2015 Audi Melges 20 World Championship
02 Oct 15
Just for a moment imagine you are a 17 year old again. You have arrived in a new country for the first time to race at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship. You have no coach to help you and only a practice day before your first race. A new country, a new boat, your first time at a major international regatta and you come face to face with your competition - some of the best young sailors in the world with the best kit, supported by a team of coaches.
Exciting? Yes, but also more than a little bit intimidating. How do you go about competing under such circumstances?
Twenty years ago through the generosity of some ISAF members, namely Julius Blankstein, Bengt Julin, Ding Schoonmaker, Paul Phelan, George Andreadis, Harry Adler, Jonathan Janson and Ralph H. Roberts the World Youth Sailing Trust was formed.
Through ISAF's Athlete Participation Programme, the Trust supports young sailors from emerging sailing nations at the ISAF Youth World Championship by funding coaches to help them compete on a more level playing field with those sailors from the better-funded countries. As well as helping with racing skills, the coaches play a vital role in supporting the sailors in all on and off water aspects of the Event and deliver daily briefings and de-briefings to all competitors. It is the Trust's aim to ensure the young sailors return to their home waters enriched by their experience, with new friends and an enhanced love for the sport of sailing.
To date, the generosity of the Trustees has funded one coach at the ISAF Youth World Championship each year. The Trust now needs fresh funding to increase the size of the Trust and the income, so we can support more sailors from emerging countries.
Based on their success at the ISAF Youth Worlds, the Trust wants to fund more coaching and help more sailors. Additional projects could include extra coaches at the ISAF Youth Worlds or support of young sailors from emerging nations at other events such as Regional Games and Youth Olympic Qualifiers.
Back to being 17 again.
At the first major international regatta for Stewart Walker and David Thomas from Botswana this was a very real experience. The 2009 ISAF Youth Worlds was their first taste of racing amongst the elite of youth sailing and thanks to the daily coaching support they received via the Trust they took back to Botswana with them a greatly enhanced sailing and life experience.