After an exhilarating opening ceremony and four races held across all events, today has been the lay day for the young sailing stars competing at the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship.
The 39th edition of the Youth Worlds is taking place in the coastal town of Buzios, Brazil, in the Rio de Janeiro state which is midway through a bumper year of sailing, hosting the Volvo Ocean Race back in March/April and with the Laser 4.7 and Optimist Worlds still to come. It would be hard to think of a better location to spend a lay day than this charming Brazilian resort town, especially as today is a typical winter’s day – bright sunshine, temperatures hovering a little above the 20˚C mark and not a cloud in the sky – that’s winter Buzios-style. This morning a Brazilian-style carnival was held for all the competitors, whilst this afternoon they are free to explore with most opting to head for one of the multitude of beaches in and around the town.
However, while today is a day for rest and recuperation, it’s also a time to focus on the remaining three days of competition which will decide the winners of 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship medals and the prestigious best-nation prize, the Volvo Trophy.
Time To Focus
Four races have been completed across all seven events, with a scheduled seven remaining. As ISAF Coach Santiago Lange reminded everyone in his post-race debriefing last night, it’s still relatively early on in there regatta, “There is still a long, long way to go. Don’t worry about the leaderboard, and where the other teams are. For now, just focus on your own racing.”
Tomorrow there is sure to be plenty of shifting around in the overall positions as the one and only discard of the series comes into play after the fifth race is completed. With very tricky, shifty wind conditions yesterday and during the second race of the opening day, a lot of teams are currently hold one high score which they’ll be looking forward to dropping from their overall points total.
For the second half of the championship, several famous faces have arrived in town to lend their support to the event and in particular the Brazilian team. Sailing legend Torben Grael (BRA) is due in town today, with his daughter Martine Grael currently top of the Girls 420 leaderboard. Isabel Swan (BRA), Beijing bronze medallist in the Women’s 470, arrived yesterday, “I’m here to show my support of this championship and for youth sailing,” she explained. “It’s a great place here in Buzios and it’s wonderful to see so many countries and sailors taking part.”
In the battle for the Volvo Trophy, the prize awarded to the top nation, France leads the standings on 142 points. Last year’s winner Great Britain lies in second place on 123 points. Italy is third on 112 points with the host nation Brazil fourth on 91 points. Singapore completes the top five on 64 points. Scores are calculated after each race completed across all four events, with 10 points awarded for a first, 9 for a second etc down to one for a tenth place finish. The top four point scorers for each nation are combined and together they equal the nation’s score for that race. So with 40 points up for grabs in each race, the standings can change rapidly over the course of just one race.
Tomorrow three races are scheduled across all seven events with the first starts at 12:00 local time (15:00 UTC). The discard will kick in after race five, with the total number of discards this year reduced from two to one. Three races are also planned for Thursday, with the final and decisive race of the championship (there’s no Medal Race at the Youth Worlds) for each event held on Friday 17 July.
For the world’s top youth sailors here in Buzios, the fun is just beginning…