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Opening day of racing at the 2016 420 World Championships in Sanremo, Italy, where 14 Irish sailors are competing, did not quite live up to expectations as the breeze failed to kick in.

The Race Committee chanced their luck and sent the 420 Open and 420 Ladies out to the race tracks off Marina degli Aregai, but the zephyrs of breeze failed to convert and any hope of racing was abandoned.

In contrast and exceeding expectations however, is the huge strength of fleets competing. An all-time record has been set at the 2016 420 World Championships of 524 sailors facing each other on the race track. Fleet splits are:
• 420 Open - 110 teams from 22 nations
• 420 Ladies - 84 teams from 21 nations
• 420 U17 - 68 entries from 18 nations

In an attempt to get racing back on schedule, the schedule for Tuesday 20 July is three races for all fleets, with the first starts scheduled for 1000 hours.

CHAMPIONSHIP OPENS
After three days of measurement and registration, yesterday's Opening Ceremony saw the 420 Worlds officially unveiled and parade of nations arrive in Baden Powell Square at the heart of San Stefano, a short distance east of Marina degli Aregai where the Worlds are taking place.

The racing schedule features 12 races for each fleet, with the 420 Open and 420 Ladies split into yellow and blue to race a 6 race qualifying and 6 race final series, with the 68 boat U17 fleet racing a 12 race single series.

420 OPEN
Featuring 110 teams from 22 nations, the 420 Open fleet will be a battleground for the world’s best junior 420 talent. Most of the teams are male, with a few mixed male/female teams in the line-up, reflecting the accessibility of the class.

The leaderboard is all open, with only a handful of teams who made an appearance in last year’s World Championship top ten leaderboard returning for another shot at the podium. Japan won gold last year, but with that partnership now advanced to Olympic 470 class sailing, the favourites must be the USA’s Wiley Rogers/Jack Parkin.

This punishingly accurate team won the 2015 420 Junior Europeans off the back of their bronze medal at the 2015 420 Worlds, and has won plentiful honours since. Rogers/Parkin has dominated at every 420 event they have contested recently, including last month’s Kieler Woche which featured over 160 teams in the 420 fleet. Add to that the experience they have gained since transitioning to the 470 Class, their Olympic steed of choice, so no question they are on a mission to seize the gold medal and wrap up their competitive 420 Class careers in style.

Also featuring in the line-up are the 4th and 10th placed finishers from 2015, Greece’s Vasilios Gourgiotis/Orestis Batsis and France’s Maxime Pedron who is now racing with Ange-Loup Stimbre.

Looking to boost their profile and stepping up to senior fleet racing in the Open fleet are all three of the podium finishing teams from last year’s U17 fleet. Each is capable of mounting a credible bid for the Championship, with U17 420 World gold medallists, Edoardo Ferraro/Francesco Orlando from home nation, Italy headlining the charge. Since their convincing win last year, the pair has proved themselves worthy of the senior fleet challenge, counting top 10 results at all recent events contested.

Also well up in the mix are a prevalence of reigning National 420 Class Champions. Brazil’s André Fiuza/Marcelo Peek to New Zealand’s Josh Berry/Henry Haslett, Portugal’s Diogo Coasta/Pedro Costa to Spain’s Marc Llado/Antoni Massanet and Switzerland’s Maxime Bachelin/Arno de Planta - have all proved themselves more than capable of National Championship glory. Will they make the grade for a World Championship podium finish?

420 LADIES
All change in the 420 Ladies fleet and an open race card with only three of last year’s top ten placing teams returning for another shot at podium glory. Mano Udagawa/Mino Ohashi (JPN) who finished 7th, Sofia Giondi/Giulia Gatta (ITA) who finished 9th and tenth placed Margot Vennin/Marie Zugolaro (FRA) will be intent on an upgrade, as the fleet dynamic changes this year.

Don’t overlook the fact that 2014 420 Ladies World Champions, Carlotta Omari/Francesco Russo Cirillo, who now compete in separate partnerships have all the depth of experience required to claim control of the leaderboard. 2016 Italian 420 National Champion, Omari is racing with Matilda Di Stefano, whilst Cirillo has switched to helming and teamed up with Alice Linussi. Both teams hold the advantage of many days of pre-Championship training on the same waters as the 420 Worlds – so you can expect a fiery assault from both teams when racing kicks off tomorrow.

As in the 420 Open, there are numerous podium leading ladies team more than capable of dominating the race track. Winners of the British Youth Nationals, Isabel Davies/Gemma Keers, Evaggelia Drouga / Eua Maria Vardali (GRE) who won Athens Eurolymp Week and many more top class 420 ladies teams have all the ingredients to make this a battle to the end.

420 U17
Introduced for the first time in 2015, the 16 years and under division offers younger 420 sailors the opportunity to measure up against rivals in their own age group. A critical performance pathway as younger teams advance into senior careers, boosted by their competitiveness against similar aged rivals.

More than double the number of entries, 68 teams in 2016 compared to 33 in 2015, will contest this division, as the 420 Class’ young raw talent faces off in a battle of wills.

Amongst the many names to watch are Violette Dorange/Camille Orio (FRA) who stamped their intent, by finishing 2nd overall last week in the 85 boat 420 fleet at the keenly contested French 420 National Championships.

Published in 420
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The 2016 420 World Championships opened last night in San Remo, Italy. This year sees the largest ever number of competitors (256) with three competing fleets, Open, Ladies and Under 17.
14 sailors are representing Ireland at the event, Cliodhna Ni Shuilleabhain and Niamh Doran (KYC/CSC), Gemma and Cara McDowell (MYC), Kate Lyttle and Niamh Henry (RSGYC), Geoff Power and James McCann(WHSC / RCYC), Shane McLoughlin and Patrick Whyte (HYC / MSC), Ronan Cournane and Ben Walsh (KYC / SSC) and Douglas Elmes and Colin O'Sullivan (HYC), supported by coaches Ross Killian and Graeme Grant.
The Opening Ceremony was held last night and racing begins today, continuing until Saturday 23rd. Results will be available from the event website 

Ireland had success in the dinghy at world youth level in January, winning a bronze medal in Malaysia.

Published in 420
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Champion youth sailor Harry Durcan of Royal Cork took a swim during heavy weather training at last week's 420 dinghy training camp in Schull, West Cork. The near miss between the two 420s was captured on video and can be seen below.

Following on from the Schull session, the next 420 training will take place in Cork Harbour on March 5th. The training will be led by Ross Killian, ISA National Coach with an assistant coach on the water. Cost will be €50 per sailor/€100 per boat for the weekend, which will go ahead subject to a minimum of 4 boats.

 
 
Published in 420

The Irish 420 class will stage its  2016 Munster Championships and open coaching session at Schull Sailing Centre during the February Mid-Term break.

Coaching will take place from Saturday 13th (registration only) to Tuesday16th February with Ross Killian - ISA National Coach - leading the coaching team. The Munster Championships will take place on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th.

The Committee are currently looking at accommodation options and will announce full details of both events in the coming days.

Published in 420
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As a vehicle sport dominated by weather conditions, sailing can be difficult enough to explain to the outside world. But when you factor in the constantly changing situation which is youth sailing, where crew dynamics of size, weight and attitude can change with bewildering rapidity, it becomes very complex indeed.

Yet despite the inevitable fluidity, Ireland has long had a vibrant youth sailing scene. And it’s on a roll right now, with the Irish crew of Doug Elmes and Colin O’Sullivan returning this week from the Youth Worlds on the other side of the planet with a Bronze Medal in the 420, while the bonus is that all of the team of four came home from the championship with very solid performances recorded. Liam Glynn returned with 15th out of a fleet of 66 in the Laser Radial Boys, while Aisling Keller was tenth out of 55, also in Laser Radial. W M Nixon tries to capture the mood of the moment, and the machinations behind the 420 crew’s special success.

It could well be that there was only a window of opportunity of maybe six months or even less in which Doug Elmes of Kilkenny and Colin O’Sullivan of Malahide could have been realistically in the frame for a podium place racing the 420 in the Youth Sailing World at Langkawi in Malaysia in the final week of 2015.

The 420 is a gallant little boat, but young sailors outgrow them very quickly. And then before you know it, they’re too old anyway. Elmes, who is now 17, and O’Sullivan, who will become 17 in March, have known each other, and got on well together, since they first met while racing Optimists when aged eleven. But it wasn’t automatic that they should team up to sail 420s, instead of choosing the usual solo junior sailing career path of going on to maybe a year or two in Toppers, and then on into the Laser.

Sailing pundits bewail the fact that our junior sailing is dominated by single-handed boats. But the logistics of campaigning a two-person boat on the national and international circuit at junior level are extremely challenging. The most basic problem is that neither crewmember will have a driving licence. Thus they’re totally reliant on family or organisational support for boat movement, and in the end it almost invariably means that two families will be totally involved.

The level of mutual goodwill required across the generations and between at least two households is extremely high, so it’s not surprising that ISA Coach Ross Killian – he marks ten years as a fulltime sailing coach this year – reckons that a realistic figure for the Irish 420 fleet with genuine potential hovers around the 15 mark, and the going is good when the number of serious participants gets up to 20 boats.

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A sailing paradise. The Portuguese and Turkish crews revelling in the perfect 420 sailing conditions at Langkawi.

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The paradise island provided one problem - getting the boats delivered there had a significant “Just In Time” aspect.

In such a small fleet, inevitably the volunteer administrative work will fall to a few. You get a notion of the compact size of the national operation when you realize that the Irish President is John Elmes of Waterford Harbour SC in Dunmore East, who also happens to be Doug Elmes’ father, while the Class Secretary is Joan O’Sullivan of Malahide who – you’ve guessed it – is Colin O’Sullivan’s mum.

Yet as regular Afloat.ie watchers will be well aware, on Tuesday when the successful team returned to a rapturous welcome in Dublin Airport, the 420 crew found themselves immediately wrapped in the tricolour and the Howth YC burgee, and it’s in the Howth club tomorrow that they’ll be officially welcomed home.

This neatly illustrates the fact that the Irish 420 focal point is a moveable feast. For now at any rate, it’s Howth which happens to be providing the national centre. It is currently coming up with the numbers, and in club coach Graeme Grant it has one very talented individual who inspires the young people to reach the level at which they can be taken under Ross Killian’s wing for the international circuit.

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Colin O’Sullivan holds the mast in place as the 420s are rigged and Doug Elmes turns his skills to sorting a technical problem on the boat, which was delivered to the venue at the last moment. Photo: Ross Killian

But it’s a matter of catching the talent when all the stars have the potential to be in alignment, and in the final analysis it’s the young crews themselves who have to show the spark that will be fanned into the flame of success.

Of the successful crew, it was Colin O’Sullivan who first felt the 420 urge. He remembers it very well. He was thirteen-and-a-half at the time, and though he could have had another couple of years with the Optimists, he was growing tall, and so he got involved with 420 sailing, crewing for Ewan McMahon of Howth.

Meanwhile Doug Elmes – who had been concentrating on sailing Optimists at Crosshaven with the RCYC - was soon feeling the same way, and he in turn teamed up to move on to 420 racing with Bill Staunton of Skerries, which tells us something of the truly national nature of Optimist racing.

But when we look at the 420 in detail, it’s to realise that while she’s a very serviceable little boat, the fact that she’s precisely and only 4.2 metres long makes it inevitable that with today’s bigger and faster-growing youngsters, their 420 compatibility period can be very brief indeed, and they have to keep an eye out for potential new crewmates.

Thus when MacMahon and Staunton outgrew the 420, Elmes and O’Sullivan decided to become a crew, and their debut together was at Wexford in September 2014. They’ve been fine-tuning their act ever since, with the busy little class at Howth providing the stage, and they make for a very balanced duo in a boat which is central to world youth sailing.

The virtue of the 420 is that she’s as small and economical as you can get while still having the crew on a trapeze. The boat has been around for more than half a century now, having been designed by Christian Maury to a specification devised by the chief instructors at a sailing school in southwest France. But as she’s one of those boats that looks much better when fully alive and sailing well than she does on the plans, it took a long time in the 1970s before anyone in Ireland would accept the contention, put forward by Sean Clune of the National YC, that the 420 was the only way to go for Irish junior sailing.

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The International 420 is one of those boats which looks better when she’s sailing (below) than she does on the plans (above)

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But for those young people who wanted a boat which was minimum hassle to maintain yet providing a proper grown-up sailing experience, the 420 was the future here and now, and it has the advantage of being family-friendly in that, though you’ll need the help of your folks to get the boat to a championship destination, they won’t have to shell out on a 4X4 for a towing vehicle, while it has long been a class tradition that at major international events, the host nation has to provide boats.

So all you have to do is provide the talent and the dedication……Well, there’s more to it than that, of course. But for now, let’s just celebrate the fact that a young sailor from Ireland’s only significant inland town which is not an official waterways port, teamed up moreover with another young sailor who learned his skills on the unique Broadmeadow Water at Malahide, has done the business on the sunny seas of southeast Asia with coolness and style.

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The job done – with their Bronze Medal secured, Doug & Colin get together with coach Ross Killian.

It was classic stuff. As Graeme Grant says of their development: “They have been always improving results and skills through dedication and hard work”. And as Ross Killian attests: “They’re just so cool under pressure, and they balance each other”.

As Colin O’Sullivan loyally asserts, it’s Doug Elmes who is the techno-genius. They arrived in the island of Langkawi to find paradise and perfect sailing conditions – but no boats. There’d been a foul-up in the fleet delivery schedule. The boats arrived at the last minute, so the trial race was the very first sail. But Doug was in his element putting it all together, and their boat was as race prepared as any in the fleet.

As the series progressed, it came down to the wire for the Bronze Medal between Ireland and Australia. In the crucial race, it was the Australian coach who commented to Ross Killian on the stylish coolness of the Irish crew, and watched in open-mouthed admiration as Elmes carried off a mark-rounding with such skill that he picked up three places at a stroke.

bron9They may have won Bronze, but copious use of sunblock meant the Irish crew were distinctly un-bronzed when they got home to Dublin Airport. Photo: W M Nixon

Thereafter, the commentators on the shared coach-boat were favourably impressed by the way the Irish kept the race and their place under quiet yet total control, avoiding the temptation to throw everything away by being unnecessarily greedy.

The day after their return to Ireland, we spoke with Colin O’Sullivan after he’d done some serious catching-up on sleep, yet with typical dedication had dragged himself out into the winter night for his routine session at the gym. The big question with a crew of two is how much they talk during a race. The answer in this case is that since teaming up less than 18 months ago, the Elmes-O’Sullivan crew have upped the talk level with every event, yet it has become more focused each time out. “At Langkawi, we were exchanging information all the time, the talk was constant” says O’Sullivan with a chuckle, “but you definitely wouldn’t call it chat”.

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At the conclusion of a good Youth Worlds for Ireland are (left to right) Liam Glynn, Doug Elmes, Aisling Keller, Colin O’Sullivan and Ross Killian.

bron11Bringing it all back home. In Dublin Airport are (left to right) Ross McDonald (Howth YC), Doug Elmes, Colin O’Sullivan and Berchmans Gannon (Commodore, Howth YC). Photo: W M Nixon

Published in W M Nixon

Howth Yacht Club's Douglas Elmes (17) and Colin O'Sullivan (16) have won a bronze medal for Ireland at the World Youth Sailing Championships that concluded in Malaysia today. The Irish National Champions sailed a consistent series in the 420 dinghy that saw them edge out a top Australian pairing in the closing stage of the nine race regatta to take Ireland's first double–handed world youth medal in 19 years. 

Irish celebrations started as soon as the boys hit the beach in Langkawi to toast the result that equals the ISAF double handed bronze won by Laura Dillon and Ciara Peelo in the Laser II dinghy two decades ago. In another boost for Irish youth sailing, it is the third youth medal in four years for Ireland with Laser sailors Finn Lynch and Seafra Guilfoyle winning world silver in 2012 and 2014 respectively.

Strong breezes swept the pair to the top of the fleet at the early stages in the competition, stunning some of their international competition but there was no surprise in the Irish camp when the on form duo moved into third overall on Wednesday after four races. They leap–frogged last year's Singaporean gold medallist Singapore's Jia Yi Loh, now sailing with Matthew Lau, in fourth to include a well earned win in race three. Although they dropped to fourth and on equal points wih Brazil in race seven, a race eight disqualification for the Aussies, Alec Brodie and Xavier Winston Smith, handed a bronze opportunity – and a possible silver too – to Ireland.

In the end, Gold went to American's Will Logue and Bram Brakman with a race to spare, the silver medal went to Brazil's Leonardo Lombardi and Rodrigo Luz, as they had a third in the last race, to finish on 37 points.

Elmes and O'Sullivan held off a late fight back in race nine from the Australian's and Argentina's Felipe Martinez, Autin Diniz and Ivan Aranguren, to claim bronze on 46 points. The Australian's scored a ninth and finished on 48 points and the Argentinian's took a bullet for 49 points. Elmes and O'Sullivan (below) finished 11th in the final race but had some breathing space going into the day, just enough to ensure Ireland was not going to be denied its long overdue double–handed medal.

colin osullivan Douglas elmesDouglas Elmes (left) and Colin O'Sullivan World Youth Sailing Bronze medal winners in the 420 dinghy

As David O'Brien reported in the Irish Times reported last Friday, the Irish Leaving certificate students left for Malaysia on a high note this month when they won an end of season UK regatta to put them in top gear ahead of their Youth Worlds debut. It's not the only season success either; Elmes from Kilkenny and O'Sullivan from Malahide, now sailing together for 15 months, made a clean sweep of the Irish calendar, taking all four regional championships.

The former Optimist sailors also took a strong fifth place at Kiel week international regatta in Germany in June and – despite a broken toe later in the Summer – made the international qualification for this week's Youth Worlds in Japan at the 420 Worlds.

In addition to the 420 success, Irish sailors Aisling Keller and Liam Glynn had excellent results in the stiffest of competitions. In the Girls Laser Radial class, Lough Derg's Keller finished strongly to earn a 10th place overall - the best result in a generation of youth females. Glynn finished the event strongly and jumped back into the top 15.

The sailors are now preparing for the closing ceremony in Langkawi. Spot the Irish team top left in this video from the venue below:

Published in Youth Sailing

Langkawi has served up some exceptional breeze for the first three days of competition at the ISAF Youth Worlds putting the three competing Irish boats in the top 25% of their respective fleets. 

There were top five results all round for the Irish yesterday. Lough Derg's Aisling Keller took a 3 moving her up to 11th in the girls radial, Ballyholme's Liam Glynn had a 4 and is in 14th in the boys Radial, and Doug Elmes & Colin O'Sullivan had two 5's and drop from third to fourth in the 420.

There is no racing tomorrow and lighter winds Saturday and Sunday so it's going to be a very interesting finish. 

In a break from the norm, winds and storms dropped in and out on day three of the 45th Youth Sailing World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia.

On a day when the winds were predicted to drop below the 20 knots the record 425 sailors had come accustomed to, it was the varying winds that kept everyone on there toes as the storms that threatened never fully materialized.

There were changes at the top of the leaderboards as more perfect days, and some not so perfect, were scored by the ever adapting youth sailors in a topsy turvy day.

Published in Youth Sailing
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After the first two races of the first day of the Youth World Championships in Malaysia two of three Irish boats are in the top ten of their respective fleets. Howth Yacht Club's Doug Elmes and Colin O'Sullivan counted a 3,13 and are lying 7 out of 33. Ballyholme's Lase sailor Liam Glynn took an 8 and 11 and are lying 8th out of 65. Aisling Keller from Lough Derg Yacht Club in Tipperary has 19, 15 and is lying 16 out of 48.

Day one began with a full on wind to greet the sailors for the first races of the 45th Youth Sailing World Championships.
Laser radial and RS:X were the first fleets back ashore after facing the gusting wind that was hitting 20 knots on the race areas.

With everyone trying to get off to a flyer to set up their tilt at a gold medal, today was reserved for the few who liked the stronger winds that Langkawi had to offer for it's first racing day.

Laser Radial

Returning to the Youth Worlds after finishing fifth in Tavira, Portugal last year, Australia's Alistair Young got off to a great start with a bullet in the first race and a fourth in the second to sit on top of the leaderboard after the first day of racing.

Obviously wanting to push in to the medal places, the Aussie was happy to have strong wind to start of the regatta, conditions which the youngster enjoys, "It started off pretty windy, about 20 knots in the first race and pretty choppy. I managed to do alright though. I picked the shifts and sailed fast and won the race which was great to calm the nerves first race in."

Calm the nerves it has as he looks at the days to follow and the possible drop in knots that could come, "We may get some lighter winds so it will be shiftier so we will all get some bigger scores, so the drops will be needed later on. I prefer the stronger winds but I don't mind to be honest. What you get is what you get so you just have to go out there and do what you can in the conditions that are there."

The second winner of the day was Finland's Oskari Muhonen, who was also at Tavira with Young, so experience in the regatta came to the fore. The Finnish sailor's bullet followed a ninth and leaves him laying in fourth overall.

Ecuador's Matias Dyck must have been feeling happy and confident going in to the second race after finishing just behind Young in race one. That was short lived though when he was one of nine sailors to be black flagged out of race two. The Ecuadorian will be looking to drop that from his scorecard with some good sailing for the rest of the regatta.

USA's Nicholas Baird and New Zealand's George Gautrey finished near the top of the order in both races to sit in second and third respectively.

In the girl's section, the top five is held by Europe with Poland's Magdalena Kwasna currently in pole position on six points thanks to a bullet and fifth place. With a ninth place finish in Tavira, Portugal, it would seem that just like the boy's fleet, experience in this event is paying off on the first day.

Sitting just behind in second is Hungary's Maria Erdi who somehow seems to defy her age with an attitude and outlook of a seasoned competitor. Despite making mistakes throughout both races, Erdi never let it get to her as she says with her ever present smile, "I'm happy with my results but I did make some mistakes. I was leading in the first race quite a lot in the first upwind and then I capsized twice in the first downwind so I dropped back to fifth. But I managed to come back to finish third.

"In the second race it was quite tricky, I think I was about tenth around the first mark but managed to move up and finished fifth."

So how does a sailor at the Youth Worlds handle the mistakes? Simply it would seem for the young Hungarian, "I tried to forget about the first race at the second start and I had a clear head. But it's only the first day so anything can happen."

Even with self-confessed mistakes, Erdi sits in second, joint on eight points with Germany's Hannah Anderssohn who had a steady day with two fourth place finishes.

Taking the first bullet of the day was New Zealand's Alexandra Nightingale who couldn't carry the form through to the second race where she finished 19th. Nightingale currently sits in tenth place overall with those two results.

The 45th edition of the Youth Sailing World Championships has been declared open by World Sailing Vice President Chris Atkins at the opening ceremony in Langkawi, Malaysia.

During the ceremony, 425 sailors, 125 coaches and officials from a record 76 countries paraded towards the Astaka of the Lagenda Park with their national flags waving for all to see.

The event breaks all previous numbers in terms of participation and number of nations. The previous best of 67, achieved at the 2014 event in Tavira, Portugal, was easily surpassed with a number of new and returning nations in Malaysia.

Racing continues through to 3 January 2016 where nine Youth World Sailing Champions will be crowned.

Published in Youth Sailing

Although a record number of 76 nations have registered to sail at the 45th Youth Sailing World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia but today's opening ceremony looks set to be marred by a dispute over Israeli participation that has hit the international news headlines.

Ireland is represented in the boys 420 dinghy and also in the male and female laser class.

A statement from the Israel Sailing Federation says organisers of the competition in Malaysia conditioned the participation of Israeli athletes at the World Championships for Youth compete without an Israeli flag without symbols associated with the state of Israel on clothing and sailboards and forbid playing the Israeli national anthem on the podium of winning medals in the event, as well as the imposition of confidential communications on Israel's participation in the event.

Gili Amir added, "Malaysian demands are unacceptable and since that we did not get the Visas we decided not to participate. We condemn the anti-athlete conduct of the organizing committee of the competition. We will not accept being humiliated and we look to make a claim against the Malaysian Yachting Authority in coordination with the IOC Israel."

* Statement from ISAF

World Sailing is aware of recent news articles regarding Israel's attendance at the upcoming Youth Sailing World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia.

World Sailing has been in liaison with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Malaysian Olympic Committee, the Israel Sailing Federation and the Organising Authority of the 2015 Youth Sailing World Championships to grant Israeli sailors and coaches entry into Malaysia for the event.

Israeli sailors were granted entry by the Malaysian Authorities under certain conditions that competitors sailing in Langkawi have to adhere to. World Sailing were informed on 24 December by the Israeli Sailing Federation of their decision not to send representatives in the Boys and Girls windsurfing events in Langkawi.

A total of 425 sailors will compete across the nine fleets at the Youth Worlds with racing scheduled to commence at 10:00 local time on 29 December following tonight's (28 December) Opening Ceremony at Lagenda Park.

The Youth Worlds Continues until 3 January.

Published in Youth Sailing
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There are two meanings of the word open when it comes to sailing writes Richard Aspland. You have 'open' which is both male and female in the same fleet racing against each other. Then you have the kind of open that we have in the 420 at the 2015 Youth Sailing World Championships. Wide open.

Usually in a regatta you can hedge your bets and say who will give you a good show and be up and around the medals. In Langkawi, Malaysia we have been previewing the other classes and we have done it ourselves. But the 420 is really going to be an opportunity for someone to throw their hand up and say 'that medal is ours'.

Ireland will be represented by boys team Douglas Elmes and Colin O'Sullivan who are in flying form.

From the 24 girls teams competing, there are very few returning competitors. Looking back through the Tavira, Portugal 2014 Youth Worlds 420 results, you have to head down to sixth to find a girls returnee. Carmina Malsch from Chile will be looking to better her finish last time out with new helm Renatta Parodi.

2014 winners Spain and silver medallists Israel don't have a team attending this year in the 420 girls but the third placed Polish team do. In the guise of Julia Szmit and Hanna Dzik, they would need to carry on where their predecessors Ewa Romaniuk and Katarzyna Goralska left off.

The only full pair to return to the girls 420 fleet are Australian's Nia Jerwood and Lisa Smith. Australia left Cyprus 2013 with a gold medal in the bag, but Jerwood and Smith couldn't quite hit those heights and finished ninth in their 2014 Youth Worlds outing. Surely they will be determined to improve on that result and using their experience must fancy their chances against a field of Youth World newcomers.

In home waters, Malaysian pair Khairun Hanna Afendy and Siti Nur Norulakhairi will be looking to use their local knowledge as they try to break in to the top 10 following an 11th place finish in Tavira 2014.

Historically, France have won the most 420 medals at the Youth Worlds, but it will be up to girls Jessie Kampman and Anael Ponthieu to continue that tradition as there is no French boys team entered.

And to the boys section, there is a little bit more to go on than the girls. Current Youth Worlds gold medallist Singapore's Jia Yi Loh will be looking to keep up his winning ways, but will have to do it with new crew Matthew Lau in the 32 boat fleet.

Winning their first ever 420 medal in the last edition, Malaysia will be hoping to go one better, and have pinned their hopes on new pair Muhamad Mohd Yusof and Naquib Shahrin. Again the duo will be hoping home waters tip the balance in their favour and they can keep one of the nine gold medals in Langkawi in their home nation at the end of the competition.

Another one to watch will be Japan's Kataro Matsuo. He finished third as crew last time out, but has now made the switch to helm. His new crew Takumi Miura will be looking to his partner for encouragement and experience of the event, and both will be hoping a change medal of colour is on the horizon.

Sailors will start to arrive at the Langkawi venue on 27 December where they will receive the supplied equipment from Ovington, UpMarine, Nautivela, Sirena Voile, Neil Pryde and Laser Performance/Maclaren.

From there, the 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.

Published in 420
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