YOUTH SAILING – Charlie Ekberg Ehulund talks about sailing with Artemis Racing
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TEAM ARTEMIS -Swedish Youth Challenge’s helmsman Charlie Ekberg will join Artemis Racing White during the America’s Cup World Series Naples.
RED BULL YOUTH SAILING – The launch video for Objective Australia, who are representing Australia in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup
RED BULL YOUTH AMERICAS CUP – An award-winning line-up of sailors from ORACLE TEAM USA and Artemis Racing greeted the youth sailors competing in the first selection series of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup today at a special media function.
The stars – Russell Coutts, Jimmy Spithill, Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy and Nathan Outteridge – together have a collected resume beyond excellence: five America’s Cup victories, 14 Olympic medals and countless other titles.
Coutts might be the most experienced of the group with four America’s Cup victories to his credit, but it was Spithill who put the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup into perspective.
“My pathway to the America’s Cup was one of good luck,” said ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill, who at age 30 in 2010 became the youngest skipper to ever win the America’s Cup.
“When I was a youth sailor there wasn’t a clear pathway to the Cup. But the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup gives these guys a great opportunity, and the game’s opened up to much wider participation,” said the now 33-year-old Spithill. “Their level of organization is impressive.”
Added Ainslie, the four-time Olympic gold medalist: “The Olympics used to be the avenue to get into professional sailing and the America’s Cup. But now the Cup is becoming more accessible for youth sailors, and that’s great for the sport.” The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup has been developed to give youth sailors a pathway to the America’s Cup. In years past youth sailors have had a difficult task ascending the hierarchy of an America’s Cup team. Youth sailors simply weren’t viewed as having enough experience to compete at the high level demanded by America’s Cup crews. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup aims to change that.
“It’s been very exciting to come here and get an opportunity to race the AC45. It’s just fantastic,” said Erik Heil, the 23-year-old helmsman for Germany’s STG/NRV team. “But at the same time it’s disappointing that we only get one week here. We’d like to have more time.”
STG/NRV is one of six teams participating in the first selection series. Another six teams are scheduled for the second series next week, Feb. 18-24, after which at least four teams will be selected for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup scheduled Sept. 1-4.
“The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is the best chance for young sailors to make history,” said Hans-Peter Steinacher, one of the Red Bull sailing directors. “We will select the best of the best.”
The six teams in this first selection series represent Australia, Austria, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa. Some of the crews have put up their own money to enter the selection series, while others have raised money to help offset the costs.
All of them have shown more skill and poise than expected, which could be considered surprising given that most of the sailors have raced one-design dinghies and not the powerful AC45 that is used at the events of the America’s Cup World Series.
“Yesterday in the big breeze, around 17 knots, it was more difficult than I expected,” said Philip Buhl of STG/NRV, a champion Laser sailor. “Every time we completed one maneuver we had to prepare for the next, there was no time to catch your breath.”
The teams have been sharing San Francisco Bay with ORACLE TEAM USA and Artemis Racing, which have been practicing on their AC72s the past couple of days. As if the AC45s weren’t captivating enough, the sight of AC72s speeding past on foiling daggerboards has left the youths’ mouths agape.
“We want to push the AC45s, but yesterday we had to decide whether to keep pushing or stop and watch the 72s sail by,” said Buhl. “At home we’d say it was a ‘problem of luxury.’”
Teams that are slated for the second selection series will represent Argentina, Great Britain, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland. They’ll have to come prepared because there are scant few spots available in the final. But even if they don’t advance to the final, there’ve been given a special opportunity.
Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Teams
Selection Series Session 1 (Feb. 9-15)
Australia – Objective Australia
Austria – Team Austria
Denmark – Danish Youth Vikings
Germany – STG/NRV Youth Team
New Zealand – Full Metal Jacket Racing
South Africa – i’KaziKati
Selection Series Session 2 (Feb. 18-24)
Argentina – Arg Youth Team
Great Britain – GBR Youth Challenge
Italy – Team Italy powered by Stig
New Zealand – 36 Below Racing
Portugal – ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team
Switzerland – Team TILT
Youth crews supported by America’s Cup World Series Teams
China – China Team/Name TBC
France – Energy Team/Name TBC
New Zealand – Emirates Team New Zealand/Name TBC
Sweden – Artemis Racing/Swedish Youth Challenge
USA – ORACLE TEAM USA/American Youth Sailing Force (SFO)
USA – ORACLE TEAM USA/USA45 (USA)
RED BULL YOUTH SAILING – The six teams in the first Selection Series for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup today are taking to the water for their first experience on an AC45.
Yesterday the teams were put through conditioning tests and shown how to rig an AC45. Today they’ll have a chance to sail the boats used by teams in the America’s Cup World Series.
The first session has the teams from Australia (Objective Australia), Austria (Team Austria) and Denmark (Danish Youth Vikings) on the water between 1130 and 1300 hours. The teams from Germany (STG/NRV Youth Team), New Zealand (Full Metal Jacket Racing) and South Africa (i’KaziKati) are scheduled to sail between 1330 and 1500 hours.
“It’s like going to a professional sailing university, but it’s not about learning how to sail. It’s about learning how to be a professional,” said James Wierzbowski, a floater/runner for Objective Australia.
Wierzbowski races beach catamarans such as the Nacra 17 and F18 at home in Australia. And since the Southern Hemisphere is in the middle of summer the team had scant practice time together before coming to San Francisco.
“With our team, everyone knew of everyone else, but we haven’t really been close friends before this,” Wierzbowski said. “Back home we’re in mid-season with the sailing schedule and everyone is really committed to their own class. So we decided the best option was for guys to continue their full-on race training program. We’ve had a few training camps to build the team morale and atmosphere, but we’re all really good sailors and adapt pretty quickly. We’re happy with our lead up to it.
“We’ve got a team of champions, but we need to make it a championship team,” Wierzbowski said.
The first day of sailing for the six teams in the initial selection series for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup was a tale of two halves. The morning session had light winds from the east while the afternoon group got to sail in a 15-knot westerly off Alcatraz Island. Such is the fate of the draw.
But all of the youth sailors were ecstatic after coming off the water. Many of them had never sailed together before, much less an AC45, but they were all buzzing with excitement.
“We had light winds to start but out around Alcatraz it was a great sail,” said 19-year-old Paul Vivian, a floater for South Africa’s i’KaziKati. “We got in lots of maneuvers. It was tricky to get the handling of the boat, but I think the team did much better than expected.”
The South Africans reported reaching 24 knots boatspeed during the exercise. “It was a great feeling to fly a hull,” said Michael Ovenstone, the 22-year-old trimmer.
Lukas Mähr, the 22-year-old wing trimmer for Team Austria, agreed with the South Africans’ sentiment.
“It was great to get the feeling of the boat,” said Mähr, who won a bronze medal as a crew in the 470 class at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami last week before flying to San Francisco.
“We spent a lot of time watching videos of AC45 racing before coming here to figure out the maneuvers,” said Mähr. “The boats have so much power. We just have to focus on the communication. It’s such a big boat, we’re not used to racing on something that big.”
Kyle Langford, one of the ORACLE TEAM USA sailors coaching the youths, said he was impressed by the sailors’ quick ability to pick up the crewing tricks.
“I was riding with the South Africans in the afternoon when there was more breeze and they had some good maneuvers,” said Langford. “They were snapping the gennaker across. It all looked good.”
REDBULL YOUTH SAILING – Today the NZL Youth America’s Cup team has been named!
Officially known as NZL Sailing Team with Emirates Team New Zealand.
The fine young men in the crew are:
Peter Burling – Skipper
Blair Tuke – Tactician
YOUTH SAILING – Five America’s Cup World Series Teams support own youth teams
The line-up for the Selection Series for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup will include 11 national teams, attending the two qualifying sessions in San Francisco from February 9-24.
A British team, the GBR Youth Challenge, has been added to the roster to take the place of the previously invited French Youth Team, who now qualify directly for September’s event after gaining support from the French America’s Cup World Series entry, Energy Team.
“The America’s Cup is the greatest thing you can do in sailing,” said Adam Lees, of the British team. “The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is about getting more people involved in the competition and making it more accessible to young sailors so the next generation is involved early on.”
The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, scheduled September 1-4, 2013, begins with the Selection Series in San Francisco in February. With the goal of ensuring the best of the best are on the starting line of the main event, the Selection Series will narrow the field through two rigorous training workshop and regatta sessions from February 9-15 and February 18-24, 2013.
Roman Hagara (l) and Hans-Peter Steinacher (r), Sports Directors for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. © Balazs Gardi / Red Bull content pool
“The goal of the selection process is two-fold,” said Hans-Peter Steinacher, a double Olympic gold medalist who shares the role of Sports Director for the event with Roman Hagara.
“First, we want all of the teams at the selection series to learn and improve and maximize their potential. At the same time, we must evaluate the crews over the course of the week so that we can invite the top teams to race for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in September. This is such a great chance for these young teams to launch their careers.”
“We will have this one chance to see the youth teams train and compete under high-pressure situations during the selection camp,” agreed Hagara. “It’s a fantastic way to assess who can perform to their best and to select those who deserve to qualify for the main event.”
Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing, China Team and Energy Team have all indicated they are supporting teams for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. Youth crews with the support of an America’s Cup World Series team are eligible for direct entry to September’s event via the Regatta Director.
ORACLE TEAM USA, the current holder of the America’s Cup, conducted its own training camp before Christmas to select which American teams it would support. USA45 Racing (representing the USA), and American Youth Sailing Force (representing San Francisco) will both spend the coming months training for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup under the stewardship of the American Cup defender.
The Selection Series in February will be held on the same AC45 wing sail catamarans the youth crews will race in September. These are also the same boats the America’s Cup teams race in the AC World Series.
Teams participating in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup:
Selection Series Session 1 – February 9-15
AUS – Objective Australia
AUT – Team Austria
DEN – Danish Vikings
GER – STG-NRV Sailing Team
NZL – Full Metal Jacket Racing
RSA – Team i’KaziKati
Selection Series Session 2 – February 18-24
ARG – Argentina Youth Team
GBR – GBR Youth Challenge
ITA – Team Italy powered by Stig
POR – ROFF-Cascais
SUI – Team TILT
Youth crews supported by America’s Cup World Series Teams
CHN – China Team / Name TBC
FRA – Energy Team / Name TBC
NZL – Emirates Team New Zealand / Name TBC
SWE – Artemis Racing / Swedish Youth Challenge
USA – ORACLE TEAM USA / American Youth Sailing Force (SFO)
USA – ORACLE TEAM USA / USA45 Racing (USA)
REDBULL SAILING – The American Youth Sailing Force was formed first and foremost with the goal of representing the United States in the RedBull Youth America’s Cup. The AYSF team represents the highest level of youth sailing in America and aims to prove that with steady determination, hard work and passion young American sailors can be a leading force on the international sailing circuit.
“We intend to utilize the opportunity created by RedBull as a path for the next generation of young American sailors who want to compete in elite sailing events, and to inspire youth sailors across the nation to challenge themselves by setting and attaining ambitious goals. We are the future of sailing, and intend to prove that we are world-class sailors with real dedication and determination.”