Mission Bay Yacht Club in sunny San Diego was the venue for the 2019 North American Championships of the O’Pen Skiff class (formerly O’pen Bic) where kids and their parents from Hawaii to Germany gathered to compete in 2019 Un-Regatta. Dozens of new boats were shipped in for the event to charter by visiting sailors and the sight on the water was amazing.
For those unfamiliar, this class has come up with a program that runs parallel to the racing of most small boat programs, with emphasis on boat handling and sportsmanship, but the class also nurtures and encourages a sense of play and fun with freestyle and special rules components to the competition. This does two things: The first, is that even those at that back of the pack have something to do aside from just chase the leaders. Freestyle events and other varied activities create multiple goals that can be accomplished at all levels. The second, is that by separating the goals out beyond simply wining a race, the kids become better sailors by exploring exciting ways to improve boat handling and familiarity. This can be done through mandated capsizes, rather than an activity to avoid and deal with, the capsize becomes something to practice and explore as a regular component of boat handling. I’ve included some photos from the event, but I encourage you to check out some of the YouTube videos that have been created to check out the fleet more, or maybe to adopt some of the O’Pen Skiff fundamentals into your own events.
Forward WIP and Murrays have been strong supporters of the class and are now officially a O’Pen Skiff dealer with some demo boats and parts to support the class and spread the enthusiasm! The basic parts are available on the O’Pen section of our website with more parts and kits to come soon.