Youth sailors gather at Crozon-Morgat....

...for the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Sailing Championship starting today

Wednesday July 4th 2001, Author: Jo Grindley, Location: United Kingdom
With the first races in the youth championships today the place to be for the next seven days is Crozon-Morgat. The Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Sailing Championship is the pinnacle of every young sailor’s aspirations. The event is regarded by the ISAF as the second most important regatta in their calendar, after the Olympic Games.
Great Britain Team Manager, Chris Gowers is happy with the team's preparations, "The whole team all came out here on the 28 June to familiarise ourselves with the conditions. We quickley transferred our rig settings onto the supplied boats and are very happy with the boat speed," he said.

According to Gowers "conditions will be varied, with courses no further than one mile offshore. It's probably more akin to lake sailing here, with shifts like those seen in Sydney Harbour last year. There's not much current, between a quarter and half a knot. Tactical decisions will be on spotting wind and shifts rather than tide. We've seen South Westerly winds for the last two day, which the locals say is not normal. Folk law also says there's never strong winds in the month of July, so we're expecting a gale".

RYA Youth Manager Steve Joel is mindful that they do not know who their main opposition is going to be. "With the timing of this years event, this is the very first World Championship of the season. We haven't had the chance to compete against any of the boats in any of the classes sailing here so we really don't have any form guides coming into this event. That's one of the things that makes you rather cautious about setting your targets high before you know where you rate relative to the other countries," says Joel.

243 competitors from 49 countries and have gathered in the small Breton town in France to compete for both individual and team glory. The sailors, all under 18 and have travelled from as far a field as Guatemala, Russia, Belarus, Myanmar and Moldova - time for the atlas!

Five nations are sporting full teams of ten sailors and must be regarded as favourites for the overall Volvo Trophy. The nations with full teams are: Australia, France, Great Britain, Germany and New Zealand. You can checkout the GBR Team here.

The young sailors will be competing in seven disciplines:

Singlehanded boys - Laser - 39 competitors
Singlehanded girls - Laser - 26 competitors
Doublehanded boys - 420 - 29 competitors
Doublehanded girls - 420 - 24 competitors
Windsurfing boys - Mistral - 29 competitors
Windsurfing girls - Mistral - 13 competitors
Multihull - Hobie Cat 16 - 12 competitors

Racing is scheduled to start at midday on 4 July and will continue until 10 July, with Sunday as a rest-day. Yesterday's practice race was marred by thunderstorms and light winds. Better conditions are expected tomorrow for first official race of the regatta.

Nautivela, Laser and Hobie Europe have supplied the boats with just the windsurfers bringing their own equipment.

Sadly, four young sailors from Maynmar proved two months to old to compete in the event. The organising committee has allowed them to stay on at the venue and train away from racing in preparation for the 420 World Championships in Italy later this summer.

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