Ten teams have qualified for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup (Sept. 1-4).
Team: Objective Australia(1)
Yacht Club: Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club
Skipper: Jason Waterhouse (21, Newport, Australia)
Team: Next World Energy
Yacht Club: TBC
Team: STG/NRV Youth Team(1)
Yacht Club: NRV (Norddeutscher Regatta Verein)
Helmsman: Erik Heil (23, Kiel, Germany)
Country: New Zealand
Team: NZL Sailing Team with Emirates Team New Zealand(2)
Yacht Club: Yachting New Zealand
Skipper: Peter Burling (22, Auckland, New Zealand)
Country: New Zealand
Team: Full Metal Jacket Racing(1)
Yacht Club: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Skipper: William Tiller (23, Auckland, New Zealand)
Team: ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team(1)
Yacht Club: Naval Club of Cascais
Skipper: Bernardo Freitas (22, Cascais, Portugal)
Team: Artemis Racing/Swedish Youth Challenge(2)
Yacht Club: GKSS (Royal Swedish Yacht Club)
Skipper: Charlie Ekberg (23, Stockholm, Sweden)
Team: Team Tilt(1)
Yacht Club: Société Nautique de Genève (SNG)
Skipper: Lucien Cujean (23, Versoix, Switzerland)
Team: ORACLE TEAM USA/American Youth Sailing Force(2)
Yacht Club: TBC
Sailing Team Manager: Ian Andrewes (23, San Francisco, Calif.)
Team: ORACLE TEAM USA/USA45 Racing(2)
Yacht Club: San Diego Yacht Club
Skipper: Charlie Buckingham (23, Newport Beach, Calif.)
Notes: (1) Indicates team’s participation through Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Selection Series
(2) indicates team’s participation through America’s Cup World Series team
The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is a new event under the umbrella of the 34th America’s Cup and is intended to afford young, talented sailors a clear pathway towards competing for one of the most prestigious trophies in sport – the America’s Cup.
The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is scheduled Sept. 1-4, 2013, in San Francisco, during the break between the start of the 2013 America’s Cup Finals and the conclusion of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series.
In years past youth sailors have had a difficult task ascending the hierarchy of an America’s Cup team. Youth sailors simply weren’t viewed as having enough experience to compete at the high level demanded by America’s Cup crews. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup aims to shatter that glass ceiling.
The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is open to national teams of six sailors, aged 19 to 24 in 2013. Each crew must hold a valid passport of the country their team represents. Equipment, including the AC45 platform and wing sail – the same as used in the America’s Cup World Series – will be supplied to participating teams.
Teams had two different opportunities to qualify for the RBYAC. Teams that gained the backing of an official America’s Cup World Series team automatically qualified for the September finale, upon approval from the regatta director. Five teams took this path to the finale.
Five other teams qualified through a selection series in February 2013, comprised of two seven-day sessions. Red Bull Sports directors Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, double Olympic Gold medalists, selected the teams for the finale based on their performance at the selection series.
“This is a great opportunity to observe the youth teams train and compete under high-pressure situations during the selection camp,” said Hagara, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Tornado catamaran. “It’s a fantastic way to assess who can perform to their best and to select those who deserve to qualify for the main event.”
Of the 10 teams in the finale, two are American teams selected by ORACLE TEAM USA, the reigning America’s Cup champion. The two teams are USA45 Racing (representing the U.S.) and American Youth Sailing Force (representing the San Francisco Bay Area).
“It’s honestly the most amazing feeling ever,” said USA45 Racing trimmer and team manager Jacob La Dow (San Diego, Calif./St. Mary’s College of Maryland). “It’s a dream come true.”
“The goal of the selection process is two-fold. First, we want all of the teams at the selection series to learn and improve and maximize their potential. At the same time, we must evaluate the crews over the course of the week so that we can invite the top teams to race for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in September. This is such a great chance for these young teams to launch their careers.”
“These boats are a handful for the most experienced, professional sailors. So it’s important that we take the right steps to allow everyone a chance to learn, develop and succeed as we move towards the racing at the end of the week and the eventual selection for September.”
“The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is the best chance for young sailors to make history. We will select the best of the best.”
“The first training session went very, very well. It was the first time in history that the young guns were allowed on the boats. We weren’t going to let them sail on the other side of the Bay Bridge or in more than 15 knots, but we ended up doing that on the very first day.”
“We will have this one chance to see the youth teams train and compete under high-pressure situations during the selection camp. It’s a fantastic way to assess who can perform to their best and to select those who deserve to qualify for the main event.”
“The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is meant to be a way for youth sailors to show their talents and make it to the pro sailing ranks. They should work hard, but also have fun and enjoy themselves. This is some of the best and most fun racing I’ve done in years. I’m sure they’ll enjoy it too.”
“My pathway to the America’s Cup was one of good luck. When I was a youth sailor there wasn’t a clear pathway to the Cup. But the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup gives these guys a great opportunity, and the game’s opened up to much wider participation. The youths’ level of organization is impressive.”
“The Olympics used to be the avenue to get into professional sailing and the America’s Cup. But now the Cup is becoming more accessible for youth sailors, and that’s great for the sport.”
“In dinghies you’re either crewing or helming, so there’s a lot more helmsmen out there these days. I’m listed as the tactician, but I’m also the bow assist or pit assist. It all goes so fast on the AC45 that you can’t do just one thing. Sailors with multiple skills will be very valuable.”
“My first regatta in an AC45 was at Naples in April 2012. I had a few days of practice before racing began. The AC45 is like a big dinghy, the skills from the little boats translate to the bigger boats. It’s a bit of the same feeling on an AC72, just a bit twitchier. Where I’ve gotten involved quickly is with the feel and setup of the boat. It’s different from a dinghy, but not as bad once you get your head around it all.”
“Yesterday in the big breeze, around 17 knots, it was more difficult than I expected. Every time we completed one maneuver we had to prepare for the next, there was no time to catch your breath.”
“We want to push the AC45s, but yesterday we had to decide whether to keep pushing or stop and watch the 72s sail by. At home we’d say it was a ‘problem of luxury.’”
“It was a brilliant week. We didn’t expect to be first, but we stayed grounded through the week and kept improving. We really improved our maneuvers and team work. In the end, we learned not to talk so much. Everyone learned to do their job and did it.”
“It’s been very exciting to come here and get an opportunity to race the AC45. It’s just fantastic. But at the same time it’s disappointing that we only get one week here. We’d like to have more time.”
“It was a very enjoyable week. We loved the opportunity to get here. Sailing AC45s is spectacular, especially when the breeze is up. It’s so much fun. I think we’ve developed well as a team, gotten stronger and stronger. We’ve definitely come together and I hope we get selected.”
“It was a mind blowing week. We learned so much. It’s our first time racing together as a crew, but we gelled well. We would’ve liked better results, but our preparation was sound.”
“We had light winds to start but out around Alcatraz it was a great sail. We got in lots of maneuvers. It was tricky to get the handling of the boat, but I think the team did much better than expected.
“It was great to get the feeling of the boat. We spent a lot of time watching videos of AC45 racing before coming here to figure out the maneuvers. The boats have so much power. We just have to focus on the communication. It’s such a big boat, we’re not used to racing on something that big.”
“We’re very happy to be here. We have big expectations this week. We’ve done some practicing at home and expect a good result this week.”
“It’s my first time sailing a catamaran, but I’ve been speaking with Nathan (Outteridge), who’s a friend of mine and I don’t think it will be that difficult a transition. 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.”
The AC45 is the “quarterhorse” design created specifically for use in the America’s Cup World Series and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.
Stout and nimble, the AC45 is a one-design. That is, all the major elements of the yacht – such as hulls, daggerboards, rudders, and wing sail – are identical. With all of the crews sailing identical yachts a greater emphasis is placed on boathandling and tactics.
The AC45 features a wing sail that stands 70 feet tall. The catamaran was designed to introduce America’s Cup crews to the intricacies of wing sail racing. Wing sails are not uncommon technology, but they are “new equipment” in the realm of the America’s Cup.
In the AC World Series the boats are sailed by a crew of five and it’s not uncommon to see the sailors doubled over on the trampoline in between races, their chests heaving as they try to catch their breath. If you’re not in peak physical shape you’ll have trouble getting around the racecourse.
In the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup the boats will be sailed by a crew of six, the extra crew owing to the physical nature of the boat.
Forward sails include a jib, for use when sailing upwind, and a gennaker, for high-speed sailing off the wind.
AC45 Principal Dimensions
Length 13.45 m (44 feet)
Maximum Beam 6.9 m (22.6 feet)
Mast Height 21.5 m (70.5 feet)
Maximum Draft 2.7 m (8.8 feet)
Displacement 1,400 kg (3,086 lbs.)
Wing sail area 83.5 sqm (900 sq ft)
Jib area 48 sqm (516 sq ft)
Gennaker Area 125 sqm (1,345 sq ft)