Endeavour graduates earn Next Generation stripes

  • Winner takes all: graduates from the AC Endeavour programme had a great time racing in the Great Sound with sailors from the Next Generation USA team (Photograph by Katrina Williams)

The America’s Cup Endeavour Programme 2017 graduates had a unique opportunity this week to sail with Next Generation USA, the team who will represent the United States in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.

Next Generation USA were in Bermuda to train on their AC45F for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, taking place in June. They took time off from their very busy training schedule to meet with America’s Cup Endeavour Programme sailors and share their love and passion for sailing with them.

Carson Crain, the skipper of Next Generation USA, said: “Our team had a great time working with the America’s Cup Endeavour Programme.

“Along with our on-water performance goals, our team is deeply devoted to helping inspire the next generation of sailors.

“We look forward to seeing the lasting impact the America’s Cup Endeavour Programme has on these young sailors and how we can continue to help them.”

The 2017 graduates were picked from their respective America’s Cup Endeavour Programme units — M1 or After School, P5 and P6 — based on their teamwork, willingness to learn, improvement, attitude, respect, effort and commitment.

The Next Generation USA team spent time with the America’s Cup Endeavour Programme graduates on Monday afternoon answering questions that covered topics including how they reached this level of sailing, what boat they started sailing in, what it feels like to foil and what a typical day looks like for the sailors in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.

On the water, each sailor was placed with a group of graduate sailors onboard a Hobie Wave or RS Feva in a winner-takes-all race.

The conditions on the water were quite breezy, but the graduate sailors and Next Generation USA sailors had a great time.

Olivia Heffernan, an America’s Cup Endeavour Programme graduate, said: “It was so awesome sailing with the Next Generation USA team.

“They really helped us to understand why we do certain things on the boat and how to do it right if we weren’t getting it. I definitely want to be on the boat with them for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup!”

Reed Baldridge, of Next Generation USA, won the event with two firsts and a close second.

“It was good fun to see our guys working with the kids and the whole group experience of enjoying some friendly competition together,” he said.

“I was especially proud of the young sailors I was paired with. They already knew a lot and our success was really a team effort.

“I can’t wait to see where they will be in a few years.”

America’s Cup Endeavour Programme co-ordinator Katrina Williams organised the experience for her graduates.

“It was a great experience for our graduates to learn and work with the Next Generation USA sailors,” she said.

“The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is a very successful programme in bridging the pathway from youth sailing to America’s Cup sailing.

“The fact that the Next Generation USA sailors have a passion for extending that pathway further down the line speaks volumes for the type of athletes and sailors the boys are.

“They created a positive racing experience for the graduates who had tons of questions afterwards about how they could get into racing and develop their sailing skills more!

“They may have inspired the next Carson Crain or Jimmy Spithill down the line!”