Nicola Gerin about the amended Junior Worlds Deed of Gift.
During the last Junior Worlds in Denmark only two boats were allowed per nation, with the right for the host country to line up one more boat on the strarting line. In Denmark, there were around twenty boats, a fleet with an excellent level. Youth World Champions from the Optimist class, Laser and 420 were sailing. In a fleet so deep you paid for every mistake more severely, than, for example, in the Europeans in Spain where there were many more boats but the fleet was much less homogeneous.
The new class rule provides for a maximum of ten boats per nation, always with the clause for the host country to line up one more boat. This change to the Deed of Gift will definitely increase the number of competitors at the Junior World Championship, which is good news for countries like Spain and Brazil, where fleets of junior teams are numerous. The news is somewhat frightening in other nations like Italy, where the number of competitors in these events is always small.
During the last Worlds only one team represented Italy. The presence of teammates in the final days of a Worlds can be decisive, especially if you are fighting for the podium or victory. A boat from a nation with only one representative must fight against the three countries and six teams on the podium. This issue could be even more decisive with the new rule.
Competing in the Junior Worlds, before the Senior Worlds, as has happened in the last regatta, allows junior teams (who for the most part aren’t Snipe owners) to have a chance to use the boats of their senior compatriots. Each National Secretary should work so the junior teams can use the boats of the seniors who are qualified for their countries.
I think the new rule is particularly positive for the host countries. They can line up a good number of boats, thus giving the opportunity for young teams (who normally are racing in other classes) to sail the Snipe.
I am firmly convinced that a junior team will have a positive attitude about the Snipe Class if given the opportunity to sail on this boat against other youth teams. In many countries the average age of participants at the Snipe regattas is not exactly young.I can tell you from firsthand experience that for a kid it is easier to approach a new class by meeting and racing with their peers.You also appreciate sailing with expert Snipe sailors, but initially a kid should race amongst peers. Only in this way will the Snipe Class be perceived as a valid class for juniors.
SCIRA therefore did well to make the Junior Worlds almost an open event.. This decision, if supported by various National Secretaries, will help the knowledge of the Snipe amongst many young sailors.
The rule establishing a maximum of ten boats is also a good choice. In fact, in the case of a Junior Worlds organized in countries with a solid tradition of junior Snipe sailors, it would allowed the possibility for foreigners to find a number of charter boats.