Double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher sailed the first Red Bull Youth America’s Cup-branded AC45F catamaran to arrive in Bermuda – an exciting milestone in the countdown to the second edition of the event, upcoming in June. Twelve teams of youth sailors will battle it out on the super-fast boats that are considered to be the Formula One cars of the sailing world.
The Red Bull Youth America’s cup was created to give talented sailors aged 18-24 an unprecedented career pathway. Jimmy Spithill, the two-time America’s Cup-winning skipper who helms ORACLE TEAM USA, describes the regatta as “the gateway for the next generation into the America’s Cup. It’s essentially what college football is to the NFL – a breeding ground of new talent. And it works.”
The event is the brainchild of Hagara and Steinacher, double Olympic gold medalists from Austria. As Sport Directors they developed the first edition of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in San Francisco, USA in 2013, using conventional AC45s without foils. Since then, eight sailors from that regatta have found positions on America’s Cup boats, including Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (Emirates Team New Zealand) and Cooper Dressler (ORACLE TEAM USA). The AC45s will race again in 2017, flying with the addition of foiling technology.
“The sea trials went perfectly,” Hagara assessed. “The boats will go twice as fast, probably, as last time – and they are harder to sail, more physical. Teamwork will be very important.”
The same catamaran used by professional sailors in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, the AC45F is a 45-foot wingsailed double-hull – longer than a city bus, with a mast as high as an eight-story building, and capable of over 35 knots (about 65kph/40mph). In the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Finals, there will be a breathtaking eight AC4Ff’s flying simultaneously; the only ones in existence.
The 12 six-sailor teams that have emerged from a rigorous selection process are allowed seven days to train with the rare boats before the event in June. Steinacher says, “The gap between the teams is very small, so the racing will be very, very tight.”
The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup takes off in Bermuda with Qualifiers for two pools of six teams each on June 12-16, 2017. The top four teams from each pool will advance to the Finals scheduled for June 20-21.
Team List, Red Bull Youth America’s Cup 2017
· Candidate Sailing Team, Austria
· Team BDA, Bermuda
· Youth Vikings Denmark, Denmark
· Team France Jeune, France
· SVB Team Germany, Germany
· Land Rover BAR Academy, Great Britain
· Kaijin Team Japan, Japan
· NZL Sailing Team, New Zealand
· Spanish Impulse Team, Spain
· Artemis Youth Racing, Sweden
· Team Tilt, Switzerland
· Next Generation USA, USA