America’s Cup - Sport

Youth catamaran stages successful sea trial

  • Picture perfect: Oracle Team USA and SoftBank Team Japan got together with Hagara and Steinacher to give the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup boat a trial spin in the Great Sound this month (Photograph supplied)

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 superfast boats that are considered to be the Formula One cars of the sailing world.

With fewer than 100 days to go until the start of the 35th America’s Cup, Hagara and Steinacher personally delivered the first AC45F boat for this summer’s Youth America’s Cup regatta in Bermuda. Together with America’s Cup sailors from Oracle Team USA and SoftBank Team Japan, the Austrian pair conducted initial sea trials on the cutting-edge catamaran, flying across the Great Sound. From June 12 to 21, on the same waters that will host the America’s Cup, the next generation of sailing superstars will represent a dozen global countries as they look for a potentially career-making win in the youth event that is changing the face of sailing.

The Youth America’s Cup was created to give talented sailors aged 18 to 24 an unprecedented career pathway. Jimmy Spithill, the two-times 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. As sport directors they developed the first edition of the Youth America’s Cup in San Francisco 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 with Emirates Team New Zealand and Cooper Dressler with Oracle. The AC45s will race again in 2017, flying with the addition of foiling technology.

“The sea trials went perfectly,” Hagara said. “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 45ft wingsailed double-hull — longer than a city bus, with a mast as high as an eight-storey building, and capable of speeds of more than 35 knots (about 40mph). In the Youth America’s Cup Finals, there will be a breathtaking eight AC4FFs 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. “The gap between the teams is very small, so the racing will be very, very tight,” Steinacher said.

Competition beings with qualifiers for two pools of six teams each from June 12 to 16. The top four teams from each pool will advance to the finals scheduled for June 20 and 21.

Broadcast schedule: The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Finals will be streamed live on Red Bull TV on June 20 and 21 from 4pm.

Red Bull TV is available on connected TVs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and more. For a full list of supported devices, visit this page.

Red Bull Youth America’s Cup teams

(in order by nation)

• 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 (United States)