Round two of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup qualifiers got underway with a fitness test and Team Tilt from Switzerland passed with flying colours. Following the gruelling physical challenge, the young team was at last able to get their hands on the much-anticipated AC45.
Team Tilt in action
These Red Bull Youth America’s Cup qualifiers will result in the fleet that will race the finals in September. The qualifiers are based on a number of criteria: team performance, team spirit, the team’s training programme, fitness and level of ability.
Team Tilt, coached by Arnaud Psarofaghis, proved that training pays dividends as the team flew through the round of fitness tests; the Skipper Lucien Cujean even broke a record in the process. 'Team Tilt is physically well prepared and has a good team spirit,' said Hans-Peter Steinacher, sports director of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. 'We tested the team on the grinders and one of the Swiss sailors beat all the Team Oracle records, we have a new record holder!' Tactician Jocelyn Keller also made his mark. 'I use this grinder every day,' said Jimmy Spithill, skipper of Oracle Team USA, 'And I have never managed to break it, Jocelyn bust it in the first 20 minutes. These guys are really strong!'
Swiss Team Tilt
The first day of sailing was cancelled due to conditions on the Bay, but the Swiss team at last got their chance yesterday and sailed two sessions in eight to fifteen knots. 'It’s a big day for Swiss sailing,' said Alex Schneiter, Team Tilt leader. 'It’s the first time a fully Swiss team has sailed an AC45 with a solid wing-mast! We have a lot of work ahead of us, but the team did a great job, they sailed well, manoeuvred the boat well and made progress. It was a fantastic day on the water with Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop. The grins on the lads’ faces said it all as they stepped off the boat!'
Lucien Cujean recounted his first impressions of sailing the famous AC45: 'It is a formidable machine, it is really powerful and very sensitive on the helm. We are going to spend our time ashore working hard on analysing the footage to better our performance so that we improve for the next time we get on the boat. What we are experiencing here in San Francisco is absolutely incredible!'
Team Tilt mainsail trimmer, now wing mast trimmer, Jérémy Bachelin commented on the transition: 'The wing mast is relatively simple to trim, but you need a bit of time to adapt and learn it, it is very different from a soft sail and physically speaking, it is really tough!'
Weather conditions for the next round of qualifiers is set fair and Team Tilt will continue to train on the AC45 during practice races. The results of these races will count towards the team’s selection.
Team Tilt website