As the new year begins, the future stars of the sailing world are aiming towards Aarhus in Denmark and the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship this July.
The 38th edition of the event, which is expected to attract over 250 young sailors from more than 60 nations, heads to Denmark for the first time and the championship already has a Royal seal of approval. The Royal Danish Court recently announced that HRH Crown Prince Frederik, an enthusiastic and talented sailor as well as a member of the ISAF Events Committee, is pleased to become Royal Patron of the 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship.
"This is a great honour for us,"
says event director Thomas Capitani NIELSEN. "The Crown Prince's interest and affection for sailing is well known not only in Denmark, but internationally, and the fact that he will support the event will be a great motivation for many young, ambitious sailors."
The 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship will be held from 10-19 July out of the Aarhus Yachting Harbour and the Bay of Aarhus, on the Jutland peninsula of Denmark. Aarhus is the second largest city and, fittingly for a Youth Worlds venue, it has the lowest average age of any city in the country thanks to its wealth of educational institutions. It is also a city of great history, having been originally settled by the Vikings during the 8th century.
Denmark's sailing history also goes way back and this is a nation well-known for its love of the sport and for producing many great sailors through the years.
Exemplifying this is four-time Olympic gold medallist Paul ELVSTRØM, who was chosen as Danish Sportsman of the Century in 1996, and last year was amongst the first six inductees into the ISAF Sailing Hall of Fame
Danish sailing is also currently going through a boom period. Last year in Canada, the Danish team put in its best-ever performance at the 2007 championship, finishing runner up in the Volvo Trophy standings for best nation after winning gold in the Boys' Two Person Dinghy, silver in the Open Multihull and bronze in the Girls' One Person Dinghy. In Australia, Danish crews feature strongly amongst the leaders at the 49er Worlds, whilst there looks set to be a strong Danish presence in the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race with the all-Nordic Ericsson entry.
The Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship is famous for giving the sailing world its first glance of future stars of the sport. Past medallists - which include double Olympic Champions Luis DORESTE (ESP), Ben AINSLIE
(GBR) and Robert SCHEIDT
(BRA), three-time America's Cup winning skipper Russell COUTTS
(NZL) and Volvo Ocean Race winner Richard CLARKE
(CAN) - have gone on to reach the summit in every aspect of the sport. Already, several of the winners at last year's Youth Worlds in Canada have proved they are more than capable of mixing it with their more senior competitors. Laser champion Pavlos KONTIDES
(CYP) has qualified his nation Cyprus for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, whilst Boys' 29er winners Henrik SOGAARD
and Soren KRISTENSEN
from Denmark were amongst the pacesetters at the 29er Worlds in Melbourne.
Aarhus's five yacht clubs, representing more than 2,800 members, have established "Sailing Aarhus", which will be the official organizing committee for the Youth Worlds, in close cooperation with the Danish Sailing Association, ISAF and the City of Aarhus, represented by Sport Aarhus Events.
The Bay of Aarhus is blessed with excellent sailing conditions, with average of wind speeds of 11 knots during July, whilst the bay provides protection from the roughest weather. July is normally the warmest month of the year, with temperatures averaging 20-25°C.
Seven titles are up for grabs in the following events:
Boy's One Person Dinghy - Laser
Girl's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Boy's Two Person Dinghy - 29er
Girl's Two Person Dinghy - 29er
Boy's Windsurfer - Neil Pryde RS:X with 8.5m2 sail & 60cm fin
Girl's Windsurfer - Neil Pryde RS:X with 8.5m2 sail & 60cm fin
Open Multihull - SL 16
The SL 16 multihull is making its debut at the Youth Worlds this year and will be supplied by Sirena Voile in cooperation with the Danish distributor Børresen Boats. Other boat suppliers, and key supporters of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, are Performance Sailcraft for the Laser and Laser Radial, Ovington Boats in cooperation with Børresen Boats for the 29er and NeilPryde International in cooperation with NeilPryde Scandinavia A/S for the RS:X.
The Notice of Race for the 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship is now available on the newly launched championship website - http://www.youthworlds2008.org/
and on the ISAF Youth Worlds microsite - http://www.sailing.org/youthworlds