Before the last race was held, Andrew Campbell, 18, of San Diego, topped the Laser fleet at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF Youth World Championship, hosted by Lunenberg YC in Nova Scotia, Canada. Campbell elected not to compete in his last race, and even with a DNC on his scorecard, his final score of 37 points was 14 points lower than that of his nearest competitor, Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, of Croatia. Campbell was awarded the gold medal, and his name will soon be engraved on the ISAF St. Lawrence Trophy, joining those of venerable past winners such as Olympic gold medalist Robert Scheidt.
“I didnt focus on winning gold per se, but I wanted to represent my country as best I could,” said Campbell, shortly after realizing his lock on the gold medal Thursday afternoon.
Paige Railey, 15, of Clearwater, Fla., took home the bronze medal in the girls Byte fleet. She finished the event with 42 points and a 9 point lead over Finlands Silja Lehtinen.
“It was frustrating to drop to third after having been in first for two days,” said Railey, “But Im very happy to have gotten the bronze medal.”
After having been in second place overall for most of the event, the U.S. was edged out by France on the last day of competition, finishing in third. Sailors and coaches on this years team expressed excitement by the third place finish. For years the U.S. struggled at the Youth World Championship, particularly in the doublehanded fleets.
U.S. 29er sailors turned in the best doublehanded performances in a number of years. Both the boys team of Alex Bernal and Tedd White, both 16, of Santa Barbara, Calif., and the girls team of Molly Carapiet, 18, and Mallory McCollum, 16, of Belvedere, Calif., finished fourth in their respective fleets. Having prepared for heavy air sailing in the notoriously windy venue of Mahone Bay, both teams expressed frustration with the light, shifty conditions seen throughout most of the event.
“We gained weight for this event,” said Bernal, “But if we couldve done something differently, we ought to have lost weight instead. We sailed just about the best we could, but we got passed a lot because we were so heavy.”
The U.S. boardsailors struggled against the worlds best. Philip Muller, 16, of Fort Pierce, Fla., finished 17th in the boys Mistral fleet. Ericka Kofkin, 16, of Cocoa Beach, Fla., finished 12th in the girls Mistral fleet.