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12 September 2001, 03:33 pm
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29er

ISAF Youth World Championships

Response from ISAF President regarding issues raised in respect of the venues and equipment for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.
These same complaints arise everytime ISAF has a Championship and has been going on for years no matter the venue. Youth, Disabled, Team Racing plus class championships, it is always the same story.

ISAF does not have a large number of Clubs or organizations standing in line wanting to underwrite these events. In fact several of our most wealthy MNA's refuse to host the Youth Worlds because they do not want the problems both organizational and financial. They prefer to be guests receiving rather than giving. Human nature I guess.

The coaches and Team Leaders keep comparing the Youth Worlds to the Olympic Games demanding equal standards. This is a travesty. There is no comparison and none should be made. Olympic Games are paid for from $1.5 Billion US TV Rights and the ISAF events are paid for out of the pockets of the host clubs or MNA's.

The major issues are as follows:

Boats - ISAF has several boats which are listed as suitable for youth and can be used. The ISAF Youth Sailing Committee and ISAF Council have endorsed these boats. The boats must be supplied by the organizers at no charge and therefore they must be sold after. Therefore the organizers must get the builder to supply them free of charge. The corollary of this is that in order to sell the boats after the event, they must be boats used in the region of the championship. The coaches are the ones who hate change.

ISAF had the same complaint when the Byte was used at the 2000 Youth Worlds in Australia. It should be noted that the winner was a young women who had never seen a Byte before she arrived in Sydney for the practise race.

I would like to point out that ISAF had the same complaint about the Fireflies used for the ISAF Team Race Worlds in Dublin, Ireland in as only two countries had ever sailed them before. However, the Fireflies were the boats that the Irish could supply. When everyone got there it was a great success.

The 29er is an ISAF Recognized Class, endorsed as suitable for Youth. The young sailors will love them.

Travel - ISAF has received complaints about the cost of travelling to Halifax, Canada for the 2002 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. However, the cost to get to Halifax is no more than going from Great Britain to say Finland or Australia which are both excellent sailing nations and equally respected members of ISAF. It is a beautiful trip. This is a World Championship and inevitably one year it is far away for some countries and other years close.

I would like to point out that the 2001 World Championship for the most populace boat ever, the Laser, were held at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, Ireland and the travel costs were very expensive for most parts of the World. However, everyone loved Cork and loved the Championship. We must realize that Sailing is a sport which uses the natural environment as we find it and therefore it must be in resorts where the major industry is tourism and the proper places are not adjacent to major international hub airports.

In fact in the future more and more major events will be in these venues.

Accommodation - I am always shocked at the complaints at the Youth Worlds about housing. The MNA's demand cheap daily food and housing which must be subsidized by the locals. Then when they get there they complain bitterly because they must travel 15 minutes to the venue or that their hotel did not have a swimming pool, and on and on. I will not embarrass those concerned by saying which countries complained the most at the 2001 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in France.

I spent the first ten years of my sailing life sleeping on a mattress in the back of my van parked in a club lot or camping out. Goodness, we must be spoiling the youth sailors of today!!

Tourism - Sailing needs the involvement of Regional Tourist Agencies and their subsidies. Who else will sponsor and underwrite the Youth Worlds or indeed other World Championships and major events? Without these subsidies no Sailing Regatta survives.

ISAF takes all the above and of course the sailors into consideration when determining the venue and equipment for all ISAF events.

The 2001 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2001 will be a great success. The 29er will excite the young sailors and no doubt they will all talk about the experience for the rest of their lives.

Respectfully

Paul Henderson

Paul Henderson
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