ISAF Youth Worlds - 420 sailors set sights on Rio 2016

by ISAF 
The Chileans at the 2013 ISAF Youth Worlds
ISAF Youth Worlds/Icarus sailing media
2013 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship medallists Tiago Brito (BRA) and Nadja Horwitz (CHI) have their eyes set on 420 Boys and Girls honours at the 2014 edition in Tavira, Portugal.

Brito won gold in 2013 with Andre Kneipp and will race in the 33-boat 420 Boys fleet whilst Horwitz took silver with 2014 crew Carmina Malsh and will sail in the 27 strong 420 Girls fleet.

When racing commences on 14 July 2014 the Brazilians and Chileans will be gunning for gold but both sailors have the Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds and Rio 2016 Olympic Games firmly in their sights.

Chile's Nadja Horwitz has been involved in every ISAF Youth Worlds since Istanbul, Turkey in 2010 and has made an improvement each year.

Sailing the 29er in 2010 she finished 16th before switching over to the 420 for the 2011 regatta in Zadar, Croatia where she placed sixth. A fourth place followed at the 2012 ISAF Youth Worlds in Dublin Bay, Ireland and she medalled for the first time at the 2013 event in Limassol, Cyprus, taking silver with current crew Carmina Malsh.

If the trend is to continue there is only one possible outcome for the Chilean in the 27-boat 420 Girls fleet, yet Horwitz remains coy about her chances, 'Yes, we have been improving our results every year but I wouldn't say we could win it, maybe we can want to win, but you never know, many things can happen. We are mostly focusing on doing the things the way we know how, and giving our best every day and seeing what we get out of it. I think results are consequences of the work you have been doing. Obviously we want to win, but let's see.'

Malsh was Horwitz's third ISAF Youth Worlds crew having previously sailed with Sofia Middleton and Francisca Fuentes.

On taking her first medal in 2013 with Malsh, Horwitz said, 'Being on the podium at the ISAF Youth Worlds last year was an important and an awesome moment. I think those moments are the ones where you get the value from all the work you put in during the preparation you did, not just the year before, but every single day you have been training for the achievement you want.'

The 2014 ISAF Youth Worlds will be the 18-year-old Horwitz's last with Rio 2016 in her sights, 'The ISAF youth worlds is an incredible event, I have really enjoyed it in every opportunity I have had to go.

'It's kind of special cause of the atmosphere, everybody is in the same place together and all is so prepared and it's kind of a big event in which you are not just with your class, but you are with people who sail different types of boats. It's just incredible and different to any other event.

'2016 is part of our plans, we have actually started our campaign in the 470 and we are going to Santander. We want to qualify for the Olympics in Rio so we are working to see if we get it. The ISAF Youth Worlds this year is my last so it's kind of a goodbye to the 420 and the final point of our transition from the 420 to the 470.'

The 420 Girls fleet features some strong returnees from the 2013 field. Singapore's Kimberly Lim and Savannah Siew, Spain's Silvia Mas who has new crew Marta Davila and New Zealand's Olivia Mackay and Abby Goodwin placed fourth to sixth in Cyprus and will all be part of the 2014 field.

Throughout 2014 the Kiwi pair have had over 400km separating them with Mackay based in Auckland whilst Goodwin completed her final school year in Napier. On their training and preparations Mackay said, 'The distance between us has been the hardest part, but considering its winter we've been going out roughly three times a week.

'Abby and I have got a lot more experience under our belts and now we know what to expect. We're going there to get on the podium.'

In the 33-boat 420 Boys fleet, 2013 champion Tiago Brito (BRA) will be aiming to defend his title in Tavira with new crew Phillip Essle.

Brito sealed 2013 gold in style with Andrei Kneipp as they took the honours with a day to spare and for the pair it was a reward for their hard work, 'Hearing the national anthem is the best feeling an athlete can have,' said Brito. 'You feel that you've made it and all the days spent alone on the cold water were worth it.'

New crew Essle is no stranger to the ISAF Youth Worlds scene with 2012 and 2013 29er appearances under his belt but he comes in with pressure on his back from a motivated helm. When asked if he thinks the fleet sees the Brazilians as the main threat Brito responded, 'I do and I hope so. I'm carrying the trophy with me and all the other sailors want to steal it from me. My new crew knows the big responsibility he has and we are prepared to bring the trophy back.'

Brito will move back to his partnership with Kneipp after the ISAF Youth Worlds and just like Horwitz in the 420 Girls fleet, he has his eye on the Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, 'The Youth Worlds will be a high level test for Santander even though we will be sailing in different classes.

'Our dream was always to be at the Olympics in Rio but we are changing to the 470 now and we need to learn a lot of things to get there. I hope this dream can come true because we are training for it. Always respecting the other sailors, of course, because they are teaching us and helping us but you know there's only room for one…'

Joining the Brazilians in the fleet will be 2013 bronze medallist and host nation favourites Diogo Pereira with new crew Manuel de Andrade. Pereira, sailing with Pedro Cruz in 2013 jostled with the Brazilians throughout the week, eventually finishing five points behind them in third. With Pereira and Andrade racing on home waters they'll be looking for a podium finish.

New Zealand's Sam Barnett and Zak Merton will also re-join the ISAF Youth Worlds 420 Boys pack after finishing fifth in 2013.

The ISAF Youth Worlds commences on 12 July and runs through to 19 July. Racing kicks off on 14 July at 13:00 local time.

Event website
http://www.sail-world.com/124552