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Light Winds Predicted as Four Irish Sailors Prepare for 50th Edition of Youth Sailing World Championships in Oman

9th December 2021
Irish Radial champion Royal Cork's Jonathan O'Shaughnessy is one of four Irish sailors in Oman
Irish Radial champion Royal Cork's Jonathan O'Shaughnessy is one of four Irish sailors in Oman Credit: Bob Bateman

The seaside resort of Mussanah in Oman is ready to host the world’s best young sailors when the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships commences on 11 December.

A total of 433 sailors from 56 nations are entered in 11 youth events including the Male and Female divisions of the 29er Skiff, 420 Two Person Dinghy, ILCA 6 One Person Dinghy along with the Mixed Two Person Multihull, the Nacra 15. New additions to the class line-up are Male and Female categories in Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+ and Kiteboarding FormulaKite.

As Afloat's WM Nixon reported on Saturday, Ireland is represented by a team of fourEve McMahon (Howth YC) in the ILCA6, Jonathan O’Shaughnessy (Royal Cork YC) ILCA6, and Ben O’Shaughnessy & James Dwyer (RCYC) in the 29er. All are well aware of the weight of expectation on their young shoulders, though all are at the peak of impressive year-long achievements.

Eve McMahon of Howth YCEve McMahon of Howth YC Photo: Bob Bateman

This year is the 50th edition of this prestigious competition, with racing taking place from 11-17 December and is the first Youth Worlds since July 2019, due to COVID-19 restrictions. Hosted at the Barceló Mussanah Resort in Mussanah, the local organising team at Oman Sail have been getting plenty of high-level regatta practice in recent weeks. The 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships took place here less than a month ago, and the ILCA 6 Worlds have only just concluded at the beginning of December.

Ben O'Shaughnessy on the helm and James Dwyer on the wireRoyal Cork's Ben O'Shaughnessy on the helm and James Dwyer on the wire Photo: Bob Bateman

With light to moderate breezes expected, and daytime temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius, the sailors can look forward to excellent sailing conditions.

Principal race officer Marina Psychogyiou, a former competitor for Greece in the Radial (ILCA 6) single-hander, is looking forward to running a regatta for the sailors to remember: "Every sailor here at the Youth Worlds should feel very proud to be here, representing their country. Even if a sailor doesn’t finish as high up the results as they would like, they must still remember that they are here because they are the best sailor from their home nation. I wish all of them the very best of luck and we will do everything we can to make sure they enjoy the competition and take home great memories of Oman."

The 11 different events will test different aspects of the sport. From the highly tactical, boat-on-boat contest in the traditional dinghy classes, through to the ‘apparent wind’ driven multihull and skiffs which test balance and agility. The windsurfers require high levels of balance and aerobic fitness, while the fastest competitors on the water will be the kitefoilers, capable of peak speeds over 30 knots [55kmph | 35mph]. Having already proven themselves at the front of the senior fleet, the battle for supremacy in the brand new kitefoiling contest will be truly world class.

David Graham, CEO of World Sailing, commented: "It’s great to see such a strong entry for the Youth Sailing World Championships, thanks to the efforts that sailors and their national teams have made to travel to Oman under such challenging circumstances. At World Sailing, more than ever, we are placing a strong focus on promoting youth development, particularly among emerging nations. Anyone who has earned their place at the Youth Worlds is a shining inspiration to other young sailors around the world. I wish them all the very best for the coming week of friendly competition."

The official arrival day is this Saturday (11 December) although sailors have been arriving earlier in order to acclimatise and ensure they are best prepared. The Opening Ceremony officially welcomes the sailors on Sunday 12 December. Racing will commence on Monday 13 December and runs through to Friday 17 December when 11 new Youth World Champions will be crowned. Saturday 18 December is Departure Day, when competitors will hand back their supplied equipment and take the opportunity for some final goodbyes before flying home to different corners of the globe.

11 Events at the Youth Worlds, Ireland contesting three

Female Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+
Male Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+

Male Kiteboarding FormulaKite
Female Kiteboarding FormulaKite

Female Two Person Dinghy 420
Male/Mixed Two Person Dinghy 420

Female One Person Dinghy ILCA 6
Male One Person Dinghy ILCA 6

Male Skiff 29er
Female Skiff 29er

Mixed Two Person Multihull Nacra 15

Published in Youth Sailing
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