ISAF Youth Worlds 2011 countdown begins

Jaffrezic And Bloyet (FRA) At The 2010 ISAF Youth Worlds
ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2011 is to be held in Zadar, Croatia from 7 to 16 July and the countdown to the 41st edition ISAF Youth Worlds is on with 358 sailors from 59 nations registered to compete.

Many former ISAF Youth Worlds medallists throughout the years have gone on to achieve greatness in the Olympic Games, America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race, and this years athletes will look to follow in the footsteps of their heroes.

In the 29er, 23 teams and 46 sailors will battle it out in their bid to bring home the gold medal for their nation.

Gael Jaffrezic and Julien Bloyet (FRA) will be back at the ISAF Youth Worlds to defend the 29er title they won in Istanbul, Turkey last year. The French pair rounded off a consistent week with a bullet in the final race in Istanbul to finish at the top of the podium by six points over New Zealand’s Alexandra Maloney and Sam Bullock.

The French pair will be the favourites, but there will be some tough competition from America’s Antoine Screve and Max Agnese. Screeve finished third with James Moody in 2010. But now sailing with Agnese, Screeve will be looking to bring home gold in Zadar.

Great Britain’s Henry Lloyd Williams and Samuel Batten finished out of the medals in Istanbul by one point over Screeve and Agnese. With an impressive start to the regatta, which saw the Brits go 3-2-1, they faded in the middle, finishing towards the back of the fleet. A year on the Brits will be looking for more consistency as they push for a medal.

Darren Choy and Nathan Tang will be Singapore’s 29er representatives. Choy will be looking to use the experience gained from his seventh place finish in the Byte at the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games to good effect. And with many of the 2011 ISAF Youth Worlds athletes new to large scale competition the Singaporeans will look to finish in the medals.

Paul Darmanin won gold for Australia in the SL16 at the 2010 ISAF Youth Worlds as crew of Chase Lurati. One year on and Darmanin is at the helm of the Australian SL16 with Aleks Vucic. Darmanin will be looking to retain the title he claimed last year with his new team mate.

The 14-boat fleet will also feature Denmark’s Nicolaj Bjørnholt and Daniel Bjørnholt who will compete in their third ISAF Youth Worlds. The twin brothers first sailed at the 2009 ISAF Youth Worlds in Buzios, Brazil where they finished ninth. A year later they were on the podium receiving the silver medal in Istanbul. With their ISAF Youth Worlds experience the Danes will fancy their chances of capturing the gold medal.

Of the crews who competed last year, alongside the Danes will be South Africa’s Matthew Whitehead and Calene Loubser. The 2011 ISAF Youth Worlds will be Whitehead’s third in the SL16 after he finished second in 2008 with Michael Ovenstone and eighth with Loubser in 2010.

Sailing begins on Saturday 9 July with 12 races scheduled until Friday 15 July.

View the entry list here

ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship website