At each stop of the Volvo Ocean Race there has been a Youth Academy Team Racing program, where kids from around the country of that port come together to learn, meet members of the VOR teams, see the boats, have fun, and do some team racing. At the same time there was an ISAF (International Sailing Federation) umpiring seminar going on so the kids got to get some great rules instruction. The first day was a practice day, followed on the second day with some work with the umpires and practice races. The third day was the regatta. On the evening of the second day there was an event dinner where members of each team met with the kids and talked about their experiences in the race. Each youth team represented on of the VOR teams and we happened to be representing Team Sanya which sailed in on our second day there. We also got to see the boats on the hard and the repairs being done to the boats, as well as the stepping of the masts and launching of some of them. Overall it was an amazing experience for the kids and the Volvo Ocean Race did a great job of hosting us.
After having a tough regatta at the qualifier to attend this event in New Orleans in January, the team sailed a great showing. They were tied for third but lost their sail-off to finish 4th of 8 teams, which was a huge improvement over being the last to qualify. It was a great training weekend and confidence booster for the kids, and they should go into Team Race Nationals with a good mindset.