Today marks the first of six scheduled race days of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, with two races scheduled per day. Over 200 participants from 30 countries have gathered in Lunenburg for the championship
"Youth sailors of the world are impressed with the quality of the people, the region and the racing in Lunenburg," said Paul Henderson, president, International Sailing Federation (ISAF).
While this is the first appearance for the majority of these athletes, there are some returning competitors who made their mark in last year's regatta in France. Some of these participants sailed in 420s and are making the transition to the Canadian-built 29er, premiering at the event this year.
On the Laser front, eyes will be glued to Canadian Mike Leigh who placed 5th in France (out of a total of 39 competitors), just behind New Zealand's Michael Bullot. Only seven points separated the two for retained series totals.
Other veteran Laser sailors include: Germany's Tobias Schadewandt who placed 8th in France, his best finish at 3rd in one race, Poland's Artur Wilandt, who came 14th and managed a 1st place race during the French regatta and Portugal's Francisco Lobato who also posted a 1st place finish to come 19th over all.
Two girls who raced Lasers in France last year are competing in Lunenburg in the Girls Byte class. New Zealand's Kate O'Brien placed 2nd in France and Denmark's Christa Kobaek placed 6th.
Six competitors from the Boys Mistral class in France will also compete in Lunenburg. They include: New Zealand's Thomas Ashley (5th overall), Poland's Maksymilian Wojcik (6th), Switzerland's Jan Schenck (11th), Italy's Manfred Maier (13th), and Canada's Mike Hayes (20th).
The returning World Youth veterans in Girl's Mistral sailboards include the 1st place finisher in France, Zofia Klepacka of Poland, Wai Man Chan of Hong Kong who finished 8th, Linda Conrad of Germany who placed 10th and Canada's Lisa McKenzie at 13th.
While this is the first appearance of the 29er at the Youth Championship, there are some veteran sailors racing here who competed in the 420 class last year in France. Canada's Trevor McEwen helmed a 420 to the 19th spot in France, and will helm a 29er, with a different crew at this year's event. Also competing is New Zealand's Geoff Woolley who captured 13th last year. Denmark's Simon Nielsen crewed on a 420 and placed 14th in France, this year he's crewing the 29er for a different skipper, as is Sweden's Frederick Toll, he placed 27th with a different skipper in the 420 last year.