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Dun Laoghaire to host ISAF Youth Worlds

27th November 2008

The Irish Times breaks the news this morning that Ireland will play host to the ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships in Dun Laoghaire from 12-21 July 2012.

300 sailors from 60 nations accompanied by 50 national coaches will compete in Dun Laoghaire for 7 days of competitive racing in Dublin Bay. The bid to host the event was made to ISAF (the world governing body for the sport of sailing) by the Royal St George Yacht Club on behalf of the Irish Sailing Association.  Because of the scale, this major sailing championship will be hosted by the Royal St George and National yacht clubs which are located adjacent to each other in Dun Laoghaire.

The Dun Laoghaire bid received strong Government support from Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Sport Arts and Tourism and from Mary Hanafin TD, Minister for Social & Family Affairs.

The granting of this prestigious sailing event to Ireland is a major boost to the sport and secures Ireland’s position as a prime location for hosting worldclass sailing events. It also establishes Dun Laoghaire as one of the prime major racing locations in the world, capable of running multiple classes and courses to the highest international standard.  

‘This event is of major interest to Ireland, will be a great boost to Dun Laoghaire in particular and is likely to receive widespread support from the local community. Young people from participating teams will receive a warm welcome and have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills to the best of their ability with the excellent shore facilities and challenging sailing conditions.’ stated Mary Hanafin

The Youth World Sailing Championships are viewed as the ‘Youth Olympics’ and the next most important event to the Olympic Games. The majority of sailors who compete in the Olympics have previously competed in the Youth Worlds and many of the greatest stars in the sailing world such as Ben Ainslie and Russell Coutts came to attention at the Youth Worlds.

The hosting of this event will give impetus to youth watersports programmes nationwide. Racing will be in four different dinghy classes (Lasers, 420’s, 29ers and multihulls) and in addition windsurfing is also included in the championships.  With four years to prepare youths, who will be under 19 years in 2012, will have time to prepare and train to participate in qualification programmes in the run up to the event.

‘The real interest of Dun Laoghaire in securing the event is to harness youth potential in the country and help develop a racing & coaching programme that will lead to success in 2012 which then becomes a stepping stone to the Olympics in future years. Our main objective is to get an Irish sailor on the podium in Dun Laoghaire in 2012.’ Stated Brian Craig, Event Chairman

Competitive sailing has never been stronger in Ireland.  Currently the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 sees Irish worldclass sailors such as Justin Slattery, Damian Foxall and Ian Moore competing onboard the Irish-Chinese entry Green Dragon. During 2009 Galway will host the Volvo Ocean Race from 21 May to 06 June with the best of the world’s ocean sailors competing for valuable points in the inport racing in Galway Bay. This will be followed in July by over 500 boats competing in Volvo Dun Laoghaire week. It is hoped that the exposure of worldclass sailing combined with structured training programmes will inspire junior sailors to achieve at the 2012 ISAF Youth Worlds Championships and subsequently go on to compete successfully at future Olympic Games.

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