Junior sailing program is in good hands

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (01/29/00)
By Ray Pendleton

Every year, Water Ways readers have been able to learn about the sailing classes available for kids at several of O`ahu's yacht clubs. And, I would hope, this year will be no exception.

But, in retrospect, it occurs to me that I have not provided much information about the organization that coordinates the competitive sailing events, clinics and training opportunities for our island's young people, the Hawaii Youth Sailing Association (HYSA).

In rectifying this omission, I am fortunate to be able to refer to the HYSA Handbook, a thoroughly comprehensive guide. It was created, I know, by the same dedicated parents and instructors who are involved in each year's sailing classes.

In paging through the handbook, I am immediately impressed by its prominent code of ethics.

It begins with a quote from four-time Olympic sailing gold medalist Paul Elvstrom: "You haven't won the race if, in winning the race, you have lost the respect of your competitors."

The code of ethics then lists several rules and traditions involved with sailing sportsmanship, such as being gracious in both victory and defeat, and remembering that the competitors' actions on and off the water reflect on themselves and the club they represent.

It would seem to be a sound way to introduce young people to the Corinthian values of competitive sailing. It might also be something we older sailors should review, from time to time.

HYSA defines itself as an organization for providing guidance and oversight to all O`ahu-based yacht clubs on conducting youth, or "Junior," sailing events. It's objective is to promote Junior sailing and other youth-related sailing activities, including yacht racing, and emphasizing sportsmanship and character development.

In particular, HYSA's by-laws require it to sanction and/or conduct a Junior Sailing race series each year, as well as sponsor scheduled seminars, programs and presentations for youth sailors. It also is required to provide an atmosphere in which young sailors may develop to participate in national and international events.

HYSA has set numerous goals for living up to its by-laws in 2000. Among them are organizing and sponsoring a Junior Sailing Symposium for El Toro and Laser sailors - known as the nationally recognized Joni Palmer Seminar - and coordinating and assisting with such special events as, Sea Fest 2000 - a Juniors fund raiser - and the Hawaii Yacht Racing Association's annual awards banquet.

All of that comes on top of coordinating and facilitating eight Junior regattas, conducting this area's national competitions - known as the Sears, Bemis and Smythe series - and assisting with such regattas as the State High School Singlehanded Championships and the Aloha State Games.

HYSA also has become the liaison organization with Hawaii's closest neighboring state's equivalent group, the Southern California Youth Yacht Racing Association.

The growing popularity of youth sailing is exemplified by the fact that enrollment in the Junior sailing program on O`ahu has doubled each year in the past three years.

Thanks to the HYSA, that growth has been in the right direction.

If you know someone, or are someone, who might be interested in getting involved in Junior sailing, give one of the following people a call: Waikiki Yacht Club's Guy Fleming at 955-4405, Hawaii Yacht Club's Scott Melander at 949-7547, or Kaneohe Yacht Club's Bob Creps at 247-4121.

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