First youth 49er championship
The 122nd Travemuende Week, taking place over 22-31 July next year, will feature the first ever World Youth Championship in the 49er. The aim of this new competition is to create a stronger bond of the juniors with the Olympic class.
As Race Director Walter Mielke puts it: “Carrying out this premiere event puts more wind in the sails of the modern Travemuende Week."
Next to the traditional boat classes, fast planing dinghies and catamarans that have been the main focus of Travemuende Week for some years, the 49er Youth World Championship is one of four championships taking place in Travemuende alongside the Folkboat Gold Cup and the Laser 2 and International Canoe World Championships.
In introducing the new race, the President of the German 49er Class Association Heiko Thoelmann wants to encourage young sailors towards the top. “Highly professional crews dictate the class on the top level. Some of them came from other Olympic classes before joining the 49er fleet. Young teams are struggling to successfully compete against these cracks. But it is essential to keep them in the fleet.”
The German initiative for the World Youth Championships has received ISAF blessing, allowing young sailors in the Olympic skiff to compete against other sailors of their age. “There will be also some crews already sailing on the top level. But these are not too many, so that quite a few sailors, who normally stand in the second row, have chances for a good ranking”, says Thoelmann, who believes the format will continue beyond 2011.
Thoelmann doesn’t see a problem in having the World Youth Championship scheduled only three days after the finish of the Europeans in Helsinki – on the contrary. “With the direct ferryline from Helsinki to Travemuende, the World Championship is a perfect stopover on the way back.” Also some crews from the USA are expected to show up in Travemuende before packing their boats into the container to overseas. Numerous entries from Scandinavia are expected too.
In total more than 40 crews are expected to take part, among them many Germans. According to the class president, quite a few crews from the national ranking are listed for the start in Travemuende. Also some sailors, who have moved into the class, have marked the date in their calendar, among them Justus Schmidt and Max Boehme from Kiel and Schoenwalde. The most active German 29er sailors from 2010, they have sailed into the top ten at the Worlds and Europeans and moved up from the Youth skiff to the Olympic class this autumn. Due to their upcoming school exams, they will have to cut down a bit on their sailing next spring, but announced they be concentrating on sailing after that. “The World Youth Championship of the under-23 age group is the absolute highlight of the season,” they say.
Up to 16 races on four days are scheduled for the Championships. Furthermore the class will be participating in the 'Trave Races', held close to the shore, which was a major attraction at this year’s event.
Racing is supposed to start on 26 July with the measurement before the opening ceremony will include a party on board the historic four-masted barque Passat, celebrating its 100th birthday next year. Following the practice race on the next day, the qualification races for the gold and silver fleets are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, 28 and 29 July. On Saturday and Sunday, 30 and 31 July, there are the premiere title matches in the World Youth Championship of the 49er skiff for the under-23 age group.