One month remains until the start of the 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Århus, Denmark where Australia will defend the prized national award, the Volvo Trophy.
Following a late entry from Thailand, a total of 60 nations and over 250 sailors are set to line up for the 38th edition of the ISAF Youth World Championship, taking place from 10-19 July in the Bay of Århus, on Denmark's Jutland peninsula. The world's top young sailors will not just be competing for the seven Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship titles, but also for the Volvo Trophy, awarded to the best-performing nation at the championship.
The best-nation competition was introduced to the Youth Worlds in 1991 and has featured at every championship since, becoming just as highly prized as the individual awards. Australia is the current holder of the trophy, although historically it is the French who have dominated the competition, winning the best-nation prize on no less than nine occasions. For the on-looking sailing world, the individual events provide a fascinating glimpse of the future stars of the sport, but it the Volvo Trophy which offers the perfect distillation of the spirit of the championship. Sailors are not just performing for themselves, but for their nation, and no matter what their overall standing, every race counts, as one great performance can boost a team's score significantly.
(DEN), a member of the Danish Youth Team who finished second to Australia last year, explained the appeal of the additional inter-nation battle when the team were honoured at the 2007 Danish Sailing Awards. "It is really cool that it is a team effort which has been rewarded. We fought for each other and had a lot of fun together as well,"
Amongst the 60 nations entered this year, seven feature a full quota of ten sailors competing across all seven events, whilst nearly half of the 60 competing nations have a chance of winning the Volvo Trophy with entries in at least four events (the scoring for the trophy is based on the top four performers from each nation, race-by-race).
The defending champions Australia look very strong, with their team for 2008 including four members of the victorious 2007 squad, all of home left Canada with individual medals as well as team success. Leading the challenge to the Aussies will be the host nation Denmark. The Danish team produced their best-ever Youth Worlds performance in Canada last year, winning three medals and only narrowly finishing as runners up in the 2007 Volvo Trophy standings. Like the Australians, the Danish team in Canada was built around a core of young talent and should benefit from extra experience this time around.
New Zealand, third overall in last year's Volvo Trophy standings, line up with a full quota of ten sailors as do Brazil, the hosts of the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, along with the Europeans powerhouses: France, Germany, Great Britain and Italy. The Aussies, Finland, Norway, Singapore and the USA will compete in six of the seven events.
The entry list suggests Århus will host one of the most closely fought and wide-ranging battles for the Volvo Trophy in its 17-year history. The eventual winners will join a very select list - to date, only five nations have won the trophy and amongst them the French are by far and away the most successful. Along with France's nine victories (1991, 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005) and Australia's three (1993, 2003, 2007), other past winners of the Volvo Trophy are Great Britain (1995, 1996), New Zealand (1994, 2002) and the newest member of the club Italy (2006).
How It Works
Scores towards the Volvo Trophy standings are taken on a race-by-race basis from the top four performers across the seven events. Top ten race finishes translate into points: ten points for a first, nine for a second, all the way down to one point for a tenth place finish. After each race is completed across all seven events, a nation takes its four best scores and combines them to come up with their overall Volvo Trophy score for that race. With a potential 40 points up for grabs the standings can alter rapidly from one race to another, making the battle for the trophy one of the most exciting and keenly fought contests of the championship.
Volvo Trophy Winners
2007 - Australia
2006 - Italy
2005 - France
2004 - France
2003 - Australia
2002 - New Zealand
2001 - France
2000 - France
1999 - France
1998 - France
1997 - France
1996 - Great Britain
1995 - Great Britain
1994 - New Zealand
1993 - Australia
1992 - France
1991 - France
Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2008 - click here
ISAF Youth Worlds microsite - www.sailing.org/youthworlds