Canadian sailors record best ILCA 6 results in more than a decade at the 2023 Youth Sailing World Championships

Kingston, December 15, 2023 – Annie Balasubramanian from Toronto and Sullivan Nakatsu from Hammonds Plains, N.S., recorded the best Canadian performances in more than a decade in ILCA 6 at the 2023 Youth Sailing World Championships which ended Friday in Búzios, Brazil, as they respectively finished in 11th and 12th place in the women’s and men’s events.

Annie Balasubramanian, who was 12th at last year’s competition, improved her result by one rank to end up in 11th place out of 45 participating sailors from around the world, although she started the event in last place because of a penalty.

Her 11th-place finish is the best Canadian result in the history of the Youth Sailing World Championships since Isabella Bertold placed 4th in 2009 in Brazil.

“I am happy with my 11th position, but I did just fall short of my goal of being in the top 10,” said Annie Balasubramanian. “I had a rough start to my week with a penalty (BFD) in the first race, but aside from that, I feel confident that I raced well and gave it everything I could! It is hard to keep the consistency in your scores when your first race is your drop, but I feel confident that I made as little mistakes as possible to stay consistent. We had all types of conditions, including two pretty windy days to finish things off. I am happy with how I sailed nonetheless.

“I am looking forward to racing against this fleet again at the U21 World Championships, to put even more time on the water in preparation for the next World Championships, and not get a BFD right of the bat!” added the Sail Canada Development Squad member, who was taking part in the Youth Sailing World Championships for the third time.

Sullivan Nakatsu: 12th in men’s ILCA 6
On the men’s side of the ILCA 6 competition, Sullivan Nakatsu finished in 12th position out of 48 competitors. This was his first time participating in the Youth Sailing World Championships.

After starting off the event with a win in the first race, Nakatsu ended the first day of competition in second place overall, and then dropped in sixth and fourth place before having to start coping with illness. He finally ended up in 12th place, which is the best performance by a Canadian sailor at this event since Robert Davis finished 5th in 2008 in Denmark.

“I felt I sailed really well and I didn’t leave anything on the table after the last race,” said Sullivan Nakatsu. “I had food poisoning on the fourth and fifth days, which really took a toll on my mental and physical strength. I gave it everything I had and emptied the tank. Overall, it was a really great event and I’m proud of how I represented Canada.”

“I think it’s really cool that I was able to record the best result since 2008 in ILCA 6, considering there have been many other really great Canadian sailors who have competed at this event over the years, including Ryan Anderson, who has been one of my best mentors and who has pushed me and helped me improve so much,” said Nakatsu about Sail Canada’s Development Squad member who also hails from Nova Scotia and who took the 16thand 17th positions at the Youth Sailing World Championships in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

Best result in men’s 29er since 2017
In the men’s 29er event, Thomas Desrochers and Ford Amery from Toronto took the 16th position out of 30 teams in their first participation at this competition, which represents the best Canadian performance since William and Sam Bonin took 15th place in 2017 in China.

“The competition was a really great experience,” said Thomas Desrochers and Ford Amery. “We are honoured to have been able to represent Canada. The competition provided opportunities in every aspect of wind and weather conditions, and it was an amazing learning experience with such a competitive fleet.”

Canada ended the 2023 Youth Sailing World Championships as the 22nd country out of 61 for the Nations Trophy.

The Youth Sailing World Championships are an important stepping stone for the sailors as they progress towards the Canadian Sailing Team and Development Squad. The event has been held annually since 1971 except for the 2020 edition, which was cancelled because of the pandemic. Among the many sailors who have competed in past editions of the Youth Sailing World Championships are Georgia Lewin-LaFrance, Ryan Wood, Coralie Vittecoq, Sam Bonin, Ryan Anderson and Clara Gravely, as well as 2020 Tokyo Olympic Canadian Team member Ali ten Hove in 2012 and 2013.

Canadian team results at the 2023 Youth Sailing World Championships
ILCA 6 (W)
11. Annie Balasubramanian (Toronto, ON-RCYC)

ILCA 6 (M)
12. Sullivan Nakatsu (Hammonds Plains, N.S.-RNSYS)

Kiteboarding (M)
16. Nathan Pearce (North Vancouver, B.C.-RVYC)

29er (M)
16. Thomas Desrochers (Toronto, ON- PCYC) & Ford Amery (Toronto, ON- PCYC & RCYC)

i420 (W)
20. Maggie Tripp (Toronto, ON-RCYC) & Claire Podolsky (Toronto, ON-RCYC)

i420 (M)
22. Nikhil Damji (Vancouver, B.C.-WVYC) & Emil Damji (Vancouver, B.C.-WVYC)

29er (W)
23. Johanna Pickart (Bald Rock, N.S.-RNSYS) & Rebecca Driscoll (Glen Haven, N.S.-CYC)

iQFoil (M)
30. Thomas Hung (Vancouver, B.C.-RVYC)

About Sail Canada
Established in 1931, Sail Canada is the national governing body for the sport of sailing in the country. Sail Canada is a leading international sailing nation, proud of its world class athletes, lifelong participants and inclusive culture. The organization and its members are committed to excellence by developing and training its leaders, athletes, sailors, instructors, coaches and officials. With the valued support from our partners, the Provincial Sailing Associations and our member clubs, schools, organizations and stakeholders, sailing is promoted in all its forms. By setting standards and delivering programs from home pond to podium for Canadians of all ages and abilities, from dinghies to keelboats, cruising to navigation, windsurfing to powerboating and accessible sailing, Sail Canada sets sail for all, sail to win and sail for life.

A sport in the Olympic program since the first Games in 1896, except in 1904, the pursuit of success in these Games is what fuels the focus of Sail Canada as Canadian athletes have so far achieved nine Olympic and five Paralympic medals.