Youth worlds look set to return in 2021

The Tokyo Olympics looks set to go ahead in July and the signs are positive the youth sailing world championships will also be staged in 2021 after last year’s event was cancelled.

The youth worlds is the pinnacle regatta for youth sailors and is run along similar lines to the Olympics, with only one representative from each country in each class. New Zealand has a proud history in the event, having collected 55 medals since the first youth sailing world championships in 1971.

Mussanah, Oman, will host the youth sailing world championships from December 8-15, 2021, subject to the confirmation of contractual arrangements and lifting of travel restrictions.

“We are thrilled to hear that World Sailing are committed to potentially holding the youth worlds this year,” Yachting New Zealand talent development manager Geoff Woolley said. “It’s exciting for Yachting New Zealand, the sailors and their supporters to have a significant international event to target.

“New Zealand has a good record of success at the youth worlds and it’s a valuable stepping stone for some to move on to higher levels of sailing. There’s still a lot to figure out with travel restrictions and what it will mean once people are vaccinated but we are nimble and really excited to move if we can.”

Last year’s event was due to be held in Brazil in December but was cancelled due to Covid-19, the first time the event wasn’t staged in its 50-year history. 

Yachting New Zealand still selected an NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team off the back of the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Championships last October and a number of coaching and training opportunities were put in place, including a youth camp in Tutukaka, to help build the strength and depth within the youth classes.

“The work the sailors and coaches have been putting in at home has been hugely valuable and, with continued quality domestic racing, we can emerge in a strong position when we return to international racing,” Woolley said. 

This year’s New Zealand team will be selected after the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Championships at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club on October 3-6.

Before that, however, many will compete at next month’s Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta at the Wakatere Boating Club, this country’s premier Olympic and youth classes regatta.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing this country’s top youth sailors compete next month and to working with them over the winter in our Aon youth programme,” Woolley said.

By Yachting New Zealand.

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