Canada. Volvo Youth Worlds another chapter for Kingston sailing history

Friday, 18 May 2007

From 12-21 July over 200 of the best young sailing talent from over 50 nations will descend on Kingston, Ontario, Canada for the 2007 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. The 37th ISAF Youth Worlds will be sailed out of Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, a venue renowned for its fantastic conditions and whose history is littered with some of sailing’s most famous names. 
Kingston, located on the eastern end of Lake Ontario at the head of the St Lawrence River, is famous for its southwesterly thermal breeze, making for champagne sailing over the summer months.  

“The best fresh water sailing venue in the world,” is the straightforward assessment of Bernard Luttmer  (CAN), Canada’s Laser representative at the 2004 Olympic Games and currently #9 in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. With the excellent conditions and the expert organization, born out of the formation of the Canadian Olympic-training Regatta, Kingston (CORK) in 1969, it is no surprise that over the years Kingston has played host to some of the sport’s biggest names.   

According to Ken Dool, Canadian Sailing Team Head Coach, The Lake and the solid wind conditions require a multi-dimensional sailor to achieve greatness.

John Bertrand (AUS) and Dennis Conner (USA) were able to meet this challenge when the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour hosted the Olympic Sailing Competition in 1976. Both sailors took to the Olympic podium in Canada, seven years before they would go head-to-head as Bertrand skippered Australia II to America’s Cup victory over Conner’s Liberty and put an end to the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year winning streak. Other famous names to grace Lake Ontario in 1976 were Jochen Schuemann (GER), who won the first of his three Olympic gold medals in the Finn, Jacques Rogge (BEL), President of the International Olympic Committee, and ISAF Vice-President George Andreadis (GRE).

The conditions in which Bertrand, Conner and Schuemann excelled will also greet the young pretenders similarly aiming to make a name for themselves out on Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. Kingston is well known for its bright, sunny days which give rise to its famous thermal wind. Reliably developing in the early afternoon, it generally blows from 10-15 knots from the southwest. There is very little current on the three race courses, all a short 10-15 minute sail from the harbour, whilst water and air temperatures vary between 18-22 degrees and 25-30 degrees respectively, all-in-all, terrific sailing conditions. 

17 year old Robert Davis (CAN) is the host nation’s representative in the Laser at this year’s Youth Worlds. As a Kingstonian he knows the conditions inside-out. Whilst the prevalent southwesterly makes for physical racing, he also says that Kingston can provide a tactical element as well, Occasionally a front comes through and the wind goes north, northeast for a couple of days. When the wind is from the northeast, it is quite shifty and puffy, and the racing has more emphasis on sailing smart.”
He adds, To be quick in Kingston you need to be physically strong but you also have to have the smarts to master the shifty conditions if a northeast wind comes in.”

Luttmer, who counts multiple wins in Kingston on his sailing CV, says the key to success at the venue is consistency, The conditions are variable, you can get anything from light and shifty to big breeze and waves. Success relies on being confident in every condition so you are ready for what ever the wind brings.

Given its sailing credentials and the city’s 19th century architecture and diverse culture, it is no surprise that Kingston has developed into a hot spot for the sport. The CORK Regatta has grown to become one of the world’s largest sailing events and now annually attracts over 1,000 boats and more than 1,500 competitors over two weeks of competition in August.

The 2007 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, the 37th running of the Championship, will add another chapter to Kingston prestigious sailing history. As a Youth Worlds silver medallist in 1997, Luttmer knows what it takes to succeed at the world’s premier youth sailing event, “Stay focussed on your own sailing. It is easy to get distracted with all the international sailors around, but it is focusing on your own sailing not your competition that will help you win a medal.” 

Focus and sheer sailing-talent is a quality found in abundance amongst Youth Worlds medallists when Canada has previously hosted the Championship. The Youth Worlds at Toronto in 1976, Montreal in 1989 and Lunenburg in 2002 gave the sailing world its first glimpse of the talent which would blossom to achieve success across all of sailing’s pinnacles, with medallists including Volvo Ocean Race sailor Stuart Bannatyne (NZL), Athens Olympic gold medallists Gal Fridman (ISR) and Luna Rossa navigator Michele Ivaldi (ITA). 

The 2007 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Kingston will host a record number of entries for a Youth Worlds in North America, with 227 sailors from 52 nations aiming to add their name to the roll call of honour at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. It is an illustrious list to join, but as the Youth Worlds has proved year-after-year, the young sailors who step onto the podium in Kingston this July, are the sport’s stars of the future.

Editors Note:

The ISAF Youth Worlds was first held in Sweden in 1971.  The 2007 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF Worlds will be the 37th championship.  The event was last hosted in Canada in 2002, in Lunenberg.

Past notable winners include American’s Cup skippers, Chris Dixon (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 Stuart Bannatyne (NZL).   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.

Italy is the current holder 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 17 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 37th Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships is being hosted by Kingston, Ontario, Canada at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. The event will be organised by World Youth Sailing Kingston in affiliation with the Canadian Yachting Association. For further information

Helen King Into the blue

Last Updated ( Friday, 18 May 2007 )