The Young American Sailing Academy (YASA), a western Long Island Sound-based non-profit organization created to provide opportunities and support for youth sailors, is seeking interested sailors to join the YASA sailing team and participate in a mixed double-handed offshore program.

“The first step of this program is sailing the 2020 Newport Bermuda Race as mixed double-handed entries,” said YASA founder and President Peter Becker. “Do you have the passion and the skills to be part of a winning team, sailing mixed double-handed offshore for three to four demanding days? If this is your calling, please apply with YASA.”


With a stunning victory in the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race, YASA sailors made yachting history. The Mixed Two Person Keelboat Offshore event debuts at the 2024 Paris Olympics, and we won’t be surprised to see them do it again. © Barry Pickthall/PPL

“YASA will have two mixed double-handed entries in the 2020 Newport Bermuda Race, which starts June 19, Becker continued. “At 640 nautical miles, it’s the only race of distance and duration to be relevant to the upcoming World Championships and the 2024 Olympic event, which is planned to be a 3- to 4-day duration. It’s also an ideal training event for those seeking the near-term goal of qualifying for the World Sailing Championships in October 2020.

Using the boats immediately available, YASA is upgrading its two J/105s for double-handed offshore sailing. The boats are being equipped and configured with high quality instruments/autopilots, and offshore sail configurations. J/105s have successfully sailed transatlantic and transpacific races, and given their size and setup are considered appropriate equipment for mixed offshore training. If there’s sufficient demand from skilled and qualified sailors, YASA will work to provide additional boats for mixed duos.

Interested skippers are asked to submit their sailing resumés and their expression of interest. Sailors may apply either as individuals or as a pre-formed team. The selection committee is reviewing applications with the intention of making selections by March 15. “YASA has been a youth centric program from its inception and consistent with that bias we encourage interest from youthful participants (under 25),” said Becker, “although all candidates regardless of age will be considered.” Desirable qualities and characteristics in candidates include the following:

  • “Skipper” frame of mind and team attitude
  • Having a gas-pedal – i.e. the ability to do all things to make a boat go fast in all conditions
  • Prior offshore endurance sailing experience, preferably short-handed
  • Tireless, flexible, curious and tenacious
  • Focused and willing to commit to an intense campaign
  • Knowledge in weather and weather routing

Projects such as this are dependent on funding. YASA as a 501(c) (3) provides the tax-advantaged framework for charitable donations and commercial support to help meet the funding requirements. YASA will enhance its social media campaign promoting the project, its sponsors, and highlighting the sailors. As previously mentioned, YASA is providing the boats and is working hard to deliver the associated equipment and upgrades. There is and will be plenty of work and preparation required, which YASA will support in every way possible.

Each skipper should be committed to providing the following:

  • Working and training hard to become an elite short-handed sailor
  • Achieving and maintaining a high level of physical conditioning
  • Raising funds in support of the project budget (approx. $8,500/crewmember)
  • Personal safety equipment, offshore gear and associated supplies
  • The time, energy, passion and excitement for mixed offshore sailing

The provisional budget for each of YASA’s two 105s for the Newport Bermuda campaign is approximately $17,000. This budget includes the entry and operational expenses as well as the necessary safety equipment and ORR rating. It does not include capital upgrades, which include B&G H5000 Hercules instruments and pilot and offshore sail inventory.

“This is the moment to find and create America’s talent in the short-handed offshore discipline,” Becker concluded. “In four years, there is an Olympic medal up for the taking. Let’s set a course toward that goal and enjoy the journey.” To learn more, contact Becker at 917-715-1471 or, or visit ■