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RHKYC proposes Youth Foiling World Cup 2021

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia 7 Sep 23:51 PDT 16 February - 12 March 2021
Persico 69F Revolution. RHKYC Team Agiplast, Lake Garda 2020 © Persico 69F / Studio Borlenghi

News of the recent cancellation Youth America’s Cup (YAC) was, of course, a major disappointment for all concerned. See https://www.sail-world.com/news/231219

YAC was to have been raced in 6.9m foiling monohulls, and with 19 entries from 13 nations was set to be a huge event for New Zealand, complementing the Prada Cup challenger series and America's Cup match superbly. Then the NZ Immigration people stepped in: despite the event being an official part of the America's Cup and being fully funded through sponsorship and entry fees, as well as creating dozens of jobs for New Zealanders, it was not going to get the same exemption status that other America's Cup teams have been granted.

A lot of people have already thrown a lot of cash at this event, so it seems a real shame to just fold the tents and creep away in the night. The YAC was to have been sailed in the newly-developed AC9F, built in New Zealand by Yachting Developments Ltd. "We are bitterly disappointed," says RNZYS Chief Executive, Hayden Porter. "The sailors, boat builders, sponsors plus everyone who has invested their time and passion into the Youth America's Cup event are all devastated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment's (MBIE) decision that this event cannot go ahead.”

“The reasons we were given for not getting the immigration clearance required were that MBIE has not invested directly into this event and that New Zealanders could perform the sailing roles for the international teams. We are struggling to understand how that is possible as it is an international event and teams have to represent their country. Furthermore, it came at no cost to the Government at a time where New Zealand needs this type of event and investment." Does that sound like “It’s not our gig, so we're taking the ball and going home.”?

Ian Cook, RNZYS Commodore and Yard Owner of Yachting Developments (YDL) who were building the AC9F yachts that were to be used, says "The boat design and build project has required a huge amount of financial investment from YDL and other New Zealand marine businesses as well as incredible dedication and many hours being spent by my talented team. It is hard to face the disappointment we all feel with the event no longer going ahead through no fault of our own. It is a big blow to the NZ Marine industry."

As a precursor to the YAC, youth teams have racing the Persico 69F in a series of short, sharp, regattas on Lake Garda – the Persico Revolution events. The P69F is 6.9m LOA and designed to be sailed by three crew. It has been in development for some three years. The AC9F being developed by Yachting Developments Ltd (YDL) is 9m LOA and designed for a crew of four.

With the recent announcement from RNZYS that the New Zealand Government has pulled the rug from under the event, teams have been left hanging in the middle of solid and effortful campaigns without any events to look forward to. Maria Cantero Izquierdo, racing with RHKYC’s Team Agiplast said, “It is time for us all to collaborate and work together to find the best alternative.”

Now, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club is proposing a Youth Foiling World Cup to be held 18 February-12 March 2021, for all the teams who had entered the Youth America’s Cup 2021 – and anyone else too, interested in participating in a completely new event to be raced in the Persico 69F, Waszp and Windfoil, in Hong Kong and hosted by RHKYC. Expressions of interest welcome! Please contact the Sailing Manager at RHKYC, Ailsa Angus: ailsa.angus@rhkyc.org.hk, latest by 10 September 2020. THAT’S JUST TWO DAYS FROM TODAY.

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