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Caribbean Kids Sail in ISAF World Championship

The world’s top young sailing talent gathered in Buzios, Brazil July 9 to 18 for racing at the International Sailing Federation’s 39th Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. Close to 300 of the world’s top sailors representing 59 nations were sailing in seven different classes. Mayumi Roller (ISV), Alec Anderson (IVB), Ard and Philipine van Aanholt (AHO), Donico Brown (BAH), Jasia King (LCA), Raul Rios and Antonio Sifre Torren (PUR), Tyler Rice & William Gibbons (ISV) represented the Caribbean.

The event, open to competitors who do not exceed the age of 18 during the calendar year of the event, represents the undisputed pinnacle of youth sailing. Entry is restricted to one boat per nation, per event, so the sailors already had to win through their national qualification series to earn their place in Brazil.

The Boys One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial event had a huge entry this year, with over 50 nations represented in the fleet. Alec Anderson from the British Virgin Islands, Donico Brown from the Bahamas and Curacao’s Ard van Aanholt started in this event, a much better choice for the boy’s then last years Laser full rig. In the Girls Laser Radial event, Mayumi “Mimi” Roller and Philipine van Aanholt, former Optimist opponents at the water but friends on shore, both raced. Jasia King represented St. Lucia in this class and made her debut. Following 2008, where the 29er was equipment for the Boy’s and Girl’s Two Person Dinghy events, in Brazil this year the 420 returned to the Youth Worlds fold. The 2008 Optimist World champion Raul Rios and crew Antonio Sifre Torren and Tyler Rice and Billy Gibbons sailed the Boys 420 class.

St. John’s Roller was one of 23 competitors in Buzios thanks to funding from ISAF’s Athlete Participation Programme (APP), following in the footsteps of her brother who took part at the 2007 Youth Worlds in Canada. The APP provides sailors with funding support to help them with travel and entry costs to attend the championship, as well as providing coaching at the event with the ISAF Coach, who this year was Santi Lange. “It’s a really good programme,” Roller said at the event. “I was also on it last year in Denmark. Santi is a really great guy, He’s really knowledgeable about everything and he’s really easy to talk to. It’s been a great experience.”

Final results: Alec Anderson from the tiny island Tortola showed the world that kids from the Caribbean know how to sail by finishing 7th at his last Youth Worlds, a very remarkable and honourable position for the British Virgin Islander. The Boys Laser event was won by Sam Meech from New Zealand. At his first ISAF youth Worlds, 15 year old Ard van Aanholt from Curacao showed potential and class by scoring a 29th overall among 53 talented young sailors.

Donico Brown from the Bahamas learned a lot at his first Youth Worlds. In the 420 Boys class, Tyler Rice and Billy Gibbons scored a 24 overall and Raul Rios and Antonio Sifre Torren from Puerto Rico finished 27th.

In the Girl’s Laser fleet, Singapore’s Elizabeth Yin was the new leader, Anne-Marie Rindom from Denmark took Silver and Mathilde Kerangat brought home the Bronze for France. Mimi Roller finished at a respectable 14th place overall. Philipine van Aanholt who had a World title in the Splash class last year ended up at 25. Jasia King from St. Lucia finished all her races and had a great experience.

In the battle for the Volvo Trophy, the prize for top nation was awarded to France, followed by Great Britain and Italy. Next year the prestigious ISAF Youth Worlds will be held in Turkey and provides a new chance for the worlds best youth sailors to show their progress.

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