Ever since its introduction in 2002, the APP has helped youngsters from developing sailing nations attend the Youth Worlds. Not only does this give them the opportunity to compete against and learn from the world's best young sailors, but they also receive training from some of the sport's most respected coaches.
This year APP grants have been awarded to 11 male and five female sailors from Argentina, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Colombia, Guatemala, Paraguay, Uruguay, St Lucia and South Africa.
The APP helps to maximize the global impact of the Youth Worlds by assisting sailors who would otherwise simply not be able to afford to attend the championship. Not only does this directly benefit the chosen sailors, but it also has a knock on effect, with the APP sailors able to return home having learned or refined techniques, drills and preparations learnt from some of the world's top coaches. St Lucia's first ever Youth Worlds representative, Laser sailor Luis MEIXNER is a perfect example. As well as being St Lucia Junior Sailor of the Year in 2006, MEIXNER is also a junior instructor for Optimist and Laser beginners at the St Lucia Yacht Club so the lessons he learns and experience he gains in Kingston will filter down into the nation's youth programme.
Paraguay is the other new nation at this year's Youth Worlds, represented by Helena YEGROS in the Laser Radial and Federico CABELLO in the Laser. Paraguay is one of the South American nations which has seen a strong growth in its Optimist programme and, with the help of the APP, the Yacht Club Ypacarai now has the opportunity to give the graduating youngsters a goal to aim at and a reason to stay in sailing with the nation's first appearance at the Youth Worlds.
|Mariela SALERNO in action
at the 2006 Youth Worlds
Over the years the APP sailors have also proved they are not just at the Youth Worlds to make up the numbers. During the championship they receive coaching from the renowned Jim SALTONSTALL, with many showing rapid progress over the six days of racing. Leading the APP challenge in Kingston this year will be Argentina's Laser sailor Leandro ALTOLAGUIRRE. This will be ALTOLAGUIRRE's third appearance at the Youth Worlds, having finished 21st in Poland in 2004 and then improving significantly to ninth in Great Britain last year.
ALTOLAGUIRRE's team mate Jeremy LOPEZ (ARG), will also be aiming to put in a strong performance, especially after he got to train with some of the world's top sailors at a camp held at the start of the year in Buzios, Brazil. Amongst his training partners there were Brazilian windsurfing star Ricardo SANTOS and winner of the recent Palma and Hyères regattas Tom ASHLEY (NZL) - both of whom are former ISAF Youth World Champions.
The Youth Worlds has consistently given the sailing world its first look at the stars of the future. Whether, like Russell COUTTS (NZL), they have gone on to lift the America's Cup, stood on the top of the Olympic podium like Robert SCHEIDT (BRA) and Siren SUNDBY (NOR), or sailed around the world in the Volvo Ocean Race like Stuart BANNATYNE (NZL), Youth World winners have gone on to excel at all pinnacles of the sport. The APP helps compliment this gathering of young talent by spreading its benefits around the world and extending the foundations for sailing's future growth.
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 all the latest news from the 2007 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship CLICK HERE.