Missing by comparison with that record year are five African countries which this year have understandably elected to concentrate on the All-Africa Games, where sailing is included for the first time. Cyprus, together with Estonia and Monaco have chosen to attend the IODA European Championship and at least four other countries have also preferred to attend their continental championships.
But in their place at the Worlds are countries which in many cases did not even have Optimists seven years ago such as the Dominican Republic, Netherlands Antilles and Kenya. Other absentees in 2000 included Ecuador, ranked second in last year's Worlds, Australia which currently has one of the fastest growing Optimist fleets, Russia and Ukraine.
An interesting feature of this year's event will be whether at a potentially windy European venue the European teams, which dominated seven years ago, can stage a comeback. In 2000, of the top 20 sailors 16 were European; last year on the tricky waters of the Rio de la Plata there were only three!