Published: Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships features more than 1,000 sailors from 81 nations competing on the waters off the Spanish city.

The sailors have varying backgrounds and entered the sport through different routes to get to where they are today. At Santander 2014 an Emerging Nations Program (ENP) is assisting many promising sailors who do not have all of the funding and support they require.

"The Emerging Nations Program brings together all of the small sailing nations and it tries to help them get to the events, help them get ready and to perform at a level that is required at this type of championship,”

 says Kenya's Teddy Ndaro, part of the Santander 2014 ENP. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the Emerging Nations Program because to come to such a big event is a huge cost financially. ISAF and the organisers have really helped us by giving us accommodation, food and equipment. That takes a big weight off of our shoulders and that has been what enabled me to come here. Just being here is amazing. I never dreamt of being at such an event.”

The Perth 2011 ISAF Worlds started the Emerging Nations Program and the work has been continued into Santander and will continue into Aarhus 2018 in Denmark. Laser and Laser Radial sailors from Peru, Dominican Republic, South Africa, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Seychelles and many others make up the Santander 2014 Emerging Nation Program.

Emerging Nations Program Sailors Shine In Santandor. 

(South Africa's Stefano Marcia)

"Sailing is not so big right now in Iceland so just coming here is a big opportunity to just sail with big fleets,” says Iceland's Hulda Hannesdóttir. “We have had great coaches and I have learnt so many things.”

"The Emerging Nations Program has helped us a lot because it provides us with accommodation and boat,” says Seychelles' Rodney Govinden. “Since last year when the program started I participated in the test event and training camp so it helped us a lot in coming here and competing in the world championship.”

Many of the ENP sailors continue to fight for personal bests in Santander.