “Don’t expect conventional round the buoys racing…capsizes, freestyle sailing, speed and fun will be required,” the O’Pen BICs Hi-Wind Slalom was more about revolutionizing youth sailing and showing just how exciting it can be.

Onne Van der Wal was there to capture it all. Check out photos of the event below.

Despite the postponement of the AC34 opener races on August 17-18, 2013, 25 youth sailors from Bermuda, New Zealand and the U.S. took on high winds to compete in the Slalom.

Set against the backdrop of AC72s, the junior sailors blasted around the racecourse, entertaining one of the largest spectator crowds to watch youth racing.

The blustery winds of San Francisco Bay, CA, made for a great day of competitive, edgy and fast sailing—so much so that even helmets were necessary!

The Slalom required more than just sailing tactics; to add to the "fun" factor, sailors were challenged to stand and maintain their balance while rounding certain marks.

The fleet dukes it out at the starting line. This regatta may focus on having a great time on the water, but that doesn't mean the racing wasn't competitive. 

Keeping in line with O'Pen BICs vision to "pioneer a new chapter in youth sailing," these sailors team up to perform one of the many stunts required during the race.

The O'Pen BIC regattas have always been about making friends and having fun on the water. Here, sailors celebrate their victories.

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