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Lack of quarantine places and related issues scuttle Kiwi Youth Worlds Team

by Sail-World NZ/Yachting NZ 13 Jul 2021 03:00 PDT 13 July 2021
NZL Nacra 15, 2019 Hempel Youth Worlds Gdynia, Poland © Szymon Sikora / World Sailing

Yachting New Zealand have made the difficult decision to not send a team to December's Youth Sailing World Championships but will still select a team off the back of October's NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Championships.

The statement on the YNZ website says the decision "to forgo the youth worlds is based on the risks associated with sending a team to the event, due to be held in Oman, as well as the current managed isolation requirements on return and the health and wellbeing of sailors and coaches."

Currently all spaces in NZ Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) are fully booked until the end of November, and there is huge a huge demand for places. Part of the problem is caused by software firms quite openly offering "assistance" services, which consist of spiderbots crawling over the crude MIQ Reservation system, and then allocating places to to those potential travellers who are willing to pay a "success fee" of around $2,400, on top of the $3,000 charge for a stay in an approved facility. The 2,000 places offered last Wednesday, for November, were snapped up within an hour.

The activity makes it near-impossible for regular travellers to obtain MIQ places, and the situation has changed significantly since mid-May.

Concerns over the effects of people being placed in isolation for 14 days, usually alone unless they are part of a family, are also likely to have been a serious consideration on the Youth sailors. Detainees sequestered in Quarantine are allowed only one hour a day exercise, and otherwise must remain in strict isolation in what is normally a four or five star hotel room.

Yachting NZ says that other countries have already taken a similar stance not to attend the Oman regatta, including Australia, and say that World Sailing have indicated they expect only half of the normal number of attendees at the regatta.

The Youth Sailing World Championships are the pinnacle event for youth sailors, with only one entry from each country in all nine classes. Last year's youth worlds, scheduled to be held in Brazil, was cancelled due to Covid-19, the Yachting NZ report continues.

"We have given careful consideration to attending the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships," Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said. "The Government recommend that people don't travel internationally and that, together with MIQ requirements, which would have been both expensive and over Christmas, has influenced our decision to not attend the event.

"We know there will be a number of people who will be disappointed by this decision, especially those who are in their last year at youth level, but we wanted to give people certainty so they can plan their season ahead."

Yachting New Zealand still intend selecting a NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team from October's NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Championships at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club.

Those selected, as well as training partners, will be invited to attend a training camp in December at a venue still to be confirmed and Yachting New Zealand are looking into other opportunities depending on things like the trans-Tasman bubble, which is currently paused between New Zealand and New South Wales, but still open with the other Australian states.

The New Zealand Government say they will announce in a few weeks the longer term options for re-entry into New Zealand by Kiwis, including those who have left for offshore sporting competitions. It is likely to be applicable only to those travelers who are fully immunised against COVID-19, and will hopefully be operative for the 2022 Youth Worlds.

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