Changing fortunes for second Red Bull Youth America’s Cup selection series

Skipper Bernardo Freitas (left) and the ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget).


Members of the Arg Youth Team from Argentina are shown the top handle grinding test (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget)


A member of Great Britain's youth team in the midst of the top handle test (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget).


A member of the Arg Youth Team takes the grinding test on the variable resistance machine (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget).


Switzerland's Team Tilt listens to a briefing (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget).


ORACLE TEAM USA sailor Darren Bundock gives a presentation on sailing the AC45 (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget).


The six teams of the second Red Bull Youth America's Cup selection series (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget).


The second Red Bull Youth America’s Cup selection series commenced today with teams from Argentina, Great Britain, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland in San Francisco with the hope of being selected for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup final in September.

Similar to the first selection series last week, the youth sailors, aged 19-24, went through an orientation process today where they were introduced to some of the sailors/coaches they’ll work with this week as well as the AC45 catamarans they’ll sail.

“We’re very happy to be here,” said Bernardo Freitas, skipper of the ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team from Portugal. “We have big expectations this week. We’ve done some practicing at home and expect a good result this week.”

Freitas sailed at the London-Weymouth Olympic Regatta last summer in the 49er and finished 8th in his first Olympics. America’s Cup World Series sailors such as Chris Draper (Prada Challenge), Nathan Outteridge (Artemis Racing) and Peter Burling (Team Korea) have jumped into the AC45 from the 49er, and Freitas is expecting a smooth transition.

“It’s my first time sailing a catamaran, but I’ve been speaking with Nathan, who’s a friend of mine and I don’t think it will be that difficult a transition,” said Freitas. “The reactions are similar to that of a 49er, but you have to adjust your timing. But the 49er is more difficult in the windy conditions because it is more unstable. You can’t control it; it controls you.”

Freitas should have an enjoyable week learning the AC45.

Today’s orientation also saw the sailors put through the dreaded fitness test. During the first selection series, there were many jokes made about the fitness test, much of the time at the expense of the Danish Youth Vikings. Unknowingly, the crew gobbled down some “American-sized burritos” before the test, which includes five minutes on a variable resistance grinding machine. Needless to say, some of the sailors had their burritos come back up shortly after the test concluded.

The weather this week looks to be a challenge. Principal Race Officer John Craig is determined to get in the 18 races in the schedule, but that could be a challenge given the forecast. Rain and strong winds are expected tomorrow, and could be in the cards for later in the week as well.

In a coincidence of the calendar, seven of the approximately 40 sailors at this week’s selection series will celebrate their birthday. None of the sailors in the first selection series had birthdays. Today we shout out to Portugal’s Freitas, who turns 23, and Italian trimmer Jas Farnetti, who turns 22.

“I get eight more hours to celebrate,” said Freitas, who was serenaded with the Portuguese version of “Happy Birthday” from his teammates at the end of the day. “The calls from home started coming in last night and today I have gotten a lot of congratulations for making it here.”