Sailing World Cup Melbourne stepping stone to Malaysia Youth Worlds


PRESS RELEASE - Sailing World Cup Melbourne stepping stone to Malaysia Youth Worlds



Jacinta Ainsworth, Ali Nightingale and Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy look forward to representing their country at the youth worlds.  Photography by Jeff Crow- Sport the Library.

Malyasia’s Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy is offering some sound words of hometown advice for the youth sailors selected to compete at the 2015 Youth Sailing World Championships which start on December 27 in Langkawi, Malaysia.

Mohd Afendy is in Australia competing in the Laser class at the Sailing World Cup Melbourne. Around him are New Zealand and Australian youth sailors who are using the invited classes part of the event as a last chance preparation regatta prior to heading to Langkawi. It’s a great chance for the young sailors to chat in the Melbourne boat park among themselves and with the Malaysian sailors competing this week, looking for tips on what to expect of the racing venue both on the water and onshore.

“Langkawi is very beautiful,” Mohd Afendy said. “The wind may be light to medium. And very tricky. The wind from the shore will be very shifty; watch out and be patient,” he counsels two of the Laser Radial youth competitors, Jacinta Ainsworth (AUS) and Ali Nightingale (NZL).

Mohd Afendy has travelled a similar path as these sailors, competing in the 2010 Youth World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey where he finished eighth, and again in 2011 in Zadar, Croatia, where he placed fifth.  He then went on to represent Malaysia at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“The youth worlds are very important because many top sailors come from youth programs. It is also important for our sailors to see our level compared to others [countries]. Sometimes we are good, but in the Olympic class we need to chase them; we need to improve more,” Mohd Afendy added.

Ainsworth has prepared her own Langkawi research. “I favour the light winds a lot more. Hopefully it will be like our youth week back in June, it was really shifty and lots of tidal influences. When it comes to being patient I need to tell myself I really love this wind and I am good in this wind. I’ll tell myself that and I will believe it,” Ainsworth said.

Nightingale says the New Zealand team have put together their own research. “Some of the guys that went to the Opti Worlds [there] said there was a lot of tide and it can be tricky racing. I am looking forward to it.”  As to being patient, Nightingale knows that at an event of this stature, patience is an important asset.




Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy rounding the bottom mark at the Sailing World Cup Melbourne. Photography by Jeff Crow - Sport the Library

While the Sailing World Cup Melbourne conditions are much cooler and the wind stronger than what’s expected in Langkawi, just being out on the water is helping Ainsworth and Nightingale to focus areas for improvement prior to heading to Malaysia. “This has been a really good opportunity to gather where I am at,” Ainsworth said.

Nightingale has been able to shake out the cobwebs with some tough competition in the 21-boat fleet. “I haven’t done much racing since the Laser Radial worlds in August, except for our youth trials which was quite a small fleet.  This is a good size fleet for us to be training in; it’s been super valuable to get racing again.”

Mohd Afendy will miss out on helping out at the Youth Worlds. He will instead stay in Australia after the World Cup to continue his training and competition program, including competing in the Laser Class Australian Championship as he works towards achieving selection to the Malaysian Olympic Team. “I haven’t qualified as yet. It will be in Abu Dhabi next March for the Asian region.”

His father will be on duty at the Youth Worlds in his role as General Manager of the Malaysian Sailing Federation and the event organiser and younger sister, Khairun Hanna Mohd Afendy, racing in the 420 women’s division. So far a record 80 nations have registered.