Five of the six gold medallist skippers at the recent ISAF World Youth Championships had previously sailed at Optimist World Championships.
Remarkably two of them, Carlos Roble (ESP) in the 29er and Martin Lowy (BRA) in the SL16 only left the Optimist class seven months ago, having participated in the Optimist Worlds at the end of 2010.
Historically it is quite rare to win gold at the ISAF event in the first year of participation. The other three winners this year, Lara Vadlau (AUT) and Jordi Xammar (ESP) in the 420s and Maxime Mazard (FRA) in the Laser had taken the more usual three-four years to progress from the under-16 Optimist event to winning the under-19 ISAF championship. Lara’s crew Tanja Frank was in fact her team-mate from the 2008 Austrian team.
In total at least 16 of the 18 medallist skippers were former Optimist sailors, 10 of them having participated in IODA Worlds. Sailing is a sport for life and the Optimist prepares young sailors be it single handed, double-handed or multi hull.