The list of past medal winners of the ISAF Youth World Championship reads like a who's who of today's most famous sailing names. Past winners of the ISAF Youth Youth Championship include Britain's two-time Olympic champion and twice ISAF World Sailor of the Year, Ben AINSLIE; the famous and super-successful trio of New Zealand match racers Russell COUTTS, Chris DICKSON and Dean BARKER; another two time Olympic champion and twice ISAF World Sailor of the Year, Brazilian Robert SCHEIDT; 1998 ISAF World Sailor of the Year, Carolijn BROUWER (NED); and current Olympic and ISAF World Champion in the Europe, Siren SUNDBY (NOR). Even in this small list is included no less than six Olympic gold medals and countless national, continental and world titles.
For speculators one of the most fascinating classes is sure to be the Laser Radial. Since the Radial has replaced the Europe as the Olympic equipment for the Single-Handed Dinghy Women there has been a massive shift of sailors to the boat. However, the Radial had already been used at previous ISAF Youth World Championships and so far it has been the young sailors graduating from the youth events who are now dominating the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. With Olympic gold medallist in the Single-Handed Dinghy Women, Siren SUNDBY, switching to the Double-Handed Dinghy, the 2008 Olympic gold medal looks very much like an open field. Even at this early stage though favourites are emerging.
|Paige RAILEY on her way to victory at the
Princess Sofia Trophy 2005
© Nico Martinez
One of them is certain to be in Korea and competing in her fourth ISAF Youth World Championship. America's 2003 ISAF Youth World Champion, Paige RAILEY, has had a terrific start to the season, sweeping to victory in all three ISAF Graded events she has entered, including a crushing 32 point victory in the recent Princess Sofia Trophy in Spain. However, despite her success so far this season RAILEY is yet to come up against the Australasian contingent of young sailors, including 2004 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship runner up Jo ALEH (NZL), who lie above her in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. Competition she will surely have to defeat if she is to repeat her feat of two years ago.
After the entry deadline tomorrow a full lineup of the competitors will reveal what other challenges Paige has in store, and which stars of the future (and the present) will be aiming for ISAF medals in the other events.