Emerging Nations Come Together at Youth Worlds

The 2016 Youth World Sailing Championship is getting underway in Auckland, and sailors from nations all over the world are coming together to compete.

youth worlds
The 2016 Youth World Sailing Championship gets underway in New Zealand.Pedro Maartinez / Sailing Energy

Laser Radial sailor Estere Paula Kumpina says it's a dream come true to both be in New Zealand and competing in the sport she loves at the highest international level.

The Latvian teenager has had a big year in preparation for the Aon Youth Sailing World Championship which begins at the Torbay Sailing Club tomorrow.

"This will be my second Youth World's, and it's been a busy year for me with regattas in Europe to get better and improve my sailing," the 15-year-old says.

Estere was part of the World Sailing organized Emerging Nations Program (ENP) this week; a three-day training program from 11-13 December which brought together 13 sailors from Bulgaria, Slovakia, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Uruguay, Guatemala, Egypt, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Latvia.

Facilitated by Yachting New Zealand at the Milford Cruising Club, the young sailors had a blustery introduction to sailing in the Hauraki Gulf in preparation for the racing this week.

"I'm actually really happy we got to go out in the conditions we had. It's tough with 30-knot winds but I proved I could survive the conditions and that's a confidence boost for me heading into the Worlds," Estere explains.

This year, she's been training in the Latvian city of Riga, where it's currently minus 15 degrees and snowing. The idea of a summer barbeque at Christmas isn't that foreign however, having competed at the same event in the heat of Langkawi in Malaysia last year. "It can be hard being away from friends and family this time of year, but it's always been a dream of mine and my parents to come to New Zealand and we're so happy to be here," she says.

The Aon Youth Sailing World Championships will see 400 of the world's best youth sailors from 67 nations converge in Torbay for five days of racing.

"An event of this scale can be quite daunting for young sailors from countries where sailing is not a mainstream sport," says Andrew Clouston, Yachting New Zealand Participation and Development Manager.

He says World Sailing's ENP is a great way to ease young sailors into the competition and facilitate some training time on the waters where they'll be racing, as well as provide support and coaching throughout the event.

The ENP aims to increase the number of sailors participating at the Youth Worlds, as well as narrowing the performance gap between countries and promoting world wide competition.

Sailors are selected during regional clinics which are held throughout the year, with the overall goal being to enhance and promote sailing within the home nations.

A total of 560 international visitors comprising sailors, coaches, and officials will be part of the Aon Youth World Sailing Championships from 14-20 December. Race days will be 16-20 December.

Emerging Nations Program

The Youth Worlds Emerging Nations Program (ENP) aims to increase the number of sailors and MNAs participating at the Youth Worlds, with the aim to narrow the performance gap and promote worldwide competition. With this in mind the ENP clinics focus on coach performance, sailor ability and national training scheme development, with the goal to enhance sailing within the home nations, allowing future generations and sailing as a sport to benefit.

Youth Worlds

Auckland, New Zealand is hosting the Aon Youth Sailing World Championships, the 46th edition, from 14 to 20 December 2016. More than 380 sailors from 65 nations sailing in more than 260 boats across nine disciplines will compete in New Zealand.