Students at CedarBridge Academy and Berkeley Institute put their fitness to the test this week as the America’s Cup Community Grinding Challenge kicked off at both schools.
The students were also able to compete for a spot in the finals during the 35th America’s Cup.
The challenge was launched in January at the Bermuda College with sailors from each on-island America’s Cup team competing for the title of Best America’s Cup Grinder.
They included Louis Sinclair from Oracle Team USA, Neil Hunter from Land Rover BAR, Yuki Kasatani from SoftBank Team Japan, and Andreas Axelsson from Artemis Racing.
The format was a 15 second warm-up up followed by three one minute rounds of grinding. Round one saw Sinclair beat Kasatani, while Axelsson got the better of Hunter in round two.
The Artemis Racing grinder then lost to Sinclair in the final.
Now the Community Grinding Challenge has given local students an opportunity to get up close and personal with what it takes to be an America’s Cup sailor by testing their fitness levels on a dedicated grinding machine.
The grinder itself captures and logs all data generated by each user. It captures the amount of spins or rounds per minute and the energy that´s being generated, giving readouts so that users can set themselves against each other, and measure their output levels.
Each student was on the machine for ten to 20 seconds and the resistance of the grinder changed for each age group. CedarBridge Academy students enjoyed testing out their fitness.
Kalai Robinson, 14, said: “It’s harder than it looks and now I understand that it’s like the engine on the America’s Cup boats. If I had to do it for 20 minutes, I would be busted.”
KaRi Richards, 14, said: “I think if I trained for it I could, but it shows how strong the sailors have to be. I could do it each day for five minutes but not consecutive hours like Oracle Team USA. I think the winning technique is keeping your feet square and lean into it.”
Teja Watson, 15, said: “It gave me a good idea of how it feels to be on an America’s Cup boat and it’s a lot different to lifting weights in the gym. If you have glasses, make sure they are tied on.”
Tom Herbert-Evans, community sailing manager for the America’s Cup Event Authority, was pleased with the number of students who tried out the grinder.
“The students were enthusiastic to try out the machine and a few logged impressive times,” he said. “It was a fun couple of days at both CedarBridge and Berkeley to talk more about the America’s Cup and get the students engaged by getting a hands-on lesson what it’s like to be a sailor.
“I think they were surprised by how difficult it was and can now appreciate how fit the sailors are.”
The Community Grinding Challenge will operate as a road show, with its first public stop at the St George’s Marine Expo on April 23. It will also feature at XL Catlin End to End on May 6. The final stop will be at Harbour Nights on May 10.
Participants are allowed one try on the grinder per event, but can enter the competition at as many events they wish. It is open to the public in the following categories: Male and Female Students (14-18); Male and Female Open (18-39); Male and Female Masters (40-49); Male and Female Senior Masters (50-59); Male and Female Grand Masters (60+).
The top three entrants with the best time in each category will be invited to participate in the finals, which will take place on June 3 during the 35th America’s Cup in the America’s Cup Village. After the finals, a winner will then be crowned for each category.
“The grinders are the fittest sailors on each America’s Cup boat and we invite the community to step into their shoes in order to understand how fit they have to be,” Herbert-Evans said.
“This is a great opportunity to have a fit of fun, test out your fitness and win great prizes. We encourage everyone in the community to attend one of the events where the challenge will be taking place and give it your best shot.”
Look out for updates and more information on the ACBDA’s Facebook page, facebook.com/ACBermuda and website, www.acbda.bm