Only one of the Youth World Champions from Weymouth is racing in Canada this year, with the other competitors all having past the age limit. Richard GLOVER (GBR) crewed for Tom PHIPPS (GBR) in Great Britain's gold medal winning team in the Hobie 16, but this time out GLOVER will be steering the boat. Having competed in three Youth Worlds, winning two golds and a silver, PHIPPS has now graduated to the senior circuit and is competing in the Tornado fleet at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais, Portugal. This leaves 18-year-old GLOVER at the helm of the British Hobie 16, together with his younger brother Andrew GLOVER, aged 15. The Australian team should be amongst their leading challengers, with Jason WATERHOUSE, fourth in 2006, teaming up with Michael MCCORMICK.
The 29er is the equipment for this year's Two Person Dinghy events - the second time the skiff has been used at the Youth Worlds. Last time out was in Lunenburg, Canada in 2002 and Australia and New Zealand won four of the six medals. Amongst the favourites in the girls fleet this time round are Hannah NATTRASS and Michelle MULLER (AUS), who overcame 2006 Youth World Champions Belinda KERL and Chelsea HALL (AUS) in the Australian Youth Championship to get selected for the Aussie team.
Sophie WEGUELIN and Sophie AINSWORTH (GBR) finished in 12th place in Weymouth, but have since been focussing hard on their 29er sailing. The British pair finished eighth overall and top women's crew at the 29er Worlds in Argentina in January and were again top women at the recent Kiel Week.
Seventy-one 29ers competed at Kiel, including several of the boys' teams that will line up in Kingston. Poland's Lukasz PRZYBYTEK and Krzysztof MONGRID were second overall and the top finishers of the Youth Worlds contingent. Again expect the Oceanic challenge to be strong, especially from the Kiwi team of Paul SNOW-HANSEN and Blair TUKE (NZL). SNOW-HANSEN, aged 17, finished runner up at the Optimist Worlds in 2004, whilst TUKE won the 2006 Splash Worlds.
Competition is always tight in the two One Person Dinghy fleets. Gabrielle KING (AUS) placed fifth in the Laser Radial fleet at Weymouth last year, whilst still only 15. She returns to the Youth Worlds this year and has already demonstrated how much she has progressed in 12 months, placing fourth at the Australian Laser Championships this year, compared with the 15th she posted in 2005.
|Gabrielle King competing in Weymouth
Isabella BERTOLD (CAN) from the host nation is also a name to watch. At just 16 years old she is the youngest member of the Canadian national sailing team ever and has already posted some impressive results at senior level. Likewise Spain's Susana ROMERO has also had an impact at some of the top European regattas this year.
Canada has won gold in the Laser in 2006 and Kingston native Robert DAVIS (CAN) will be aiming to repeat the feat for the host nation this year. Joaquin BLANCO ALBALAT (ESP), the 2005 Laser 4.7 World Champion, is another strong challenger. Cyprus' Pavlos KONTIDES, who finished seventh in Weymouth, is the top performer from the 2006 Youth Worlds also competing in Canada. Pierre COLLURA (FIN), Leandro ALTOAGUIRRE (ARG) and Jeemin HA (KOR) also all finished in the top 10 last year.
In the Boys' RS:X fleet, Pierre LE COQ (FRA) will be aiming to complete the set of Youth Worlds medals after picking up a silver in 2005 and bronze last year in Weymouth. Richard HAMILTON (GBR), fifth last year, will be leading the challenge against him. Amongst the girls, Hong Kong's Hei Man CHAN placed fifth last year. Despite an OCS in the opening race, Belarusian Tatsiana KHALADZINSKAJA was also amongst the top finishers in Weymouth and should be a strong challenger again this year.
The Canadian team are rearing to go at this year's Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships. The host nation's representative are pumped, stating they are, 'not here to NOT win'.
The entire team hope that, during this regatta, they will develop future training partners, better get to know the sailing community, use the opportunity to train and experience competition with new people and learn different techniques from other countries. All these young sailors are keen to show their appreciation to all who help them compete at such a high level and represent their country, home clubs, home towns, their provincial sailing associations, the Canadian Yachting Association and, of course, the 'bank of mom and dad'.
David HAYES, the RS:X male board representative is the Canadian team veteran at this year's event, 'Since this is my second Youth Worlds, I'm much more relaxed going into the event because I have a better idea of what to expect. I am psyched to sail as intense as I can out on Lake Ontario. I plan to sail my best and keep my eyes especially on the Brits and French.'
Hobie sailors Mark PATAKY and Jon SCOTT said they are, 'Quite surprised at how different it feels to be sailing on fresh water v's salt water. It seems to take a bit of adjustment every time we make the switch.' This said, they hope for great thermal breeze and great surfing waves.
The 29er Girls team cousin combo, Alana FOSCARINI and Alison LUDZKI are sailing together for their second season. They are most excited about competing in Kingston. 'It is really cool to have the opportunity to sail against the Europeans in our home waters, and also to race against people who have the weather to sail all year round.'
Nicholas KROEGER and Peter SOOSALU, the 29er boys Canadian representatives are looking forward to learning a great deal at this event. 'This is our first Youth Worlds, but for us, racing in Kingston is like being at home. We have spent a lot of time out on Lake Ontario, and look forward to racing our hearts out.'
While the Canadians are here to succeed on the race course, they look forward to experiencing the spirit of camaraderie found at such a prestigious international competition. So let the event begin.
The ISAF Youth World Championship is ISAF's longest running event, having taken place every year since the first Youth Worlds hosted by Sweden in 1971. The 37th Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship takes place from 12-21 July, sailed out of the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
2007 will be the eighth ISAF Youth Worlds to be sponsored by Volvo. Italy are the current holders of the Volvo Trophy, awarded annually to the top performing nation at the Youth Worlds.
Past notable winners include American's Cup skippers, Chris DICKSON (NZL) and Russell COUTTS (NZL), Volvo Ocean Race sailor Stuart BANNATYNE (NZL) and many Olympic Champions including Robert SCHEIDT (BRA), Ben AINSLIE (GBR) and Siren SUNDBY (NOR).
For the fifth year in a row the ISAF Athlete Participation Programme (APP) will assist young athletes from developing sailing nations attend the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. Since its launch the APP has helped over 100 sailors attend the Championships, further spreading the appeal of youth sailing's premier event.
For all the latest news from the 2007 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship CLICK HERE.