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American Youth Sailing Force ready for battle at Youth America's Cup

by Vince Casalaina on 11 Jan 2013
American Youth Sailing Force campaigns for RedBull Youth America’s Cup Erik Simonson
The American Youth Sailing Force (AYSF), representing the City of San Francisco in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup (RBYAC), is determined to beat Team America and the 10 competing international youth teams this September. AYSF’s single-minded focus to win includes training with Oracle Team USA (OTUSA), sailing and racing various high-performance yachts and pursuing an ambitious fundraising effort. Racing for the RBYAC takes place September 1-4, 2013.

Team Manager, Ian Andrewes (age 22), relates, 'Access to the physical training program at OTUSA’s Pier 80 has blown open my whole idea of what’s possible. I’ve always been fit, but the level these guys are at and the level we are now being pushed to, is something completely different. Our team is making this a large part of our focus.'

'OTUSA’s coaches Philippe Preste, Darren Bundock and others are phenomenal,' according to teammate Tommy Pastalka (age 21). 'The debriefs at the base are hugely helpful. The feedback from Philippe et al, ensures that we know where corrections need to be made and the proper way to affect those changes. It will take more than a few days to reach our goals but with the support of OTUSA we are confident we will reach them.' The team plans three days of coaching and 20 days of sailing monthly.

Matching the team’s physical training with a boat that pushes their limits as far as the AC45 is vital. 'We plan on mainly sailing the SL33 (in our spring training program),' says Evan Sjostedt (age 19), 'this is the closest catamaran to an AC45, enough for Emirates Team New Zealand to buy two as training platforms for their America’s Cup program.'

Skiff sailing also plays an impressive role. Pastalka continues, 'We’ve focused quite a bit of our time on Aussie 18s because they reward strength and efficient crew communication, both of which are major factors that we have identified as strongly related to our success in the RBYAC.'


Physical and mental challenges aside, AYSF seeks to raise significant financial support to fund training regimens, racing objectives and various operational expenses. Visit American Youth Sailing Force to learn more about AYSF and support their remarkable efforts.

Team Roster:

Ian Andrewes (Team Manager) 22
David Leibenberg 20
Michael Menninger 23
Tommy Pastalka 21
Matt Pistay 22
Michael Radziejowski 20
Evan Sjostedt 19

Watch the AYSF produced music video that that includes footage of the team sailing in the OTUSA
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