Over 450 of the world’s best youth sailors from 69 countries are getting ready to compete at the Allianz Youth World Sailing Championships 2022. Taking place off the coast of Scheveningen in The Hague, The Netherlands, from 8-15 July 2022, the Championships are open to young sailing stars up to the age of 19.
This elite gathering of international sailors will compete across 11 youth events including the Male and Female divisions of the 29er Skiff, 420 Two Person Dinghy, ILCA 6 One Person Dinghy along with the Mixed Two Person Multihull, the Nacra 15. Last year saw the introduction of Male and Female categories in Kiteboarding Formula Kite, and this year for the first time we will see Male and Female competitors flying above the water in Windsurfing Youth iQFOiL. The move to more foil-borne events mirrors the developments seen in Olympic competition over the past year since the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The 11 events will test different aspects of the sport. From the highly tactical, boat-on-boat contest that we will see in the traditional dinghy classes, through to the ‘apparent wind’ driven multihull and skiffs which test balance and agility. The foiling windsurfers require high levels of balance and aerobic fitness, while the fastest competitors on the water will be the kitefoilers, capable of peak speeds over 30 knots.
Having already proven themselves at the front of the senior fleet, the battle for supremacy in the brand new kitefoiling contest will be world class by any measure. Singapore’s 15-year-old Max Maeder, winner of the Youth Worlds last year in Oman, has been winning events against all the senior riders on the Kitefoil World Series. “I’m so happy to have the privilege to compete with all of the best youth riders around the world and wish them the best of luck,” said Maeder. “It feels like a great honour to represent your nation at such a big event, and I think the atmosphere on and off the water will be incredible.”
Last year’s silver medallist in the female kitefoiling division, Julia Damasiewicz (POL) is back to see if she can get to the top of the podium in The Hague. Having won the most recent Kitefoiling World Series event in Traunsee, Austria, the 18-year-old Polish rider broke the incredible winning streak of 32 consecutive international regatta wins over the last six years by five-time Formula Kite World Champion Daniela Moroz (USA). Damasiewicz will surely be hard to beat in Scheveningen, although last year’s youth bronze medallist from France, Héloise Pegourié, has also displayed world-beating form at times this year.
In just over a year’s time, The Hague will host the Sailing World Championships for the Olympic classes over two weeks in August 2023, also from the port of Scheveningen. The event is expected to see 1,400 sailors from 90 countries compete for the world titles in the 10 Olympic and three Paralympic sailing classes, so the Youth Worlds will serve as a useful build-up to the senior competition for race officials, organisers and the local community of Scheveningen.
Many of this year’s youth competitors will compete at next year’s Olympic class event, including a growing number of sailors who have graduated from World Sailing’s Emerging Nations Programme (ENP). World Sailing’s Training and Development Executive Cat Duncan and Training Delivery Manager Rob Holden have been running a clinic for ENP athletes at Scheveningen over a number of days before the regatta begins. Former Olympic representative for Mexico in the ILCA 6 singlehander, Tania Elias Calles has been leading the coaching and will be working with the ENP sailors throughout the regatta. “We’re committed to closing the knowledge and skills gap between the top sailing nations and the Emerging Nations,” said Holden. “Last year’s gold medal won by Florencia Chiarella from Peru shows what’s possible if you really dedicate yourself to succeeding at the top level of sailing. It has been great to work with this group of keen ENP sailors this week and I wish them all the best and hope they enjoy the experience of competing at the Youth Worlds.”
The Hague looks set to deliver stunning weather with temperatures forecast for the mid-20s Celsius. A range of wind and wave conditions also look likely for the five days of competition, including the prospect of three-metre swell. It should make for a thrilling contest.
David Graham, CEO, World Sailing, said, “The Allianz Youth Sailing World Championships is a prestigious event in the World Sailing calendar and we are looking forward to the event in The Hague. The combination of a natural beach and the North Sea winds will make for an exciting competition, and a true test of sailing skills for the world’s brightest prospects.”
Tournament Director, Dorian van Rijsselberghe, two-time RS:X Windsurfing Olympic champion from the Netherlands, is particularly excited to see the iQFOiL windsurfers competing at youth level. However, for him the most important aspect of the Youth Worlds is enjoying the experience more than whether or not you win for lose. “I’m not talking about the medals, but the fun, the camaraderie, the road to get there and the enjoyment to be had. We will make sure that all participants will not forget The Hague and that the whole sports-loving Netherlands can watch and enjoy the action from close by. Fun and performance go hand in hand, and where better for that to happen than in Scheveningen.”
The Opening Ceremony officially welcomes the sailors on Saturday 9 July. Racing will commence on Sunday 10 July and runs through to Thursday 14 July when 11 new Youth World Champions will be crowned.
11 Events at the Youth Worlds
Female Windsurfer – Youth iQFOiL (with 8.0m rig)
Male Windsurfer – Youth iQFOiL (with 8.0m rig)
Male Kiteboarding – FormulaKite
Female Kiteboarding – FormulaKite
Female Two Person Dinghy – 420
Male/Mixed Two Person Dinghy – 420
Female One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6
Male One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6
Male Skiff – 29er
Female Skiff – 29er
Mixed Two Person Multihull – Nacra 15
About the Youth Worlds
First held in Sweden in 1971, the Youth Sailing World Championships are World Sailing’s flagship event for youth sailors.
Past notable winners include America’s Cup skippers Chris Dickson (NZL), Russell Coutts (NZL) and Dean Barker (NZL); Olympic medallists Nathan Outteridge (AUS), Iain Jensen (AUS), Robert Scheidt (BRA), Amelie Lux (GER), Ben Ainslie (GBR), Iain Percy (GBR), Alessandra Sensini (ITA), Elise Rechichi (AUS) and Tessa Parkinson (AUS); and The Ocean Race sailors Stuart Bannatyne (NZL) and Richard Clarke (CAN). The most successful Youth World Champions are Sally Cuthbert (GBR) and Zofia Klepacka (POL), having won four successive titles in the Laser II and Mistral respectively.
Following the success of their athletes at the 2021 edition in Oman, France is the current holder of the Nations Trophy, awarded annually to the top-performing nation at the Youth Worlds.