CanAm Challenge, junior sailing, Boat Club, racing


Fri Jul 16, 2021 7:00 AM

YYC excited for CanAm Challenge return, LYRA Race Week

By Terry Duffy


As life in Buffalo-Niagara continues its gradual return to normal, in the north, the Youngstown Yacht Club is moving full steam ahead towards a fun summer, despite the lingering challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of the Canadian border.

Club officials are excited about a number of things now in place for 2021 on Lower Water Street. This includes YYC’s popular adult and junior sailing activities, an improved lower shore at the club after the flooding, attractive offerings of Youngstown’s new community boating experience, and a new YYC Yacht Club.

Located at 491 Water St., Youngstown Community Boating, “provides access to the Niagara River for adults and children through sailing lessons and rental and support of sailboats, kayaks and paddles,” its page states. Facebook.

Part of that offering is YYC’s popular junior sailing program. Here, young sailors aged 7 to 17 receive the basics of sailing skills, including instruction on water safety, seamanship, dinghy sailing, sailboat racing and boat maintenance. Additionally, the junior sailing program is open to the public, with no YYC membership required.

Check it out on

The YYC Boat Club is also back in 2021, reports Justin Hays, Director of Youngstown Community Boating: “YYC has rented a number of boats from Youngstown Community Boating for its Boat Club members. “

He noted that among the sailing offerings available for YYC membership are Ideal 18 keelboats, a 20ft pontoon boat, a Catalina 30 sailboat as well as kayaks and paddleboards. This club is open to regular and associate members of YYC. Plus, booking a boat for a pleasurable experience on the lower reaches of the river or lake is as easy as visiting the YYC website at

And then there’s YYC’s social browsing experience. Back this year after the COVID-19 hiatus, social sailing began on July 1 and is offered from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday (weather permitting).

YYC said the social browsing experience gives those who don’t own a sailboat the chance to get out there and enjoy it all anyway. A boat ride, cocktails, and sunset navigation are included. Social browsing is offered free to YYC members with a nominal fee for their guests.

“It’s a wonderful way for associate members to get out on boats and enjoy the water,” said Tim Finkle, director of adult sailing at YYC. For more details or to register, contact Finkle at [email protected] or dial 860-917-5416.

Perhaps the biggest event this year is YYC’s Dyneema CanAm Challenge, which will take place on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday July 24-25, on the lower reaches of the river and lake.

The event, which continues the legacy of level regatta from years past, typically sees the participation of dozens of sailors from Toronto and southern Ontario, Great Lakes cities including Buffalo and Rochester, and sailors from all the northeastern provinces and Canada.

While COVID-19 dominated life in 2020, YYC still managed to host a modified CanAm challenge last year. He’s optimistic for an even better comeback in 2021, with this year’s event serving as a precursor to LYRA Race Week, July 26 through August. 1 to YYC.

“Hey there – exciting news – we’re combining CamAm and LYRA Course Racing into a great weekend, July 24-24. We’ve been locked up for 15 months (or more) – let’s go back there and make it happen a HUGE event with tons of boats and fun, ”a Facebook post noted.

With sailboats of different classes, the CanAm Challenge typically sees ships such as the J / 22, J / 70, J / 88, Tripp 26, Melges 24, 8 meters, Beneteau 36.7, Laser 28, PHRF and Multi-Hulls. The CanAm Challenge includes both a One Design Fleet Competition and PHRF races over the weekend for a placement with awarded prizes.

Despite the continued border closures and the expected impact on attendance, YYC is nonetheless optimistic for this year.

“Yes, Canada is still closed, Canadian participation is down. It still affects us, but it will happen, ”said Amy Reynolds, head of YYC.

In a post welcoming sailing competitors to this week-long CamAm Challenge-LYRA race, President Kevin Doyle offered his take on closing the border this year to the disruptions the YYC experienced 80 years ago when the club was also struggling with border issues.

“Au. On November 16, 2019, I signed as LYRA 2021 President at Youngstown Yacht Club.… Overall we’ve been on one hell of a tour since then.… The world seems a pretty different place now… or the Is he? ”Doyle said: He noted that the world was also a little different 80 years ago as World War II raged.

He then included a passage from the events that took place at the time at YYC: “’There is no report on the regatta except that the Canadian boats were all moored at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Only sailors with passports could visit Youngstown. The Commodore eventually arranged for the Canadian crews to be allowed to spend the last night at the YYC for the awards show, but only with a guarantee that they would not set foot on YYC property. The Canadians were sent back to Niagara-on-the-Lake at midnight, only to discover that several yachts were having transom problems. The late James Hyland’s Six Meter suffered the worst. These yachts were secured with stern lines ashore and bow anchors in the river to hold them back. The Cayuga had come at full speed, making big bow waves. “

“It was 80 years ago. Sound familiar to you? Doyle asked. “LYRA is simply a sum of its parts. HUMANS. As human beings, we strive to fulfill our passions. Sailboat races; what a stupid thing.

“Trying to increase attendance at a sailing event seems so insignificant in the context of global events… yet this is what this post is meant to do.

“Over the years, through all the challenges, LYRA survives. 2021 WILL HAVE an important place in LYRA’s history, not just as a footnote. Many of you have made a commitment to be a part of it. Thank you.

“The LYRA Committee, Board of Directors, YYC Members and Sponsors have come together to create an event not to be missed. … 2020 – realize your passion, there is still time, and; take care of your passions.

This year, Reynolds said YYC is working with the Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club to meet the needs of Canadian sailors wishing to be a part of CanAm-LYRA week events. She remains hopeful of seeing visitors from across the Great Lakes and northeastern regions, and expects up to 50 boats to participate in the waters.

Ashore, Reynolds said the fun will be at the YYC on Water Street, with evening entertainment, food and drink available. The public is invited, with onsite wristbands available for $ 5. Scheduled entertainment includes local favorites such as the first Breakaway on Fridays, Chris Borgotti and Half Trays on Saturdays and Zak Ward on Sundays. LYRA racing week will continue with performances by YYC’s The Chamberlains on Tuesday July 27 and Thursday July 29.

“We encourage everyone to come have fun with us,” said Reynolds.

To learn more about this year’s Dyneema CamAm / LYRA Race Week events, visit the YYC on Facebook.

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