Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 is being held in Porto, Portugal, from July 25 to 28. American Youth Sailing Force (The Force) is excited that team member, Ben Lezin, will compete on Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi team skippered by world champion sailor, Morgan Larson. Lezin will join the team for Act five . The Force sees this event as great preparation for their own racing in September.
Extreme 40 Fray
Santa Cruz native, Ben Lezin never thought a text message from world renowned sailor and family friend, Morgan Larson, simply reading, 'call me,' would ever lead to racing Extreme 40's in Portugal. But, being in the right place at the right time never hurts. Larson relates, 'During my career I regularly came home to Santa Cruz and often had the opportunity to work with the junior sailors and Ben was one of those kids who had the focus and determination to take his sailing somewhere some day.' And this week, it's Porto.
The unassuming Lezin, believes that, 'Training on fast multi-hulls, sailing the AC45’s, exercising specifically for sailing on those boats, and being pushed by my teammates has been an invaluable experience and something that I imagine is good preparation for sailing on Extreme 40’s.'
Indeed, these skills and more are what led Larson to reach-out to Ben. 'We wanted someone fit who could not only be an asset to us in the often physical conditions of Porto but also somebody that could contribute tactically. Ben has been training quite hard for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup (RBYAC) and we know that he will find the Extreme 40 quite similar to the AC45.'
Larson continues, 'With the confined course in Porto everyone on the boat will be overlapping positions. After each maneuver there isn't always time to move into position for the next one so being able to adapt and sail the boat a bit more 'free-style' will be the key to success. I believe Ben's fitness and time training on the 45 will really be an asset to us. He will be doing much of the bow work which includes helping with the gennaker hoist and deploy and furl. At the same time feeding me tactical information on the course. At times he will be tailing and grinding the gennaker as well. We aren't the youngest crew and I know Ben will have to pick up a bit of our slack!'
Porto's Act five, arguably, has become a breeding ground for up and coming sailors. This year there are no less than five other sailors from RBYAC teams racing here. Lezin though, remains focused, 'The competition should be great and it is indeed exciting to be racing against other sailors that will be competing in the RBYAC. It will be interesting to see how the other youth sailors perform with the professionals. Having said that, I am going to Porto to sail with Alinghi and my goal is to sail my best for them not to watch AYSF’s competition for the RBYAC.'
For Larson, RBYAC sailors represent the future and will have, 'More than just an impact...these talented young sailors are using the opportunity that the RBYAC is giving them. It is obvious to me that the future of the sport has awakened and it won't be long until they are showing us the way.'
Alinghi goes into this series in first place with only one point separating them from second and three points from third. Good Luck Ben, Morgan and the whole Alinghi team!