Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2008
With the clock ticking down to the Beijing Olympic Games, the start of 2008 has brought with it a rapid succession of World Championship events in the Olympic Classes, and the resulting list of World Champions presents a remarkable illustration of talent fostered at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. The world’s premier youth sailing event has always been looked upon as a breeding-ground for the sailing stars of the future and with a quick analysis of current trends it’s clear to see this is a reputation well earned.
Of the 10 teams that have so far claimed World Championship victory in 2008, only one fails to count an ISAF Youth World appearance on their sailing resume. Between them, these 10 crews boost an incredible Youth World Championship haul of eight gold, two silver and three bronze medals. If you include the 2007 Star Worlds Champions on the list (the 2008 Star World Championship does not take place until April) the tally increases to nine gold’s thanks to Brazil’s Robert Scheidt’s contribution.
“Time and time again we’ve seen the top performers from the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship go on to reach the very highest levels of achievement in the sailing world, whether it is the Olympic Games, the Volvo Ocean Race or the America’s Cup,” said Fiona Kidd, chair of the ISAF Youth World Championship Sub-Committee. “What’s really encouraging is that in recent years we’ve seen several new nations - for example Guatemala, Singapore and most recently Cyprus - step onto the Youth World podium for the first time.”
What is also remarkable about the list of 2008 World Champs/Youth World medallists is the spread of sailors across all age ranges. Whether it was the 1980s, the 1990s or the 2000s, the Youth World Champions of the era have all gone on to succeed at the highest level. There are the veterans like Britain’s Ben Ainslie and Alessandra Sensini from Italy, who showcased their talent at the Youth Worlds before going on to become multiple Olympic medallists. And then there are the young guns; Nathan Outteridge (AUS), Pippa Wilson (GBR) and Sarah Steyaert (FRA) all lifted World Championship trophies in 2008 and all won medals at the 2004 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Gdynia.
Will the trend be repeated in four years’ time with the stars of this year’s Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship lining up to compete at the London Olympic Games? Only time will tell, but without doubt, the opportunity to join the illustrious list of ISAF Youth World Champions and medallists is a great motivation amongst the youngsters currently preparing for the 2008 championship in Århus this July.
“It was an inspiration that I had the chance to join the list of names of Youth World medallists,” says 17 year old Sarah Gunni of Denmark, who last year won the bronze medal in the girls’ one person dinghy Laser Radial event. “It’s the best event I’ve ever been at. It’s a real experience to be at an event with just one sailor from each country per class, so many different sailors and without parents!”
Gunni, who has since gone on to win the bronze medal at the Laser Radial class Youth World Championship in New Zealand, also explains that success at the Youth Worlds can provide a real boost to a young sailing career. “It’s easier to get a sponsor and get recognised when you have a medal. It also gives you a lot of confidence in yourself and motivation to keep training and improving,” she said.
So whilst today’s stars continue their Olympic preparations, Gunni’s focus is firmly on the Danish selection trials in May/June where she’ll be aiming to win the right to represent her nation on home waters at the 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. If that is achieved, another podium finish is the aim. It’s a goal the likes of Ainslie, Sensini, Outteridge et al have all shared at some time, and if the form book is anything to go by, it’s often the first step up the path towards sailing stardom.
For more information please visit: http://www.youthworlds2008.org/
• The ISAF Youth Worlds was first held in Sweden in 1971. The 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF Worlds will be the 38th championship. This is the first time the event will be held in Denmark.
• Past notable winners include American’s Cup skippers, Chris Dickson (NZL), Russell Coutts (NZL), Dean Barker (NZL); Olympic medallists, Robert Scheidt (BRA), Amelie Lux (GER), Ben Ainslie (GBR), Nick Rogers (GBR) and Siren Sundby (NOR); Volvo Ocean Race sailors like Stuart Bannatyne (NZL) and Richard Clarke (CAN). The most successful ISAF Youth World Champions are Great Britain’s Sally Cuthbert and Poland’s Zofia Klepacka having won four successive titles in the Laser II and Mistral respectively.
• Australia are the current holders of the Volvo Trophy, awarded annually to the top performing nation at the Youth Worlds. France is the most success nation through the history of the Championship, winning the Volvo Trophy on a record nine occasions and topping the medal table with 18 gold, 25 silver and 13 bronze medals.
• Volvo support international youth sailing by sponsoring The Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships. This assists young sailors with the development of their sailing careers whether it be focused on inshore Olympic dreams or the offshore challenges of the Volvo Ocean Race. For further information:
• The 38th Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships is being hosted by Århus, Denmark in the Bay of Århus. The event will be organised by Sailing Aarhus in close cooperation with the Danish Sailing Association, ISAF and the City of Århus, represented by Sport Århus Events.
For further information: