Within US Sailing’s organization, the United States is organized into 7 regions, or Areas, designated by a letter (A – G). Within each of those Areas, there usually are a small number of “Regional Sailing Associations” (RSAs) that conduct or sponsor at least one major annual regatta in their area. RSAs also handle regional protest appeals on behalf of US Sailing, help promote safety, host quarter-final and semi-final qualifiers for a variety of US Sailing Championships, etc.
On Lake Ontario and surrounding waters, the RSA is the Lake Yacht Racing Association (LYRA), which also happens to be the oldest RSA in North America, founded in 1884! LYRA, part of Area E, is also unique in that its member yacht clubs include Canadian clubs on the north shore of Lake Ontario, the eastern end of Lake Erie and the St. Lawrence River. While the competitive emphasis at the LYRA Annual Regatta is in keelboats of all sizes, LYRA also supports junior programs and dinghy sailing on a yearly basis.
In odd numbered years, the LYRA Youth Championship in single and doublehanded boats is held in Canada, usually at a Toronto-area club. In even numbered years, that same LYRA Youth Championship is held on the American side of Lake Ontario in conjunction with the Centrals on Sodus Regatta, hosted by SBJSA and SBYC. Beautiful, handcrafted LYRA perpetual pewter trophies are awarded. In 2016, the US Sailing Area E Qualifier for the US Junior Championship (Smythe – singlehanded, and Bemis - doublehanded boat) was held and conducted on Sodus Bay under the experienced leadership of Mike Foley as Regatta Chair and Hank Stuart as Principal Race Officer. On 3 race courses, 88 boats and over 150 sailors participated!
Sodus Bay Junior Sailing Association is one of the few independent sailing schools or community sailing/boating centers within all of Area E, and we’re the only one within LYRA! We’ve been a member of LYRA since 2005 and hope to continue our relationship for many more into the future! While we host the Centrals on Sodus Regatta every year, the annual financial support to us from LYRA is greatly appreciated and we’re happy to be one of the key events for juniors (along with RYC’s Junior Olympics and YYC’s Junior Can-Am Regatta) on the south side of Lake Ontario and the NY Finger Lakes region.