The 12 teams hoping to qualify for September’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup will know on Monday whether their dreams have been realized.
Last week, six international teams were in San Francisco for the first qualifying session. This week, a second group of six teams from Europe, South America and New Zealand is working to impress selectors at the grueling training camp/selection series.
After the series wraps up on Sunday, the teams will learn their fate the following day. At least four of the 12 will be selected to advance to the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, scheduled Sept. 1-4 in San Francisco. The teams are evaluated on both their race results at the selection series, as well as their overall performance on and off the water, including fitness tests, training programs and professionalism.
“This isn’t easy for them, that’s for sure,” said double Olympic Gold medalist Roman Hagara, who is co-Sports Director for the event and one of the evaluators for the sessions. “These are good young sailors who are learning what it takes to rise to the next level, to become professional sailors at a standard where they could compete with the best in the world.”
“What’s been impressive is the overall level of the teams,” said Hans-Peter Steinacher, the second Sports Director of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. “Every crew we’ve seen has shown us they have the potential to be very good. Now we have to identify who we think has the best chance to continue their development so they can succeed at the main regatta in September.”
The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is part of the “Summer of Racing” in San Francisco. The crews will be comprised of nationals, aged 19-24, and will compete on AC45 wing sail catamarans. The selection series have been an eye-opener for many of the sailors.
“It was a mind-blowing week,” said 21-year-old Jason Waterhouse, the skipper of Objective Australia in the first selection series. “We learned so much. We would’ve liked better results, but our preparation was sound.”
Russell Coutts, the most successful America’s Cup skipper in history, has been a driving force in creating the youth competition as a pathway for young, talented sailors towards the America’s Cup.
“The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup series is a critical step in these young sailors’ development,” said Coutts, the CEO of ORACLE TEAM USA. “If they get in and work hard and learn the skills required on these boats it will directly transfer onto America’s Cup boats. That’s a fantastic pathway for them to make it.”
Photo Credit : ACEA/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget
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