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Youth Foiling Gold Cup - Dutch beat Argentina in last-gasp Garda victory

by 69F Sailing 16 Aug 15:01 PDT 9-14 August 2022
69F Youth Foiling Gold Cup © Kevin Rio

The Dutch team, Team DutchSail - Janssen de Jong mixed, rose to the pressure to win Act 4 of the 69F Youth Foiling Gold Cup 2022 in Torbole on Lake Garda.

After six days of intense competition across 48 races in perfect medium airs conditions, the outcome of the regatta all came down to the final double-points race. Team Black Salmon Argentina were leading by two points, which would mean that to be beaten the Dutch would need to get two boats between them.

At one point in the race the Argentinians moved ahead of the Dutch but failed to capitalise on their advantage. When boats are foiling at high speeds, making decisions on the fly is never easy. The Dutch regained the upper hand and flew across the line as victors of Torbole.

The 69F Race Director, Dede De Luca, said this was the highest standard of competition he had yet seen on the 69F race circuit. "We give the sailors different course configurations which means they are always learning," he said. "They are really smart in adapting to the changes. It used to be that the most important thing was going fast and manoeuvring properly, but now everyone is doing that. So now we are starting to see that good tactics are the key difference, the racing is coming down to the finer details."

De Luca said Lake Garda delivered foiling perfection. "Sometimes the wind can be too strong in Torbole. We would have struggled if it was blowing 25 knots or more, but we were fortunate to have flat water and winds of 10 to 15 knots all regatta, which made it a very good week. Everyone was smiling, even the ones who finished further back in the races."

The Youth Foiling Gold Cup also likes to reward good, clean racing on these busy, high-speed race tracks. A 'Fairplay' bonus point goes to the team with the fewest penalties, although for Torbole there were three teams all tied for the prize as all three had avoided any race penalties throughout the regatta. They were the second, third and fourth placed teams overall, respectively Team Black Salmon Argentina, Clean Sailors Youth Racing Team and Okalys Youth Project. De Luca explained the reasoning behind the bonus. "We introduced the Fairplay Bonus for safety reasons, to stay apart from the others, to avoid collisions. It encourages teams to think in advance, to have a clear understanding of the rules, of the game. It means you must be a complete sailor, something we are proud of in the 69F. It's not just about foiling at high speed, we also do displacement races, and the boat encourages good seamanship, including hoisting and dropping gennaker like you do in a normal boat."

Next the Youth Foiling Gold Cup moves on to the Grand Final in Barcelona. "The Grand Final for the youth sailors will be a very high level event, inviting the eight top teams who have displayed the best performance during the year. It's going to be challenging on the sea, you can have waves in Barcelona, but we have seen the boat can race and sail in wavy conditions. We are going to make some changes to the race format so the teams that make it on to the podium will have to have worked very hard for their reward."

With America's Cup teams starting to show an interest in 69F competition next year, De Luca predicts the level will go even higher in 2023. "I think the Cup teams are seeing the Persico 69F is the ideal platform for training up young sailors to work as a team on a foiling monohull before they step up to the AC40 and AC75 monohulls. It will give them a great understanding of the communication and teamwork that is required when you're foiling and racing at high speeds."

For the young sailors who have just competed at the Youth Foiling Gold Cup in Torbole, they are gaining valuable experience that could launch them into a glittering professional racing career in the next few years.

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