The Australian Sailing Youth Team (ASYT) of fourteen young sailors and three coaches, will be contesting the 2015 Youth Sailing World Championships with racing starting in Langkawi, Malaysia tomorrow, 29 December 2015.
Sailing out of Malaysia’s National Sailing Centre, the 2015 Youth Worlds will break all previous records in terms of participation and number of nations. More than 430 sailors from 80 nations across nine fleets are registered to sail on the Malaysian waters of Langkawi. New and returning nations make up the numbers to surpass the previous best of 67 set in Tavira, Portugal last year.
Australia has a strong history at the Youth Sailing World Championships and six athletes return from last year’s team. The States of New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia as well as Queensland are represented on this year's team and eight sailors will make their Youth Worlds debut for Australia in Malaysia.
Tasmanian Jock Calvert is the ‘veteran’ athlete on the team and will be competing in his third World Championship in the RS:X class. The RS:X boys fleet will feature a fleet of 30 sailors and with no returning medallists, new names will be carved on the trophy.
“I’m super excited to improve on everything I’ve learnt over the last two attempts. The conditions will be really tough, but I hope that I’ve done enough training and enough work to get my fitness ready for the challenge. I’m feeling pretty prepared and we’ll see how it goes,” Jock Calvert said.
Malaysia is expected to be a light wind venue and Jock Calvert is aware of the challenges: “Being a bit bigger and heavier, I will have to work extra hard in the light winds, but I know this going into the event and I’ve physically and mentally prepared for it. The team gets on really well and I’m sure we will all help and support each other through the highs and lows.”
Queenslander Emma Baillie will be racing her first Youth World’s in the 23-boat RS:X girls fleet.
Western Australians Nia Jerwood and Lisa Smith will be the only full pair returning to the girls 420 fleet. Jerwood and Smith finished ninth at the 2014 Youth Worlds and are determined to improve on that result. Despite some injuries and some time out of the boat, the pair has had a successful year. Coached by Olympic gold medallist Belinda Stowell, they finished fourth at the 2015 420 World Championships and most recently won the 420 at the Sailing World Cup in Melbourne as well as Sail Sydney. Having sailed together for four and half years, they will be using their experience against a field of Youth World newcomers in the 24-boat fleet.
“We’re really looking forward to the racing and we definitely want to be on the podium this year,” Lisa Smith said confidently.
In the boy’s 420 fleet New South Welshmen Alec Brodie and Xavier Winston-Smith will be newcomers in the 32-boat fleet and are excited to have made it on to their first Youth Worlds team and about the opportunity ahead.
“We’ve been sailing and training together for five years and campaigning to get to our first Youth Worlds for two years. We can’t wait to immerse ourselves into the regatta and putting our whole energy and focus into it. It will be really exciting to have really close and competitive racing with the overseas countries,” Alec Brodie said.
And crew Xavier Winston-Smith added: “It will be really good to put our training into practice and see what we can do. I’m also looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere with all the other countries, teams and only one boat per country and to have a hit-out against the best in the world.”
The 29er class reflects the increase in participation at the 2015 Youth Sailing World Championships and for the first time is separated. In previous editions the fleet has been an open affair but the boost in numbers sees the boys and girls battling it out for separate honours this year. There will be 32 nations in the boys and 25 in the girls section.
Jim Colley (NSW) was part of the Australian Sailing Youth Team with 29er partner Shaun Connor and this year has teamed up and qualified for the team with 2014 29er World Champion Kurt Hansen (NSW).
“Being part of the Youth Team is fantastic. There are so many opportunities and resources that have opened up over the camps, which have been really good to get into and it opened doors for the future as well,” an excited Kurt Hansen said.
“We were just stoked to qualify for the team and it’s such a great atmosphere. The team is really close and it will just get closer as the regatta progresses. We have a fantastic team spirit and I’m sure we’ll have an awesome regatta,” Jim Colley added.
And about their expectation Colley said: “Most of the Europeans will be strong, the Americans as well and we know the Kiwis are good, so it will be a tough regatta. But if we just sail the best we can and enjoy it then I think we’ll do pretty well.”
For their training partners Amelia Stabback (NSW) and Pia Doyle (NSW) the competition will be more of an unknown. Malaysia will be the first Youth Worlds for the pair and it will be their first time competing in an all-girl fleet as Amelia Stabback describes:
“We’re really excited to see what it will be like just sailing against a whole girl fleet. We’ve never done that, so it will be exciting to see how we go and to see how the racing is different.”
“This will be our first Youth Worlds and we’ve been lucky that the female opportunities have risen for the female 29er fleet. We’re feeling pretty confident. It definitely was a lot of motivation when we got the spot and it drove us to keep training harder and harder,” Amelia Stabback added.
In the SL16 multi-hull class last year’s 29er sailor Shaun Connor (NSW) will represent Australia together with crew Sophie Renouf (NSW) in the 16-boat fleet.
“After last year’s Youth Worlds I wanted to try one more hull and we’ve been sailing together for a year and a half now. Coming from the 29er and going into the multi-hull, I’m a bit puzzled on where we stand, but we’d like to see some good results posted on the board and to grow as a team as well,” Shaun Connor said.
And addressing his Youth Worlds debutant crew he added: “It’s going to be a regatta Sophie has never experienced before. It’s a whole different culture and it’s been good to have our camps and to live together as a team, which has created a bit of the vibe of what it’s going to be like.”
The SL16 fleet will be sharing eight boats throughout the Youth Worlds with a qualifying series and a final series.
In the male and female Laser Radial fleets Langkawi will welcome a record number of sailors. Historically, the Laser Radial is always the largest at the Youth Worlds and with 69 boys and 57 girls registered to race the trend continues in Malaysia.
The Laser Radial Boys fleet is set to be the biggest fleet in the history of the Youth Worlds with 69 sailors registered to participate. Of the 2014 top 20, there are just four returnees, including Western Australian Alistair Young, who will be gunning for an improvement in position as well as the podium.
“I finished fifth last year and I put in another whole year of training and the aim is to go for the top this year and hopefully with all the support around me I can get there,” Alistair Young said.
Fellow Western Australian Jacinta Ainsworth will contest her first Youth Worlds in the girls fleet.
With Olympic gold medallist Belinda Stowell OAM (WA), New South Wales Sailing Performance coach Larry Cargill (NSW) and former Laser Radial World Champion Tristan Brown (WA) three experienced coaches accompany the team.
The Youth Sailing World Championship sees sailors under the age of 19 from around the world descend on Langkawi, Malaysia to compete in nine events with Australia represented in each. It is the largest youth sailing regatta in the world
The opening ceremony on 28 December will signal the start of the Youth Worlds before racing commences on 29 December. Racing will run through to Sunday 3 January with Friday 1 January a lay day for the sailors.
Follow the team on http://www.facebook.com/aussailingyouthteam for updates throughout the event.
Meet the team via interviews with each crew here: https://www.facebook.com/aussailingyouthteam/videos
FOLLOW THE EVENT
Results will be available to view here when racing starts on 29 December: http://www.isafyouthworlds.com/results/index.php
The Youth Worlds live blog will be following the racing when it commences on 29 December through to the conclusion of the event on 3 January 2016. Follow the blog here - http://www.isafyouthworlds.com/multimedia/live_blog.php
2015 Australian Sailing Youth Team
|Boat Class||Name||State - Club|
|Laser Radial – Boys||Alistair Young||WA – FSC|
|Laser Radial – Girls||Jacinta Ainsworth||WA – FSC / SoPYC|
|420 – Boys||Alec Brodie
|NSW – MHYC|
|420 – Girls||Nia Jerwood
|WA – FSC/SoPYC|
|RS:X – Boys||Jock Calvert||TAS – RYCT|
|RS:X – Girls||Emma Baillie||QLD – RQYS|
|29er – Boys||Kurt Hansen
|NSW – RPAYC/MH16SSC|
|29er – Girls||Amelia Stabback
|NSW – MH16SSC|
|SL16 – Open||Shaun Connor
|NSW – RPAYC/PBSC|
|Belinda Stowell||Head Coach||WA|
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