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Junior Olympic Sailing Festival coming to Annapolis

Junior Olympic Sailing FestivalThe 2012 Junior Olympic Sailing Festival—Chesapeake Bay Open is going to be more than your usual youth regatta.

The four-day event will be held just three weeks before the beginning of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The event begins Thursday, July 5 with high-quality youth clinics followed by Olympic-style opening ceremonies featuring ESPN personality Gary Jobson. July 6 kicks off three days of fun and competitive junior sailing featuring five separate fleets of boats. Closing ceremonies take place on July 8 and will feature awards presentations by renowned sailor and Olympic silver medal winner Scott Steele.

A youth-oriented Olympic Village on the Annapolis Yacht Club Annex grounds will feature activities for all ages. Highlights include a face-painting contest with Zinka sunscreen, a games truck, daily visits from the Kona Ice truck, and gear for sale from Coral Reef Sailing Apparel and Layline. Volleyball matches for older competitors and a water slide for the younger ones will add to the off-water fun.

There will be lots of serious sailing as well — Optimists, Club 420s, Laser full and radial rigs, and Hobie 16s will all compete each day. Friday will be the AYC Annual Regatta, Saturday is the SSA/Sandy MacVickar Annual Regatta, and the Hobie Youth North American Championships run all three days. The entire event is the Junior Olympics.

In the spirit of the Junior Olympic movement, this event is open to all junior sailors and has a significant community outreach component. Community partners include Box of Rain, an Annapolis-based organization providing skill-building for at-risk youth through marine and land-based activities. A wooden stand-up paddleboard built by Box of Rain youth from a kit donated by Annapolis-based Chesapeake Light Craft will be on display in the Olympic Village.

Youth from Box of Rain will march in the opening ceremonies and man the paddleboard display to showcase their skills and accomplishments. They’ll also receive novice sailing instruction from expert instructors aboard the Annapolis Yacht Club’s fleet of J/22s.

“This will be THE event of the summer for juniors on the Chesapeake Bay; we have a tremendous amount of support from the local community, the sailing community, our sponsors, our volunteers, and the kids,” says event chair John Morgan.

He continues, “This is all translating into what will be an incredible experience here in Annapolis for over 250 competitors and the public. Our timing is also fortuitous, as this event falls just three weeks before the opening ceremonies for the London Olympics, raising the interest level in Olympic style events such as ours.”

Online registration and more information are available now at www.annapolisyc.org/juniorolympics

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