This will be the tenth edition of the Youth Worlds to be supported by Volvo as title sponsor. Since Volvo became involved back in 1999, the championship has averaged over 45 nations at each edition (compared to 27 for 1971-1998), increasing to 54 nations for just the past five editions. Over that time the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship has visited venues in Asia, Europe, Oceania, North and now South America and an impressive 21 new nations have sent sailors to the championship for the first time.
During the ten-year period of Volvo's support, many Youth Worlds medallists have also gone on hit superstar status on the world sailing stage. Whether it be Russell COUTTS (NZL) skippering Team New Zealand and then Alinghi to victory in the 2000 and 2003 America's Cup; Ben AINSLIE (GBR) winning three consecutive Olympic gold medals at the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games; or, in the present day, Stuart BANNATYNE (NZL) as part of the Ericsson 4 team currently leading the Volvo Ocean Race, the Youth Worlds legacy is clear for all to see.
As the short list of examples above illustrate, the Youth Worlds is truly the ultimate test of a young sailor's abilities: equipment is one-design and supplied at the venue; fair play is assured by a full ISAF International Jury along with International Race Officers on each course area; and there is also a championship coach to assist those sailors from nations that are unable to send support personnel. In order to make this level playing field a possibility, the Youth Worlds receives great support each year from the equipment suppliers. At this year's championship 94 Laser Radials will be supplied by LaserPerformance, Nautivela will supply 59 420s, 37 RS:X windsurfers will come from NeilPryde, while Hobie Cat Company will supply 18 Hobie 16s for the multihull event.
David BROOKES, Executive Director of the International Hobie Class Association, explains the attraction of being involved with the Youth Worlds, "We have all worked very hard to develop youth programmes around the worlds for the Hobie 16 and it appears it is now paying the rewards for the youth multihull sailors."
At this year's championship in Brazil, the multihull competition is bigger than ever before, with 18 teams set to line up in Hobie 16s representing nations from every continent.
"The International Hobie Class Association is delighted to see that the Multihull Discipline has now reached a new peak," says BROOKES. "The International Hobie Class Association is also pleased to assist ISAF with new nations who are sending teams for the first time to the ISAF Youth Worlds. This shows that the multihull sailing is growing in the world. We also thank Hobie Cat Company for their assistance in supplying the boats."
Brazil is the venue the first-ever Youth Worlds in South America. The city of Armação de Búzios in Rio de Janeiro state, is hosting the championship and is also one of its major supporters.
Bruno MARQUES, event manager, says this year's Youth Worlds will be a memorable South American debut, "We are extremely happy with our record attendance. Our main sponsor is the Government of Rio de Janeiro State and a successful Youth Worlds will help Rio de Janeiro's candidacy to host the 2016 Olympic Games. I believe we will manage to put together an event with an exceptional sum of features: perfect race courses, great hotels, excellent food, gorgeous venue, a very enthusiastic organization team and generous sponsorship. The kids will not forget this one!"
The 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship takes place in Buzios, Brazil from 9-18 July. Competition is held in seven events, along with the Volvo Trophy awarded to the top performing nation. Find out more about the Youth Worlds at www.sailing.org/youthworlds.