Lunenburg County is getting rave reviews from the President of the Canadian Yachting Association.
Fiona Kidd will be spending the next two weeks in and around the Lunenburg Yacht Club during the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. The second-year president has been more than impressed with the local organizing committee and their modest club situated on the western shores of Mahone Bay.
"In terms of organization, this will be a first-rate championship," exclaimed Kidd, who also serves as chair of the youth committee during the 10-day event. "They have a great sense of community here with strong volunteers who are dedicated and passionate.
"And the event should be world class. This is considered the mini-Olympics of our sport and the pinnacle of youth sailing development. A lot of the top sailors here go onto the Olympic campaign; we'll probably see a lot of these names at the 2008 (Olympic) Games."
Over 200 sailors from 30-plus countries will partake in the 32nd edition of the world youth sailing championship. The sailors are under 19 years old and will compete in single-handed boys Laser, single-handed girls Bytes, double-handed boys and girls 29ers and Mistral sailboards boys and girls.
Coaches, officials and visiting family members will push the number of people associated with the event to over 500. The economic benefits of the championship - the first in Canada since Montreal in 1989 - could exceed over $3 million.
The genesis of the event coming to the South Shore began in 1997 when the Lunenburg Yacht Club hosted the Canadian Youth Sailing Championships. The event was such a success that the Lunenburg organizing committee, consisting of nearly 300 volunteers, turned its focus to a much larger scale.
A bid to host was submitted to the International Sailing Federation in early 1999 and the LYC was selected later that year.
Kidd, who became familiar with the area during the Canadian championships, knew first-hand that Lunenburg could be a capable world host.
"The advantage of Lunenburg is first and foremost the sailing waters," said Kidd. "When I came here in 1997, I met a lot of the original organizing committee and was incredibly impressed by what they were able to do with such a small facility.
"They haven't put on a world class event, but I knew these people had the ability to do so. I have complete confidence in this group of organizers."
Article appears courtesy of Halifax Herald Limited.