by Ross Tibbits
The American Youth Sailing Force (The Force) training program first phase concluded this past weekend with the final two days of AC45 training provided by Oracle Team USA (OTUSA). With OTUSA’s withdrawal of support, the team is on its own for the next phase of training. The Force will be relying exclusively on the SL33 and a new physical fitness program to prepare themselves for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.(San Fransico, California June 17, 2013)
In last weekend’s moderate September-like weather, The Force underwent hours of intensive training on the AC45. 'This past weekend was once again incredible sailing the 45,' said Force member, Cooper Dressler. 'In the breeze, the boat picks up and hauls, akin to a turbocharged engine that purrs like a kitten.' Things can go wrong and he talks about the physicality needed on the boat, 'The AC45 is exceptionally dialed-in and a joy to sail in breeze...as long as you are fit enough to pull its strings.'
Fellow teammate Evan Sjostedt knows that timing on every maneuver is crucial, 'Hoists and douses must be perfect, since being late on a hoist can make or break a bear away. The team treated every lap like a race, and pushed the timing as much as possible to simulate … when there are nine other AC45's on the same course.'
The team has moved beyond how to do the maneuvers. Their focus is on how to do them better and faster. Evan continues, 'We are learning how to push the boat in a race - constantly refining every maneuver, figuring out all the tiny changes to shave seconds off.' Teammate David Liebenberg adds, 'We are trying to iron out the details of all of the maneuvers and how to conserve energy. No one has figured out how to best sail the boats with six people, but we are almost there.'
Cooper Dressler, David Liebenberg, Ian Andrewes, Tommy Pastalka, Solomon Krevans, Evan Sjostedt, Ben Lezin, Michael Menninger - AC45 Training
It was clear by the end of the day on Sunday just how far this team had come since its first encounter with an AC45 last November. They looked sharp and ready to go another round when practice was called for the day.
In this next training phase without OTUSA support, The Force is sailing three days a week on the SL33 catamaran that we’ve chartered for the next two months. It’s the same boat we’ve been alternating with the AC45, but now we’ll be using it to primarily work on two boat tactics with the other US team. The Force is also starting a new physical fitness program now that they won’t have the OTUSA trainers to work with every day. Strength and conditioning is going to be key to muscling these wicked fast catamarans around the course. Take a look at our new video on our exercise program:
The Force is also working hard on raising the money to reach the starting line of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. They are planning fundraisers, engaging in crowd source funding and signing new sponsors. Their next fundraiser is at the Golden Gate Yacht Club on June 21. Cooper is excited about making contact with team supporters and he hopes that, 'aside from gaining support for our team, we can raise more excitement among the Bay Area sailing community for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup.'
Beyond the ever-important fundraising, The Force is moving ahead with their summer outreach program that includes educational efforts at the Treasure Island Sailing Center and the National Maritime Historic Park's Hyde St. Pier. Cooper says, 'Outreach is highly important to our team, and although we are training and striving to win this competition, we refuse to lose sight of how important it is to pass on the stoke of sailing to younger generations as well as those who don't have the means to get out on the water themselves.'