15 year old RAMIREZ began sailing five years ago. Coming from a fishing family where money for fuel was tight, he and his brother built themselves a plywood sailboat in which they could fish. RAMIREZ became involved in a Salvador Sailing Federation programme to teach fisherman how to sail boats and was first taught to sail by, in his own words, 'an Italian guy'. RAMIREZ recalls what first attracted him to sailing, 'I didn't think I could make a sail boat go in the direction I wanted so it fascinated me from the start.'
Only as recently as ten months ago, RAMIREZ received his first Laser. The Salvador Sailing Federation saw him sailing against the other fishermen and recognized his talent. They helped RAMIREZ learn the rules of the sport and he went on to confirm their faith by winning the National Championship in 2003 aged 13.
With such emphatic performances on the water RAMIREZ, was given a Laser and he went on to sail it to second place in the national competition, the Fiesta 'El Pescador' in 2004.
Thanks to funding from the ISAF Athlete Participation Programme RAMIREZ is El Salvador's debutant at the ISAF Youth Worlds, an opportunity he is determined to use to it's full potential, 'I like it because there are so many more experienced people and I can learn a lot from them,' he says.
So far RAMIREZ seems true to his word. Despite lying 35th overall, in days two and three of the Championship he has shown a marked improvement with finishes of 28,30,35,31 compared to an opening day trio of 33,35,34. The final three days of racing in Busan will add to the considerable body of experience he has already accumulated and continue to raise the profile of sailing in El Salvador. RAMIREZ is also benefiting from coaching support provided by onsite coach Jim SALTONSTLL (GBR).
RAMIREZ also faced the buildup to the Championship with the same determination to improve, running and sailing daily as well as travelling to Guatemala several times to take part in regattas. His sights also extend well beyond Busan. He says his dream is to, 'one day be one of the three best in the world.'
When asked about his sailing heroes, RAMIREZ replies with the familiar names of Robert SCHEIDT (BRA) and Ben AINSLIE (GBR). It is an unsurprising answer for a 15 year old sailor, but that is about as typical as Luis Roberto RAMIREZ's sailing career gets.