The Young American Sailing Academy (YASA) is a public not-for-profit organization whose vision is to provide opportunities and support for youth sailors. The team's base is in western Long Island Sound, but the scope of it's membership is nationwide. YASA is built from multiple campaigns for either individual races, such as the Newport-Bermuda Race, or campaigning with in a class.
The Young American effort began in 2013 as a junior big boat team focused on creating a new generation of young salty sailors with a focus on offshore sailing. The team began competing in all the day-races and coastal races available on Long Island Sound. This was made possible by the support of devoted parents and the donation of the J/105 Young American. As experience was gained the races entered became longer, the juniors took ownership of the boat and treated it as if it was their own. As Peter Becker, head-coach and founder, would say “treat the boat like a jungle-gym"; It's the best way to gain confidence, build sea-legs, and enjoy the sport.
The team competed in its first offshore race in 2016, when seven members sailed the Newport Bermuda Race on the Tripp 41 High Noon. Accompanying the juniors for the race was Guillermo Altadill, Peter Becker and Rob Alexander. Guillermo is an extremely talented professional sailor from Spain who has 10 circumnavigations and an amazing “gas-pedal”. His coaching was extremely valuable to the juniors onboard as he was an amazing addition to the YASA team.
In 2017 the official Young American Sailing Academy (YASA) was formed with IRS 501(c)(3) tax status recognition. Then following was the 2018 Newport Bermuda Race, where YASA sailed the R/P ’63 mini-maxi Gambler. Ralf Steitz, Sara Hastreiter, Joe Cooper joined Guillermo, Peter and Rob as offshore coaches, and the junior crew expanded to 15 high-school and college age sailors.