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7 November 2009, 01:19 pm
From Busan: Fiona Kidd On The Youth Worlds
Fiona Kidd discusses the Youth Worlds in Busan
Fiona Kidd at today's ISAF Youth World Championship Sub-committee meeting in Busan

ISAF Annual Conference 2009
Busan, Korea

Fiona Kidd, chairman of the ISAF Youth World Championship Sub-committee, spoke to us about today's Sub-committee meeting and the future of the championship.
The ISAF Youth World Championship is ISAF's longest running event, having been held every year since 1971. Open to competitors aged under 19 in the year of the championship, it is now firmly established as the world's leading event for youth sailors. Next July, Istanbul, Turkey will host the 2010 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship and celebrate the 40th anniversary edition of the championship.

Over the past 10 years the Youth Worlds has grown in size considerably and is now consistently attracting around 250 sailors from 60 nations every year. In addition to this, starting from 2010 a Open High Performance Dinghy - 29er event will be introduced, adding an eighth event to the championship line up.

Today in Busan the ISAF Youth World Championship Sub-committee held their meeting and we spoke to Sub-committee chairman Fiona Kidd to find out more about the future of the world's leading youth sailing event.

There was a lot of debate in your Committee about future strategy and development of the Youth Worlds. What were the key issues you were looking at?

I'm a real believer in evolution for this event and I think that's one the reasons it's been so successful over the last few years. Now we've certainly got some challengers ahead, in a way we're victims of our own success. We're very well attended, we have 60 nations, but the challenges we're facing right now are when does it get too big and when do you start sacrificing quality for quantity and finding that that balance. Today we were discussing those challenges and taking measures to keep those things in check.

The size of championship and the format were discussed a lot today.

We talked about whether we have to put a ceiling on the number of entries. We want to ensure we still get the nations but we also don't want to have things too big. The reason for that is to keep costs under control for both the organizers and the MNAs. We don't want to make it so large so that future hosts can't host the event.

We discussed the format. The format is something that has evolved and is still evolving. We're taking feedback from sailors, coaches, team leaders, various people that have been involved in the event in the past. As a result we've changed our target times for races [from 60 to 45 minutes], so now we need to have more races a day. However, if we have more races a day but we lose them because of the weather, you have to make them up. So we've been making decisions on those areas.

The big change might be an additional Training Day at the beginning of the event. Hopefully this will help the smaller nations get more time in the boat to familiarise themselves with equipment and the sailing conditions and be ready to race on day one.

Today you also received presentations on the next three Youth Worlds in Istanbul, Turkey [2010], Zadar, Croatia [2011] and Dun Laoghaire, Ireland [2012]. How are preparations for those events going?

Everything is on track. There's no surprises at all and everything is going well. Those three venues are very strong venues and I don't anticipate any problems with those events. They're all well organized, they've got good people behind them, they've got good race management, good event management and I think they'll be excellent.

Find out more on the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship at www.isafyouthworlds.com.

For more on the 2009 ISAF Annual Conference, visit www.sailing.org/meetings.

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