With exams now out of the way for most youth sailors, we have seen attention shift to the summer's sailing and for some to the immediate challenge of the upcoming 'ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships' to be held this July in Dublin and the 'Virtual ISAF Youth Worlds' being held now on SailX.com.
With three weeks to go to the start of the main event and one week remaining of it's virtual counterpart, as of this morning (Monday 25th) the Virtual ISAF Youth Worlds had some 530 entries in total with 120 in the Youth classification. A growing number of competitors in the real event in Dublin are also taking part in this virtual event and using SailX for some great last-minute training.
So far the Virtual Championships has seen a whopping 7,500 boat-starts and SailX users entered into this Championships have spent 1,800hrs (or 75 days) fully engaged in official racing - and many more hours besides (typically 3 or 4 x) engaged in practice racing.
So far the big story in the Classifications is the performance of the Youth sailors. Incredibly the hugely experienced 'flow' (recent winner of the Congressional Cup, Etchells World Champion, two-time "All American" and member of the US Olympic Team for seven years representing the 470 Class) is being pushed hard for top-slot in the General Classifications by the top Youth / Oppie sailor 'IRL711', who is only 43 points (or 2%) behind him! In total there are five Youth in the top-10 General Classification, pushing many older great sailors aside.
At the top of the Youth leaderboard, user 'IRL711' has built a significant lead on 'mirrorking' from the UK and 'LP17' from Italy. 'Kaenon23' from Canada and '249' from Peru are hot on their heels though so the podium is still wide open.
For the Nations Trophy it's neck and neck between the UK and Ireland at present, the former having overtaken the latter in the last week and built a small advantage. New Zealand is in a distant third place ahead of Italy - with neither likely to take top slot at this stage - but a lot can change still.
In the Overall Classification, SailX expert, 'flow' heads up the leader board, followed closely by top Youth sailor IRL711. User 'Hmmm' takes the final place in the podium.
For all virtual sailors this final week will be a particularly intense one with regatta results counting x 6.0 toward final scores - meaning 60% of points are still up for grabs. With 42 possible regattas (6 regattas per day) and a sailors best-3 regattas to count, this week is sure to see many late challenges and leaderboard changes.
To add to the pressure, as interest and participation builds so will the points awarded in each regatta - as in SailX, the points awarded for a particular regatta are based on the number of competitors in that regatta. This means regattas later in the week will award higher scores and the final ranking will not be decided until the conclusion of the final regatta on Sunday night (1 July) at 21:30 GMT.
Finally, in this final week of the Virtual Championships official ISAF Athlete Participation Programme coach (and ex. Olympian and Skandia Team GBR coach), Hugh Styles, will be using SailX to deliver coaching to his ISAF APP athletes (eight of whom are racing in the Virtual Youth Worlds already), commenting on their racing and answering questions from them. On top of this, all competitors who are taking part in the real event will be highlighted in the SailX racing fields and the SailX community (many of whom are top sailors and coaches in their own right) will be offering ad-hoc help and support to these athletes with their final preparations.