by Sara Tucker
Team Aqua competing in Cagliari
Chris Bake's Team Aqua are the current RC 44 Champions and offered a position at the first event of 2013 to members of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme.
Besides being one of the principal contenders of the Tour, Team Aqua uses its boat as a platform to promote an eco-friendly message. The team supports the World Land Trust and 2041, an organisation founded by polar explorer, environmental leader and public speaker Robert Swan OBE, the first person in history to walk to both the North and South Poles, and who is dedicated to the protection of the Poles. Team Aqua offsets its carbon footprint and promotes sustainable development.
The link to Team Aqua is through YTP graduate Cameron Appleton who has been helmsman/tactician and Team Aqua project manager for the past six years. 'We have been, for a few years now, supporting young sailors from the UK as this is where Chris is based.
'In 2013 I wanted to open this up to the nations that we are all from on board Team Aqua as we are a multinational group. Our goal is to give a platform to the younger sailors who don’t otherwise have the opportunity to get involved in established teams; looking around the sailing world most teams don't have much turn-over this makes it hard for these young talented sailors to be involved. It’s never easy as a young sailor to make the contacts and gain the trust to be included.
Team Aqua second overall in Oman
'As Andy and I are both from New Zealand I want to make the opportunity available to the Squadron's Youth Training Programme as we both got so much from it and started our careers there. This year’s scholarship is to be part of Team Aqua for our next event in Oman from mid-January – February 2013. We were looking for a young sailor to come into the program, learn and help us prepare the boat and then support us while racing.'
With over 10 senior members applying and each displaying the necessary competence and skills the decision was made to select Michael Boucher.
The 19 year old joined the Youth Training Programme three years ago and has represented the Squadron both Nationally and Internationally at youth events including being part of winning team at the Harken Cup in Sydney last year and runner-up at the 2012 Governor’s Cup in California.
Appleton commented on his selection, 'We selected Michael because he would add a lot of value to our programme and brings plenty of sailing skills plus other skills that will benefit the whole team. It was great to have Michael join us in Oman, his positive attitude worked well with our team. Michael is set for a great future in this sport and we look forward to assisting him in his next challenge.
Michael Boucher (2nd from left) pictured with David Hazard and team winners of the 2012 Harken Cup, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club Sydney (Image: Damian Devine)
Michael was in Sydney competing in back-to-back youth match racing events when he received his acceptance email, 'When I got the opportunity to get involved with Team Aqua I was so excited because working at North Sails I get to see a small side of grand prix sailing and this will give me the full picture, as well as getting to know some of the best sailors in the sport.'
On returning to New Zealand Michael commented 'It was a really good opportunity to work and sail with Team Aqua. I learnt a lot and had a really good time with Cam and the team. Being involved with the RC44’s gave me insight into what it’s like to be a part of a world class professional sailing team. It’s great that Team Aqua is giving back to young sailors from the RNZYS Youth Training Programme, giving us opportunities that we would not normally get. I hope more members get to be involved.'
Coach of the RNZYS Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme Guy Pilkington, 'It’s great Michael was selected and obviously fantastic for the youth training programme as a whole. We can’t wait to hear all about it and let Michael share his experience and knowledge with us. Our thanks to Chris Bake and Cameron again, for a magic experience.'
RC44 Oman Cup 2013 presented by Oman Shipping Company
Overall Fleet Race Results after eight races
1 Katusha – 1 1 3 5 1 3 1 13 – 28
2 Team Aqua – 2 2 14DSQ 1 6 2 7 1 (3) – 38
3 Artemis Racing – 12 10 1 7 2 1 4 3 – 40
4 Team Nika – 5 8 8 3 5 4 2 6 – 41
5 Synergy Russian Sailing Team – 13 12 4 6 3 10 3 2 – 53
6 RC44 Team CEEREF – 7 11 2 4 9 9 11 4 – 57
7 Ironbound – 4 6 7RDG 12 12 5 6 8 – 60
8 Aegir Racing – 6 3 7 8 7 11 9 10 – 61
9 RUS7 Sail Racing – 3 7 10 11 10 8 5 5 (3) – 62
10 Lunajets Aleph Racing Team – 10 4 9 2 8 7 12 11 – 63
11 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team – 9 13 11 9 4 6 8 7 – 67
12 Team Italia – 8 5 6 10 13 13 13 9 – 77
13 MAG Racing – 11 9 5 13 11 12 10 12 – 83
Team Aqua - Visit Team Aqua online at www.teamaqua.org
RNZYS Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme
History and Background
Jerry Clayton BMW – International – Watts & Hughes – Telecom – Harken – Whiting Power Systems – Western Mailing – Soar Printing – Yachting Developments – Doyle Sailmakers – Boating New Zealand Magazine Elliott Marine – Donaghys – Id Sign – Hella Marine – Southern Spars – KZ Marine – General Marine Services – High Modulus – PredictWind
The RNZYS Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme is now in its 25th year. The programme owns and operates 10 individually sponsored Elliott 7 metre high performance training keelboats with four crew onboard; helm, main, trimmer and bowman. Crews are supported by up to six chaseboat/reserve crews. The Elliott 7’s were launched in June 2010 and these new ‘sport’ type keelboats offer both spinnakers and gennakers.
Young sailors between the ages of 15 – 21 years of age can apply at any time (application forms online at www.rnzys.org.nz / youth programme). Training begins in May each year and is for a period of 1 year. Trainee’s can/usually apply for consecutive years.