Letter from USSCA President
July 1, 2021
Dear Sunfish Sailors,
Looking back, 2020 was a challenging year for sailing. Beginning the year, we were able to host 1 Regional Championship before the onset of Covid. In March, with the US shutting down and uncountable unknowns, we were faced with the difficult decision to cancel 2020 Midwinter Race Week. In the early months of shutdowns and lockdowns we were forced to either cancel or postpone many major regattas including the 2020 North American Championships. As summer 2020 progressed, and we learned more about the pandemic, many regattas were able to reschedule. Thank you to all of you who organized or safely participated in regattas last summer. With your patience, willingness to adapt, and a fantastic hunger for Sunfish sailing, we were able promote local regattas, reschedule 2020 US National Championships at Midwinters at Bay Waveland Yacht Club, and salvage a fantastic end to sailing in 2020. In total, we were able to host 12 championship events!
As expected, our 2020 membership was slightly down from 2019. However, with all the regatta participation in the second half of the year, we found the Sunfish Class in a good position heading into the new year. People just wanted to sail.
With the arrival of 2021, a fresh sailing season, vaccines, and new knowledge about the spread of Covid we were ready for a strong 2021. As of the end of June, we’ve held 8 major events, with 10 more championships on the schedule, and more to come. We’ve already seen some of the highest participation in years and this has correlated with membership numbers, Sunfish Bible sales, and 82 sailors at the North American Championship at Lake Norman Yacht Club. With palpable buzz surrounding many of the regattas, I am excited for the rest of the 2021 schedule.
With a new decade comes a new class notice. It’s been over ten years since the USSCA Class Notice and regional World Championship berth allocation has been updated. At the end of 2020, the USSCA board approved changes to the USSCA Class Notice to better represent the regional membership of the class, providing for a 4-year rotation, and extra berths for the surging southeast region and Women’s North American Championships. As of 2021, two women will qualify for World Championships out of WNAs.
With a further move towards inclusion, the Pan American Sailing Federation has approved an additional Sunfish event for women. We will now have two US Pan American competitors should we as a country qualify for the 2023 Pan Am games. This is a fantastic opportunity for the growth of Sunfish racing and is a near unprecedented move that we cannot take for granted.
A few rule changes have been implemented for 2021. Those of you at the recent North Americans may have seen competitors out there with modern digital compasses. Yes, we’ve finally moved ahead with the digital compass rule change. Furthermore, based on extensive discussions at our annual board meeting and a lack of replacement part availability, the USSCA board has passed a temporary rule allowing the use of 3rd party parts in class sanctioned Regional Championships until June of 2022. The exact wording as follows: “Due to parts shortage, allow 3rd-party parts at Regional World Qualifying Events until June 1, 2022. Exceptions are made at the discretion of the Measurer or their delegate. No exceptions shall be made for hulls, which must be class legal. Replacement parts shall not provide an obvious advantage. To be eligible for event awards or Worlds qualification, all parts must be class legal.” While Laser Performance develops their new Portugal factory and loft and irons out their supply issues, please continue to help fellow Sunfishers by directing them to our dedicated dealers who do have parts in stock.
Going forward, we need to continue to look for ways to keep Sunfish events, competitive yet fun while engaging our audience with social media, live streaming, videos, and any other methods of interaction. If all goes to plan, we will be live streaming the 50th Sunfish World Championships this October. If you’re not sailing, I expect you to be tuning into every second of the broadcast. More information to come.
As we look forward, we are looking for host venues for championship events for 2022 and beyond. It’s never too early to start planning a phenomenal event. If your sailing club might be interested in hosting an event, please reach out to your regional representative, our regatta coordinator, me, or any of the other board members and we can work with you to get an event to your club!
I look forward to sailing with all of you soon!
Sail Fast, Sail Fun, Sail to the Future,