Volvo Ocean Race - Youth initiatives provide early Alicante highlight

Optimist racing in the Volvo Ocean Race Academy in the Alicante race village. Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
The Volvo Ocean Race Academy was at the heart of the action on the opening weekend of the Alicante Race Village. Eight junior sailing teams took part in a three-day team racing clinic and regatta and more than 300 youngsters got their first sailing experience as part of the Academy’s Try Sailing initiative at Alicante Puerto de Salida.

Part of the Volvo Ocean Race’s commitment to youth sailing worldwide, the Academy comprises four initiatives designed to inspire, educate and entertain local youngsters at each of the host ports, while leaving a lasting legacy of youth sailing in each of the countries visited by the race.

During the 2011-12 race the Academy Try Sailing initiative aims to give 14,000 children the chance to go afloat in one of the Academy’s fleet of branded 5.6 metre Ludic dinghies.

Each host port also features an Academy Team Racing regatta and clinic, sailed in branded singlehanded Optimist dinghies with eight, four-sailor, mixed-gender junior teams selected through national trials in each of the host port countries.

The RS:X Youth Stopover Tour is a collaboration between the Volvo Ocean Race and the RS:X Class Association, aiming to promote high level youth windsurfing around the world. Each host port will showcase two days of spectacular close-quarters windsurfing competition, using the very latest Olympic RS:X equipment provided by manufacturer Neil Pryde.

Racing is divided into separate divisions for boys and girls. To earn their place on the RS:X Youth Stopover Tour, all the competing board sailors have previously qualified via national trials in the host port country.

In conjunction with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) the Academy also operates a clinic to train umpires from the host country. Delegates receive both classroom and on the water tuition from a team of ISAF accredited international umpires led by Academy chief coach Chris Atkins.

Academy Team Racing takes place on the weekend before the in-port race and leg start at each of the ports. Prior to the team racing competition the sailors receive expert coaching on team racing technique.

Alicante hosts the Iberdrola In-Port Race on October 29, before the six-boat Volvo Ocean Race fleet sets off on the first leg on November 5.

The grand final of Alicante’s Academy Team Racing came down to a single deciding race between Real Club Náutico Torrevieja and Club Náutico Alicante Costa Blanca. Alicante Costa Blanca prevailed in that decisive final heat to claim the title.

The final element of the Academy is Wisdom's Ocean Zone, an opportunity for all participants to learn about the environmental issues facing the world’s oceans through a powerful short movie created by the environmental artist group Skeleton Sea.

Told from the viewpoint of a baby albatross, the hard hitting and thought provoking film lays out the impact that individual behaviour has on the oceans and their marine life.

Academy participants are also given the chance to work with the Skeleton Sea artists on the creation of a special piece of art to be placed on permanent display at the Race Village site. For more information visit Volvo Ocean Race Academy.

Volvo Ocean Race website