The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup base was a hive of activity yesterday as the final preparations were completed in time for the arrival of the ten teams today. Piers 30/32 will host the teams and their respective AC45s for the next few weeks in the lead up the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, scheduled to begin at Marina Green on Sept. 1.
Having qualified in these boats earlier in the year, the teams, made up of sailors ages 19 to 24, are no strangers to the AC45 catamarans. That said, there is still plenty to learn and the next few weeks will see the sailors adhering to a rigorous training schedule to ensure they have mastered the equipment before the competition kicks off.
RBYAC Operations Manager Glyn Davies has been working on preparing the boats for the teams’ arrivals, as on-water training will begin on Monday. “Basically we’ve taken the boats to a certain level where they could sail them tomorrow if they had to…now what we’re doing is teaching the teams how to take them to the next level,” Davies said.
That education will include a series of technical lectures and practical demonstrations, such as a capsize drill on Monday, a run-through of how to lift and assemble the wing and a demonstration on how to take the boat on and off the mooring.
As Davies explains, sailing an AC45 is a unique challenge for even the most experienced sailors, so this extra training is essential. “Handling a 40-foot catamaran is one thing. It’s not that hard… but handling a 45-foot catamaran with a wing is a completely different thing,” Davies said.
The teams assembled for the first time this afternoon in Pier 23 where Chief Operating Officer Andy Hindley gave the new arrivals an in-depth run down of what the next few weeks would hold and introduced the key people behind the event.
Regatta Director Iain Murray gave a brief speech, welcoming the teams and ensuring that the career-advancing aspect of the event was not forgotten. “This is a fantastic opportunity for you guys. Make no mistake; the bigger teams are watching us closely. I’m sure some of you will find yourselves in the America’s Cup in the not too distant future,” said Murray.
The sailors were then taken to the Media Centre where they were given a “Cup Date” and had team photos taken with the America’s Cup. Day one ended with a Q&A session with Tucker Thompson and Andy Green, followed by a run-down of tomorrow’s schedule, which begins with a lecture at 8am.
It will certainly be an action-packed month for the young sailors, culminating in what is sure to be an event not to be missed.