Red Bull Australia and NZ MD Jason Sargent joined Yachting Australia CEO Phil Jones today, in wishing Objective Australia Team members all the best in their preparations for the upcoming Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. Objective Australia is the team that will represent Australia in this upcoming inaugural series.
Objective Australia Media Launch
The event, an initiative of Red Bull, is the curtain raiser to the America’s Cup and will be sailed in the AC45 Class boats on San Francisco Bay from 1st to 4th September.
Three things mark this event as a standout; firstly the crews are all country of origin, returning to the original America’s Cup approach. The second is that the event is for youth teams 18-24 years of age. Finally, this is a fleet racing event, where the 10 country competitors will be head to head on the line in the exceptionally fast and exciting AC45 Catamarans that have been racing around the world for the past three years.
Raced on a tight and fast circuit, close to the shore and with the boats covered in cameras and telemetry gear, this is an event designed to maximise impact for spectators. The One Design boats mean that the first over the line is the winner.
The Australian team qualified for the event in February, and have since been individually competing internationally. Some of the team are beginning the journey towards Olympic Selection for 2016 and have been competing successfully in the many northern hemisphere regattas. Some are journeyman competitors, participating in the many top level sailing events around the world for various classes.
When they come together in a weeks’ time in San Francisco though, all thoughts are focussed on preparing for what all of them see as being the biggest event of their lives.
Objective Australia join nine other teams from the US (x2), Germany, France, New Zealand (x2), Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland. Five of those teams have qualified through the February series, the other five as part of existing America’s Cup teams.
Over the past six weeks or so the existing AC45s have been brought into strict One Design compliance ensuring that no boat is favoured over another. All teams will begin with a familiarisation period where they effectively get their racing licenses in these boats. AC45s typically race at speeds between 18 and 35 knots (33-65kmh) and are powered by a wing mainsail as opposed to the traditional fabric sails. They are an incredibly physically demanding boat for the six crew members and require precision timing for all their manoeuvres.
Once mastered, the crew can focus on positioning the boat well in San Francisco’s notoriously windy and current affected waterways.
The team have a little under a month to properly bond, acclimatise, perfect the handling of the boat and get ready for what will be the biggest event of their lives to date.
The Objective Australia team are well up to the task though, between them they have four World Championships, countless National Championships and many are ranked at the top in their classes in the world including world Laser no1 Tom Burton.
The sailing team consists of:
Jason Waterhouse, 22 – Newport NSW. Skipper.
Tom Burton, 23 – Baulkham Hills, NSW
Keiran Searle, 23 – Lismore, NSW
Ted Hackney, 23 – Randwick NSW
Josh McKnight, 22 – Sydney, NSW
Luke Parkinson, 23 – Subiaco, WA
James Wierzbowski, 21 – Melbourne, Vic
Jasper 'Fang' Warren, 24 – Albany, WA
In addition, the team will has been coached and managed by Traks Gordon.
The team is privately funded by Team Principal, Tony Walls, who is the founder and CEO of Objective Corporation, an ASX listed Technology Company.
This is the first Australian Team to compete in an America’s Cup event since Syd Fischer sent a bunch of youth sailors to New Zealand in 2000. While the Young Australia challenge didn’t get past the elimination series it was the incubator for so many of today’s successful Australian sailors including the now America’s Cup wining skipper James Spithill.
In fact, in all the America’s Cup teams competing this year, some 40 percent are Australian Sailors. Yet there is no Australian team. Yachting Australia are seeing the Objective Australia campaign as the siren call for a new surge of interest in the America’s Cup. In this, the 30th Anniversary year of Australia II’s historic victory in Newport they are hoping that the new breed of America’s Cup sailors will be taking on the world in San Francisco – and winning.