by Dana Paxton
US Sailing Development Team member Mitchell Kiss (Holland, Mich.) won a bronze medal at the 2012 Laser Radial Youth World Championship held June 29 – July 4, in Brisbane, Australia. Racing was hosted by the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and sailed on Moreton Bay.
McKenzie (NZ), Tomasgaard,(NOR) Kiss,(USA) photo: Tovi Kiss) - Laser Radial Youth Worlds 2012 Brisbane Australia
Kiss recorded top-10 scores throughout the seven-race series, except for an 11th, which he used as his discard result. He finished with 27 points, only three points behind the first and second place sailors, who tied on points: Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR) and Andrew Mckenzie (NZL), respectively.
'With the regatta being so tough with light and shifty winds a podium finish feels good,' said Kiss.
Although the regatta was scheduled for six days, only four days saw suitable conditions for racing, including the sixth and final day on July 4. 'Every race in this regatta was exciting and kind of stressful. The light shifty winds caused a lot of position changes throughout each race. And we never knew how many races we would end up with for the regatta. The wind forecasts looked bleak. Luckily we got the races that we did.'
With day 5 of racing blown out with too little wind, Kiss knew he had to perform well on day 6 to secure a podium position. 'With only seven races it was really important to be consistent,' he said. He collected a third and fifth and with those strong results, the overall third place.
A member of US Sailing’s 2012 Youth Worlds Team, Kiss will leave Australia later this week and head straight to the ISAF Youth World Championship where he will look to improve upon his 2011 finish of 16th in the Laser Radial. 'I feel like I am in a good place going into ISAF Youth Worlds,' he explained. 'Nine out of the top 10 finishers at this regatta will also be in Dublin. I learned about my competitors’ strengths and weaknesses this week. I feel well prepared, and am hoping for a little more breeze.'
The Youth Worlds is the ultimate test for youth sailors, and Kiss returns as US Sailing’s most experienced team member.
'I expect the competition will be very tough and there will be more distractions - like the press and the hype,' he said. 'I am glad I had the chance to learn that last year. This is going to be my last international youth event so I am going to really go for it.'
The world’s best youth Laser Radial sailors – 105 sailors from 19 countries – competed in the boys and girls divisions this week in a mixture of weather conditions.
For complete results, please visit the event website: http://www.rqys.com.au/index.php/2012-world-laser-radial-youth-championship/