Two U.S.-based youth sailing teams have earned a spot in the Red Bull Youth America's Cup final, an event created to breed a new generation of competitive sailors, next September.
Team America Racing will represent the USA, and American Youth Sailing Force will represent San Francisco. Both will now spend the next nine months training for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup under the tutelage of Oracle Team USA, the 2013 America's Cup defender.
"It's honestly the most amazing feeling ever,” said Team America Racing trimmer and team manager Jacob La Dow, of San Diego. "It's a dream come true, and at first I couldn't really believe we had done it. In the beginning of this process, we weren't as organized. But, with a lot of practice and communication we really came together as a team."
Six crews entered the team selection trials, which featured physical training and instruction both on and off the water. The teams sailed onboard an AC45 -- the same class of wingsail catamarans raced in the America's Cup World Series -- under the supervision of Oracle Team USA sailors.
“It's a massive stepping stone toward getting involved with the America's Cup," said Oracle Team USA coach Darren Bundock. “We were looking for a variety of things -- mainly potential -- and finding those teams that gelled together and that we think can go forward and win the Red Bull Youth America's Cup.”
The teams were evaluated on several factors, such as boat handling, trimming skills and crew communication. All were mentored by Oracle Team USA sailors and coaches during the selection process, and they will continue to receive coaching and guidance through to the finals.
“It's a huge weight lifted off our shoulders to be selected. But, now going into this next step, it doesn't mean it's going to get easier." -- Ian Andrewes, American Youth Sailing Force team manager
The youth sailors, aged 19-24, come from around the U.S. The crews are made up of collegiate All-Americans, youth World medalists and members of U.S. Sailing's Development Team. Six sailors are onboard for each crew, one more than America's Cup World Series teams, to compensate for the lighter individual weight of the youth sailors.
Many sailors on both Team America Racing and the American Youth Sailing Force will now balance training for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup with attending university or day jobs.
“It's a huge weight lifted off our shoulders to be selected,” said Ian Andrewes, American Youth Sailing Force team manager. “But, now going into this next step, it doesn't mean it's going to get easier."
The Red Bull Youth America's Cup finals run September 1-4, 2013, in San Francisco Bay. Additional teams will be selected through the Selection Series to take place in February.
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