Hawaii Sailing Organizations
Youth sailing in Hawaii at first glance is confusing for the new racer, and probably more confusing for the parents involved. This section is aimed at taking away some of the mystery by explaining the logic in the programs, the relationships between organizations, and the general conduct of races. Finally, you should always check with your sailing instructor for the details of each individual regatta.
There are three main sailing organizations that relate to youth sailing in Oahu, Hawaii. They are the Hawaii Yacht Racing Association, the Hawaii Youth Sailing Association, and the Hawaii Sailing Foundation. Most yacht clubs run a sailing foundation including neighboring islands. These organizations include the Big Island Sailing Foundation, Kauai Sailing Association, and the Maui Community Sailing Foundation.
** Note that most italicized and underlined text will provide a link for more information
The Hawaii Yacht Racing Association (HYRA) is the coordinating body for the majority of yacht racing events conducted in Hawaii and is the parent organization of HYSA. It coordinates the yacht racing calendar for each year for the island of Oahu and provides general oversight of the organization and conduct of yacht racing. The program is extensive, covering offshore, class-boat, and small boat (HLA and Waihine RS) regattas. All yacht and sailing clubs in Hawaii are under the HYRA umbrella to be recognized by the US Sailing Association (USSA).
Hawaii Youth Sailing Association (HYSA), by its very name, has a broader charter than HYRA. It includes, in addition to yacht racing, clinic and training opportunities for youth sailors. It provides guidance and oversight to all Oahu-based yacht clubs on the conduct of youth events. HYSA coordinates a series of races conducted by seven Oahu-based yacht clubs. These races are exclusively for youth sailors.
The Hawaii Sailing Foundation (HSF) is the organization responsible for managing and distributing funds raised for sailing in Hawaii and for providing sponsorship to youth sailors for off-island national and international competitions. Its major source of income is the annual Sea Fest fund-raiser conducted each year.
The Big Island Sailing Foundation (BISF), is a youth sailing organization in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Island, Hawaii. In partnership with Kona Sailing Club, BISF facilitates junior sailing on Hawaii Island through “several sailing camps, learn-to-sail events, and other programs with an educational fun focus, designed to engage and teach kids the basics of sailing.”
The Kauai Sailing Association (KSA), is a youth sailing organization in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii. KSA partners with Nawiliwili Yacht Club to provide youth and adult sailing opportunities by way of “teaching life skills through marine awareness.” KSA offers several sailing camps, and it partners with many local, state, and national organizations to bring marine conservation and awareness to their afterschool programs and events.
The Maui Community Sailing Foundation (MCSF) is a youth sailing organization in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii. MCSF partners with Lahaina Yacht Club to provide “youth and adult educational programs to develop responsible sailors and stewards of the environment. Programs feature active hands-on learning which ranges from basic introductory outreach events to advanced racing, navigation, cultural and environmental awareness.”
Youth Sailing in Hawaii
There are several categories of regattas in which youth sailors may participate: The HYSA series of six races for the combined O'pen Skiff, El Toro and Lasers, the (tentative) HYSA Team and Match races for the 420’s, the HYRA series of nine races for Lasers, the Wahine Regatta Series, and other Special Events. The following information is not limiting, for many youth sailors find many more opportunities to sail outside of HYSA and HYRA events.
HYSA EVENTS (HAWAII YOUTH SAILING ASSOCIATION)
These regattas are for the Laser, El Toro, O'pen Skiff, 420 and 29er classes, with tentative regattas for other sailboats or foiling crafts. The regattas are conducted at the Oahu yacht clubs, which include KYC, WYC, HKBC, HYC, PYC, PHYC, and MKYC. The entry fee for each regatta may be from $10-15. The host club might provide a snack bag on the water. On completion of the regatta, a light evening meal is provided, generally a B-B-Q or pizza. The HYSA waiver, signed as part of the HYSA membership forms, covers all these regattas except those held on military establishments. Pearl Harbor Yacht Club and Pacific Yacht Club will require a separate waiver for their regattas. Click here for more information on HYSA membership.
HAWAII LASER ASSOCIATION
A series of nine regattas is scheduled by the Hawaii Laser Class Association and hosted by various yacht clubs. Entry fees vary for these events. Lunch or an evening meal is not provided. The HYSA waiver as part of the HYSA membership forms covers all these regattas except those held on military establishments (PHYC and PYC). Click here for more information on HLA for youth sailors.
WAHINE REGATTA SERIES
This series is for female sailors of all ages to participate in up to eight regattas hosted by Oahu yacht clubs, and the University of Hawaii. Each yacht club hosts a regatta in a particular class, such as (but not limited to): FJ; Quest; Rhodes 19; Cal 20; J80 and larger PH boats. Skippers are required to be members of a HYRA club, and are eligible to compete for the North Sails Wahine Skipper of the Year trophy. You may find the series NOS, NORs, and Group Me chat links for indiviual regattas on their Facebook page: Wahine Sailing Series. You may also contact the series steering committee chair, Leslie Foster with any questions not found via the Facebook page or Group Me chats.
INTERSCHOLASTIC LEAGUE of HONOLULU (ILH) - High School Sailing
The High School Sailing program is an organized athletics competition through the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH). Since its founding in 2003, ILH schools have competed in the spring season at the Varsity and Junior Varsity levels. Currently, students compete in Varsity I, Varsity II, and Varsity III levels. Click here for more information and contacts.
These can be separated into two categories: events that are standalone events like the Maui Divers and Bullship; and the ladder championships that lead to the US Sailing Junior Championships for the Smythe, Bemis, and Sears Trophies.
Of the stand-alone events, most are self-explanatory. Close attention should be paid to the Notice of Race and the Sailing Instructions. If in doubt seek the advice of your sailing instructor. Entry fees vary considerably. A list of these events follows:
This is a two-day regatta hosted by Hawaii Kai Boat Club. It is part of their Ring of Fire regatta series which includes the Dinghy Transpac. The Baron's Cup is open to these classes of boats: O'pen Skiff, RS Feva, 29er, Laser, Windsurfer, and the Hydrofoils (WASZP, Windfoil).
This is perhaps the oldest continuous youth regatta in Hawaii with results going back to 1977. The event sails from the Kaneohe Yacht Club Pier, around Coconut Island in Kaneohe Bay and back. The event is sailed in El Toros (hence the bull ship). The event varies from year to year. Sail area may be added during special years so check your sailing instructions and the notice of race.
The Dingy Transpac is hosted by the Hawaii Kai Boat Club. It is part of the Ring of Fire regatta series which includes the Baron's Cup. The Dinghy Transpac is a race from Hawaii Kai Boat Club to Hawaii Yacht Club. The race includes all non-fixed keeled sailing vessels under twenty feet. All youth sailors under 18 must have their Sailing Director's approval.
EI Toro States
The El Toro State Championships are conducted at KYC to coincide with the weekend of the Bullship regatta. Adults compete in this regatta as well.
HYRA State Singlehanded Championship
The States are conducted in ILCA 4 (4.7's), 6 (radials), and 7 (Full) sails. Junior and adult sailors participate in this event.
The single-handed High School States is conducted in the ILCA 6 (Radial).. This regatta is open to all 7-12th graders and may be sailed in all types of laser class sails, yet only the Radial sailors will qualify for the Maui Divers Interscholastic Challenge Cup place winners.
Other Hawaii State Championships
Other Hawaii state championships that include youth sailors are the 420, 29er, Laser, El Toro, and O'pen Skiff. The location of the championships may rotate every year. Refer to the Calendar-webpage for the date of the events.
US Sailing Junior Olympic Festival
A series of regattas hosted by Waikiki Yacht Club in coordination with the US Sailing Association. It typically occurs in July consisting of a series of regattas for several classes: Topper, El Toro, O’pen Skiff or Laser. The JO festival regattas are also coordinated in conjunction with HYSA season points.
HYSA junior sailors participate in a variety of national and international sailing competitions. This is a shortlist of the most sought-out competitions among our sailors in Hawaii. Contact your child’s sailing coach early in the year to inform him/her of your child’s interest in preparing for these championships.
US Sailing Chubb Junior Championships (this section is no longer valid, and will be updated shortly for 2023, for immediate info and updates go directly to the US Sailing Association website)
The Junior Championships comprises of three fleets: The Smythe raced in Single-handed Lasers, the Bemis raced in double-handed boats (usually the club 420) and the Sears raced in the 3-4 person boats (past boats include the J-22, Lightning, Santana 20, RS 21, etc.). The Junior Championships are unique in that each of the 11 Areas, in the country, conducts its own ladder championship and its winners continue to advance until they reach the Nationals where 20 sailors compete in the Smythe, 20 teams compete in the Bemis and 11 teams compete in the Sear’s Cup. The Junior Championship is held at rotating venues and takes place in early August. Click here for more info.
Between June and July, the Area H Qualifier events for the Smythe, Bemis, and Sears Cup will occur at various host clubs in Oahu, Hawaii.
Smythe: Will be hosted by WYC and KYC rotating annually. Starting at KYC in the year of 2022.
Bemis: Will be hosted by WYC and KYC rotating annually. Starting at WYC in the year of 2022.
Sears: Usually hosted at RBM but will vary annually depending on the boat being used in the finals
CISA Clinic - The California International Sailing Association provides advanced training for the ICLA 6 (Laser Radial), I420, Nacra 15, 29er, IQ Foil, and Kite youth sailors. The event is a three-day clinic and regatta with goals to improve boat speed, boat handling, starting skills, tactics/strategy, rules comprehension, and regatta mindset. The program will consist of lectures and on-the-water drills. The clinic will conclude with a one-day regatta. This event usually occurs in March and includes an application process. Click here for info.
Please visit these websites to learn more about national and international events in several classes of boats:
US Sailing Association – youth and various championship clinics and regattas
O’pen Skiff North American Championship