With the popularity of the 49er skiff growing worldwide, the 49er Class held its first Youth World Championship in Travemünde, Germany in July 2011.
by Jerelyn Biehl
Thirty-seven teams representing fourteen nations competed in the first edition of the 49er Youth Worlds which comprised of sailors who had not reached their 23rd birthday. The competition was quite tough with many teams who had already been on the World Cup circuit and many who have made the progression from the 29er to the 49er with years of skiff experience under their belt. The regatta organizers made the event open which mixed in some additional 'older' competitors to add to the competition.
Eventual Youth World winners Niels Gormsen and Anders Thomsen (DEN) sailed a fantastic series of 12 races with all races in the top ten with their discard a black flag penalty. Gormsen commented on their event win, 'The 49er Youth Worlds in Travemünde was a great experience. It was combined with the Travemünde Woche which worked out well.
The Travemünde Woche is a big regatta with a big organization behind it which provided a good environment for the racing. Furthermore, the atmosphere at the Travemünde Woche is very unique, and most of the competitors hang around in the evening which gave us a chance to get to know the sailors. We came into the regatta with high expectations of making a medal and we also knew that this would be the last year that we were young enough to participate, so we are very happy that we were able to win overall. The Danish Sailing Federation had high priority on this regatta and it was a big Danish team with 6 teams and an experienced coach. Yet we were surprised that most of the other countries put the equivalent effort into it. It seemed as though the regatta definitely was something the national associations had an interest in. All in all it was a great regatta. It was great fun to race in a fleet without the old guys that usually beat us, and it was great to get to know some more of the foreign 49er sailors our own age.'
Placing second overall were James Peters and Ed Fitzgerald (GBR), 2008 ISAF Youth World winners who were 3 points back, and in third place Vincent Berthez and Marc Mallaret (FRA). Tobias Schaderwaldt and Hannes Baumann (GER), although not youth sailors, had the low point overall.
The 2012 49er Youth Worlds will be held in Lake Garda, Italy in September.
49er Class Youth World Championship full results website
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4:56 AM Sat 13 Aug 2011 GMT
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