by Craig Heydon
With the 2011 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship being held this week in Zadar, Croatia, Australian sailors are aiming to make an impact. After competing in Germany and taking gold in two events, confidence is high in the team.
ISAF Youth Worlds
The 2011 Australian Youth Sailing Team features 12 sailors drawn from across the country who will race in eight classes at the highest profile youth regatta in the world.
The team arrived in Croatia earlier this week with the sailors taking the time to get acclimatised and spend as much time on the water as possible before racing begins.
The majority of the Australian Youth Sailing Team competed at Kieler Woche in Germany last week with the event a successful one for the Australians with Gold medals for the 420 boys crew Angus Galloway and Alex Gough, and 29er sailors Josh Franklin and Lewis Brake.
Galloway and Gough will be competing at their second straight ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship after finishing fifth in the 420 boys class in Turkey this time last year.
'We’ve had a good couple of days training here in Croatia and are really looking forward to getting into racing,' said Gough. 'The win in Germany last week was a good confidence booster, to know that we can match it with all of the good guys is great as we head into the Youth Worlds.
'Coming so close to a medal last year has put us into a good position for 2011 as we now know how much preparation is needed to win a medal,' he said.
Josh Franklin and Lewis Brake’s win in Germany was also a big boost for the pair in their first major international regatta together as they head into their first ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship.
Australia will be represented in the 420 girls class by Carrie Smith and Ella Clark who are also making their ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship debut in Croatia.
Australia’s open multihull crew of Paul Darmanin and Aleks Vucic will be competing in their first major international regatta together after only teaming up just prior to the 2011 OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championship.
Darmanin is returning for his second ISAF Youth World Championship after winning Gold in Turkey in 2010, since then having switched from crew to skipper and teaming up with Vucic. Vucic, who has a Croatian background, is looking forward to the opportunity to race in Zadar.
Ashley Stoddart heads to Croatia after a busy few months in Europe having competed at ISAF Sailing World Cup rounds in Holland, England and Germany. The Laser Radial girls class sailor, who competed at the Youth Worlds in Brazil in 2009 and finished sixth, had strong results in Holland and Germany, finishing seventh and 11th respectively, being the top ranked youth sailor at both events.
Matthew Wearn will race in the Laser Radial boys class and is competing at his first ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship. The West Australian also competed in Germany last week, his first major European regatta, where he finished 26th, and second youth.
Eamon Robertshaw heads to his second straight Youth Worlds after finishing 15th in the RS:X boys class in Turkey last year.
Sydney-based sailor Annalise Gilbert will represent Australia in the RS:X girls class at her first Youth Worlds.
Australian Youth Sailing Team head coach Belinda Stowell said that the team has settled into the Croatian lifestyle well and that all of the sailors are looking forward to getting into racing.
'We’ve got a terrific group of sailors here and the team is in good shape a couple of days out from racing,' said Stowell. 'The time so far here has been well spent and the team is starting to feel like locals.
'The good results in Germany last week has given confidence to the entire team, not just those who won medals, and it’s going to help them going into the Youth Worlds,' she said. 'We’ve had a couple of good days of training here in a range of wind conditions which has helped the team to be settled going into this regatta.'
The Australian Youth Sailing Team is also supported by experienced coaches Mike Fletcher and David Mann.
Racing begins in Croatia on Saturday July 9 and runs through until Friday July 16.
For more information on the Australian Youth Sailing Team visit;
Australian Youth Team Website