The 2003 Yachting New Zealand YouthSail will bring together the top youth sailors from around New Zealand across a number of different classes including Laser, 420, Europe and Mistral.
The regatta is being from the 23-26 April, off Sandspit Yacht Club at Algies Bay. The sport's up and coming talent (under the age of 19) will come together from Northland to Dunedin to compete.
YouthSail aims to bring together as many young sailors as possible for a festival of competitive yachting. In addition to the Youth World classes the regatta will include the P Class, Starling, Splash, 29er and Hobie 16. Yachting New Zealand's Chief Executive Simon Wickham comments, "It's great to see the range of classes at YouthSail growing. It's the first year the Hobie 16 and the Splash class sailors have joined the event".
Yachting New Zealand will be selecting the 2003 Yachting New Zealand Youth Team at the regatta who will represent New Zealand at the ISAF World Youth Sailing Championships in Madeira, Portugal later from 17-26 July 2003. A National Youth Squad will also be selected to train intensively over the coming months in preparation for international competition.
The jury is out as to who will make the Youth Team this year as competition is very competitive in the classes. The Laser class has always been hotly contested in both open and youth divisions. Luke Judge is the most experienced of the youth sailors, having previously competed internationally in both open and youth fleets. However, Judge is up against sailors from all over the country who will test his ability.
The 420 class is relatively new to New Zealand, however the sailors are certainly wasting no time to get up to speed in this technical boat. Auckland sailors Olivia Powrie and Sarah Bilkey have been setting a high standard for the boys to live up to, finishing in the top two in their last two regattas. In the boy's fleet, Auckland's Scott Kennedy/Alastair Thompson will have tough competition from fellow sailors Garth Ellingham/Scott Illingworth who finished on equal points at their last regatta.
In the Europe class Jo Aleh and Jane Macky (both from Kohimarama Yacht Club) will battle for selection. These two sailors have competed against each other on a regular basis, and at the previous event, Aleh was the top youth. These are two sailors whom we expect to see achieving on the international stage in the near future.
Boardsailor Anna Eason is the only trialist this year who has competed in former Youth World Championships. If successful Eason will be representing New Zealand at this event for the 4th time. Eason finished 6th at the ISAF Youth World Sailing Championship in 2002, but to improve this result she must beat fellow youth sailors who are challenging her every step of the way. In the boy's fleet David Robertson has been showing great potential in both the youth and open fleet, he will by vying for selection alongside fellow boardsailor Antonio Cozzolino.
Daily releases will be circulated and posted along with the results on the event website.