As nearly 400 sailors descend on Zadar, Croatia for the 41st ISAF Youth World Championships, representatives of Dublin Bay, the 2012 ISAF Youth Worlds hosts will be on site in Croatia to learn all they can, having recently had a welcome nod of approval from ISAF's Fiona Kidd following her visit to Irish waters. Andi Robertson Reports.
"From what I saw things look to be very much ideal. It is new to us to have the competition spread across three different, adjoining clubs but I am sure that will work well. One yacht club is where the race management is centralised and it is all very manageable from there." Explained Kidd who chaired the ISAF Youth World Championships Sub Committee for eight years and has been involved with the championships since 1994.
"The launching facilities look good enough, boat parking is good everything there in terms of the physical plant all looked good. The accommodation is centralised and directly across the street from the boat park which the athletes really appreciate. It is excellent."
"But the success of these championships is very much down to volunteers and already we can see that there is a really great group of people. I had a tour of all the yacht clubs and they seemed really motivated, excited by the prospect and looking forward to it. I left feeling that it is all in very good hands."
"You have to remember that this event is really unique. It is likened to a mini Olympics and we emphasize that to host venues. At a class championships the sailors book their travel, accommodation bring their boats pay their money and go racing. This event I tell the organisers that from the minute they step off the plane until they go home you are responsible for around 500 sailors, you have to house them, feed them, provide top class racing and make sure they are always safe. Logistically it is big, and so the more volunteers to make it go smoothly, the better." Continues Kidd,
"On top of that it has to feel like something special, something different. So there is strict accreditation and access to the boat park, all modelled on the Olympics. It's important for the sailors it feels different and you don't have anyone wandering around the boat park. It has to feel special. They all have to work hard to qualify to be there, so it needs to feel different."
"The event has grown, now there are between 58 and 60 nations and more than ever the big nations like Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, France, GBR send full teams and it has become the real launch pad for young sailors."
"It has been great to meet the organising teams for 2012, it really gives you a sense of who's doing what and I have a very good feeling about the event already."
"There will be a lot to learn this coming week in Zadar. For the first time ever we are having to split the 420's into flights and rotate them, and the accommodation is quite spread out there, and so we are hoping that it should all be made straightforward next year."
Often a successful ISAF Youth World Championships are the platform for a successful bid to host the ISAF Sailing World Championships, and Kidd confirms that a good Youth Worlds would set Irish sailing in good stead were they to look to hosting the Olympic classes ISAF Worlds in the future:
"Of the eight bids which were made for the ISAF World Championships four had hosted the ISAF Youth Worlds and all would be very capable of hosting the ISAF World Championships."