Colourful Opening Ceremony for the 2016 Laser 4.7 Youth World Championships

On Monday evening the Laser 4.7 Youth World Championships in Kiel-Schilksee have been officially opened. Today´s practice race gave the crews the opportunity to tune up and get a feeling for the waters off Schilksee. With the first race being held on Tuesday, 2nd of August, by Sunday 7th the Laser 4.7 class will celebrate their new youth world champion.

The traditional Flag Parade kicked off the official Opening of the Laser 4.7 youth Worlds on Monday evening. Girls and boys from 37 nations flooded Schilksee´s harbour area waving flags and bearing souvenirs like a big, inflatable kangaroo, carried by Hailey Johnson from Australia.

“The water is much colder, and there are no sharks”, said Todd Johnson, Hailey´s father, asked for the differences between the Australian waters and the venue of Kiel-Schilksee. What matters more are the wind conditions: “My daughter is used to train in Sydney, where the wind is very stable. Here in Schilksee, we measured shifts up to 90 degrees on the water”, said Johnson. Anticipating the local effects and understanding the wind is the key to success at the Laser 4.7 youth worlds, as confirmed Troy Cortis, who arrived from Perth with his sons Logan and Boston. From an Australian Point of view, 15 years old Romë Featherstone has the best prospects for a Top Ten position. „Romë wants to win”, said Troy Cortis about the current Australian Champion. To create a perfect surrounding for their kids, some parents opted for accommodation in the city of Kiel, some 15 minutes from the venue. “So the kids will get a clear head after sailing and may relax”, said Todd Johnson – though to him, the calm accommodation means daily right-hand-driving through dense traffic.

Also at sea, the teams put a lot of effort in providing the best possible backup for the kids. “All top teams have their coach boats loaded with spare parts like sails, tiller extensions, kicking straps and rudders”, said Christoph Moeller, who works for the German Laser manufacturer Ziegelmayer. He estimates that each top teams holds ready a pool of equipment worth at least 2500 Euros. Sailors who are aiming for medals have need that extensive support; if a competitor has to sail in the harbour to change broken equiment, he or she will miss at least one race. To keep logistics and financial impact straightforward, many teams have established a spare parts pool. In case something is missing, the Ziegelmayer team has a booth in the harbour area with full equipment on stock.

A big part of the fleet stays on the camp site close to the harbour, like the Czech team. Michal Smolar, their coach, considers Kiel the perfect venue for international sailing events. “Logistics are excellent, and the conditions on the water are quite challenging”, said Smolar who trains a group of three girls and two boys.

Today, the waters off Schilksee provided excellent sailing conditions for the practice race: westerly winds from 13 to 17 knots with some shifts in the proximity of clouds. On Tuesday, the wind is expected to drop and to blow more constantly from southwest. The race officers Stephan Giesen and Mandus Freese are looking forward to racing to begin on Tuesday, 2nd of August, at 11 am. Racing can be watch live from 11 am on laser worlds Kiel 2016.

4.7 Youth World Championship (U18 + U16):
Saturday, 30. July and 31. July: check-in, measurement
Monday, 1. August: check-in, measurement, 2pm: practice race, 7pm: opening ceremony/dinner
Tuesday, 2. August, until Friday, 5. August 11am: qualification round
Saturday, 6. August, 11am: final round
Sunday, 7. August, 11am: final round, after that prize giving ceremony and final party/dinner

Laser Standard Men and Laser Radial Women Youth Worlds (U21 – U19):
Tuesday, 9. August: check-in, measurement
Wednesday, 10. August: check-in, measurement, 2pm: practice race, 7:30pm: opening ceremony/dinner
Thursday, 11. August, until Sunday, 14. August 11am: qualification round
Monday, 15. August, 11am: final round
Tuesday, 16. August, 11 o’clock: final round, after that prize giving ceremony and final party/dinner

[Photo: Marina Könitzer]