Red Bull Youth America’s Cup - Olympic Silver medalist, Peter Burling and the NZL Sailing Team entry
The 10 teams entered in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup received their AC45s today, marking the official beginning of the series created to give youth sailors a pathway to be an America’s Cup sailor.
The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is scheduled Sept. 1-4 on San Francisco Bay, just off the America’s Cup Village, at Marina Green. The 10 teams of national sailors, aged 19-24, represent eight countries: Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, United States. New Zealand and the U.S. have two teams each. Each AC45 has been branded with the familiar Red Bull logo and flags of the representative nations.
'Imagine, all of these 60 sailors would like to be a pro sailor in the future,' said Hans-Peter Steinacher, a Red Bull Youth America’s Cup sports director and former Olympic medalist. 'I’ve spoken with each one of them and their programs they are all focused on being a professional sailor. At least 20 percent of the sailors in this group will be doing a job in the future in the AC or another event.'
The international teams were selected from two sets of trials in February, and the two U.S. teams were selected at trials last November.
The two American teams are led by skippers Charlie Buckingham and Ian Andrewes. Buckingham is a top Laser sailor, he was ranked No. 3 in the world in February, and Andrewes has raced multihulls and other high-performance dinghies such as the Moth, 49er and 18-foot skiffs.
'We’d love to defend our home turf,' said Charlie Buckingham, skipper of USA45 Racing. 'There are lots of talented guys on each team. We have our work cut out for us, but we’ll work hard and represent the U.S. as best we can.'
'We’re feeling stoked and pumped, we’re feeling ready,' said Ian Andrewes, skipper of American Youth Sailing Force. 'We’ve been here a year and a half, and this has been our No. 1 goal. We’re excited, but most of all ready and looking forward to racing.'
The American teams will have their hands full. The international teams include some highly successful sailors, such as Peter Burling of the New Zealand Sailing Team and Bernardo Freitas of the ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team. Burling was the silver medalist in the 49er at last summer’s Olympics and Freitas placed eighth.
Switzerland’s Team Tilt has spent 150 days practicing since last November, while members of Objective Australia made it their goal to learn how to win regattas.
'After February we determined we needed to learn how to win regattas, so we spread across globe, doing Olympic, big boat and one-design regattas,' said skipper Jason Waterhouse. 'We have the world No. 1 Laser sailor (tactician Tom Burton), the best Aussie Nacra sailor (Waterhouse, who finished sixth at the 2013 Nacra 17 Worlds) and the best Moth sailor (Josh McKnight, the 2012 world champion). We’re all prepared and ready to go.'
The teams will spend the coming days getting reacquainted with the AC45, the 45-foot long wing sail catamaran that was used in the America’s Cup World Series. As Steinacher pointed out, 'Now the crews are sailing alone, before they had a coach on board. Now things start for real.'