SCYYRA was formed in October of 1977, under the Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA). SCYYRA’s purpose is to improve sailing skills of youth yacht racing sailors in Southern California. SCYYRA consists of 25 Southern California Yacht Clubs from Santa Barbara to San Diego who agree to coordinate junior sailing activities for the benefit of all. A healthy junior sailing scene builds future yacht club membership and ensures the future of our sport. The most challenging task is coordinating the junior sailing calendar and running the 7 junior sailing series that SCYYRA hosts each year. The formula has worked. Southern California has produced an impressive number of College All Americans, national champions, and Olympians. This is a direct result of a well organized junior sailing scene that provides a multitude of opportunities for kids to get time on the water.
SCYYRA strives to provide leadership in the complicated world of junior sailing. There is a lot of chatter among sailing “experts” these days about low tech vs high tech boats, high school versus club sailing, and more. The reality is every junior sailor is different with different goals, resources, and opportunities. Some kids sail for fun, some want to sail in college, others want to be Olympians or professional sailors. Everyone can have a meaningful experience in the sport that helps them learn the life lessons needed to be good citizens and productive adults. We strive to help families negotiate the many decisions needed to guide their kids through the junior sailing landscape. One thing is certain, if we want junior sailing to grow we need sailing to be local, accessible, affordable, and social. And regardless of the boat chosen, time on the water builds champions.
The SCYYRA organization offers 7 well coordinated series, in a variety of popular boats, that kids can participate in throughout the year. The calendar is also coordinated so juniors can choose from a variety of options. Kids can move up through fleets and build skills as they also learn the rules of racing. The SCYYRA clinics help sailors build skills with some of the best coaches in the country. The good news for Southern California is we have a healthy, diverse, junior sailing community and can sail all year round. That means the future looks bright for our sport.
The SCYYRA board is a volunteer group consisting of junior sailing leaders from SCYYRA member clubs. It is no simple task to coordinate the activities of 25 separate, highly successful junior programs. But imagine if each club’s regattas were hosted on overlapping weekends. We coordinate events to maximize the fleet size and provide well run regattas within driving distance of everyone. The events are spread out equally over the entire SCYYRA geography.
In many parts of the country kids have to travel long distances to sail frequently. Here in Southern California you can fill your weekends with sailing all year long. High School sailors can choose from High School sailing, CFJ, C420, 29er, or Laser sailing. They can participate in fleet racing, team racing, and match racing. They can mix it up and sail different boats to keep it fresh. Sailing is expensive, but there are plenty of opportunities to sail in large, affordable, competitive fleets, in readily available charter boats. Kids that get the high tech bug can sail the 29er. Savvy sailors and coaches plan an approach that moves kids up through the fleets/series to learn new skills along the way, and keep sailing fresh and interesting. Event planners work hard to keep entry fees low and minimize travel costs. Most importantly, kids develop a group of friends that are moving up through the fleets together, pushing each other, competing, sailing locally, and forming lifelong friendships along the way.
Take a look at the perpetual trophies for each of these series and you will see the who’s who of Southern California sailing. Lots of Olympians, Yacht Club commodores, College All Americans, and more have all earned trophies in the SCYYRA Series.
The junior sailing calendar in Southern California is packed. Many weekends have multiple events on them. Conflicts are inevitable, but the clubs cooperate to minimize conflicts. For example, we may be forced to schedule a regatta for the young kids on the same weekend as a regatta for the High School kids. But we try hard to avoid scheduling two regattas for the upper level High School kids on the same weekend. We also consider the major national events our kids may sail in when planning local regattas. A well coordinated calendar creates a diverse menu of sailing opportunities for kids. The SCYYRA Series, High school Sailing, Sabot Nationals, CFJ Nationals, Junior Olympics, even club specialty events like the Dutch Shoe Marathon, are all teed up in a well coordinated plan. We are grateful to the member clubs for working together to maximize opportunities for Southern California youth sailors.
The Southern California Youth Yacht Racing Association sponsors a team to recognize advanced junior sailors from Southern California who have shown tremendous dedication and accomplishment in youth sailing. Each year a select number of the top junior sailors from San Diego to Santa Barbara are chosen to become members of the annual SCYYRA Racing Team and invited to participate in advanced sailing clinics and otherwise be recognized. Selection of each year’s team is based on regatta results between September 1st and August 31st, as well as age, ability, sportsmanship and geographic location. All Southern California sailors who have placed well in local, regional, national and international regattas are encouraged to complete an application for consideration onto the SCYYRA Racing Team. The Selection Matrix is used to help select the elite team of sailors.