RED BULL SAILING - More than 60 youth sailors representing 10 teams and eight nations have descended on San Francisco for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. Only one team will emerge as the champion, but the many sailors are auditioning for a spot with an America’s Cup team. The racing, scheduled Sept. 1-4, will be held off the America’s Cup Village, at Marina Green, and will be broadcast around the world on the America’s Cup YouTube channel.
The teams have been training out of San Francisco for just over a week, but this marks the final step in what has been over a year of preparation for most.
“We’ve been sailing more than 150 days this year to prepare for this,” said Lionel Vaucher, a grinder with the Swiss Team Tilt. “We’ve done the same amount of time in the gym. Now we are working on getting time on the AC45s and improving our communications on board and it’s getting better. We’re ready.”
The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is a new event intended to identify the next generation of America’s Cup sailor. The introduction of wing sail catamarans that can sail faster than 50 miles per hour requires a younger, more athletic sailor.
“When America’s Cup teams look for the next generation of sailors, it’s natural that they would look at the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup,” said sporting director Roman Hagara. “The next generation will come from this talent pool. These sailors are the new breed who will be the next stars.”
This past weekend, the young guns of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup were all on the water, along with the youngest skipper to ever win the America’s Cup, ORACLE TEAM USA’s Jimmy Spithill. The symbolism of the young guys on the smaller AC45 catamarans in pursuit of the America’s Cup sailors on the AC72 wasn’t lost on Spithill.
“It’s fantastic to see the talent level,” Spithill said. “Already we are starting to see a couple of guys that we would target next time – they don’t just look good on the water, but also their fitness levels in the gym, and the way they organize themselves.”
- The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup runs from September 1-4 and is based out of the America’s Cup Village at Marina Green
- The format is fleet racing – 2 races per day, for an 8-race series, with racing beginning at 11:10am each day
- The boats are AC45 catamarans powered by giant wing sails – the same boats used by the America’s Cup teams in the AC World Series from 2011-2013
- Teams are composed of six sailors, aged 19-24, who must be passport holders of their team’s country
- Nations represented include Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand (two teams), Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.S. (two teams)