by Ross Tibbits
The American Youth Sailing Force (The Force) in San Francisco, California, has been practicing hard on the AC45 and making significant fitness progress with the help of Oracle Team USA’s trainers. They know you can’t win without both of those elements working in sync.
American Youth Sailing Force (The Force)
The AC45’s demanding nature requires time on the water practicing in conditions like those that will be present during the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup (RBYAC). Team Manager, Ian Andrewes notes, 'The boats are pretty wild in all wind conditions but when the breeze is on, the boat becomes a different animal. You have to be on top of everything and the forgiveness factor is way down. One small mistake can ruin everything.'
This is why it is so important to have an Oracle Team USA (OTUSA) coach on board when The Force is practicing on the extreme catamarans. Force member Cooper Dressler sees huge benefits in this, 'We generally sail with our OTUSA Coach, Darren Bundock. Having Darren riding on the back allows him to observe our crew work and then provide really useful feedback during our de-briefs when we get back on shore. This is a really important part of our program.'
Yet, without an extreme physical training program, time on the AC45s is wasted. OTUSA coach, Ryan West and others have worked with The Force for the last six months to assure their physical ability while sailing the AC45’s. Andrewes continues, 'Fitness is key obviously, our access to not only the gym on Pier 80 but the trainers as well is huge. This is probably the most sophisticated and technologically advanced gym for sailing in the world and these trainers are so knowledgeable about all aspects of sailing these boats and are able to train and condition us so specifically. Besides access to the AC45, this is the single greatest asset our team has going forward into September.'
In the weeks to come, The Force will wear many hats. Not only will they be training to sail the AC45s, but come August, they will be preparing, launching, sailing, and repairing their own AC45. This tremendous responsibility falls on a team that is more mentally and physically prepared than ever before. They know what’s needed to win.