On 11 March 2011 the north east of Japan was hit by an Earthquake and Tsunami. The Japanese sailing community was left devastated with ten marinas and harbours destroyed along with all yachts, dinghies and coaching boats lost or beyond repair.
"It was something I've never experienced,"
said Kay Matsuoka, Japanese Sailing Federation National Team Manager. "A lot of people's lives changed that day and for Japan as a whole it was way too massive for anyone to comprehend for a week or two.
"Throughout Japan and at JSAF we have huge resilience and sense of unity and everyone is positive and prepared for the future."
And the Japanese sailing community has room for optimism thanks to some excellent work by JSAF with the operation to rebuild Japanese sailing well underway.
They have recently launched the 'Charity Flag and Sticker Campaign' which is building momentum currently at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, the Netherlands.
But the campaign will appeal to a whole new audience come July when it reaches the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships
in Zadar, Croatia from 7-16 July 2011.
As part of the campaign JSAF will be selling charity flags and stickers and reaching out to over 350 youth sailors from 59 nations in an effort to show unity and support for the quake-affected sailors.
At the ISAF Youth Worlds there will be a charity box, a campaign banner and brochures explaining the situation in Japan, flags and stickers will be sold and sailors will be allowed to have 6.5cmx6.5cm stickers on their sails to promote the fund and help those affected in Japan.
"We set up the JSAF East Japan Relief Fund after the off shore racing community pulled together. It is very easy for everyone to donate but we wanted to have something that showed the sense of unity and care,"
"The stickers and flags will spread the word and as all oceans are connected we feel as if all the sailors are connected and will show their support and care."
When the earthquake struck JSAF were in the middle of planning their selection for the ISAF Youth Worlds. But the earthquake meant selection was delayed. "We had to cancel our events and fortunately we were given some extra time to finalise our squad."
Kay added, "The ISAF Youth Worlds organising team were supportive of our situation and we were given extra time to select our team."
Japan will head to the ISAF Youth Worlds with a strong squad in their bid to add to their one medal won at the 2005 ISAF Youth Worlds at Busan by Wataru Saito
and Hiroto Yoshinaga
in the Boys 420.
Japanese Squad For The ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships
Boy's Laser Radial - Shimpei Kunimasa
Girl's Laser Radial - Manami Doi
420 Boys - Daichi Mototsu
(helm) and Yuki Hino
420 Girls - Kiara Tsunoda
(helm) and Ayano Furuya
RS:X Boys - Daiya Kuramochi
Click here to find out more about the JSAF stickers and how to get involved.