From a very early age, young sailors dream of one thing: to one day sail in the oldest competition in sports history, the America’s Cup. Children all over the world dream of lifting the silver Auld Mug in their country’s honor. And even more to win it from the shores of these United States. That is something that has been done only twice in the Cup’s long and esteemed history.
Historically, the only way in to fulfill this dream was to be born rich, have a wind fall in the market or win the Olympics. That has all changed. When Oracle BMW now Oracle Team USA won the Cup back and brought it home to the Golden Gate Yacht Club in the Bay Area, history was made.
With the great wealth of Larry Ellison, the insight of Sir Russell Coutts and the current America's Cup defending skipper James Spithill , the youngest to ever win the Cup, plans were all ready on the table to take the curtain down from the wall to open the door to sports’ oldest trophy.
These plans first included the innovation of using multi-hull catamarans and second, powering them with winged mainsails. Innovation. Planned with this was a training boat, a smaller version of what we will see in The Louis Vuitton Cup this summer on the Bay to be sailed in 72 foot rocket ships. But first came the trainer, a 45 foot version that would be taken around the world on its own ship, with its own village, with competitors flying in to sail against the best in the world. This, the Americas Cup World Series, traveled to Cascais, Portugal, Plymouth, England and returning to historic Newport Rhode Island before finally coming to the Bay Area last fall.
But also what was in it for the youth from around the world was a chance, an opening to sail these very same boats in which the stars of this sport have traveled, capsized and wowed the world. In the Red Bull Youth America's Cup young sailors from eleven countries are now across the bay at the converted secret base of Oracle Racing's Pier 80 and being shown it all from training with the Superstars of sailing to visiting the Artemis base here in the Alameda Naval Base. These young men are living the dream, sailing with their peers, the best of the best.
Two Selection Series are underway in the San Francisco Bay. Tutored under the watchful eyes of James Spithill (Oracle), Darren Bundock (Oracle), Iain Percy (Artemis) racing based here in Alameda and Sir Russell Coutts, CEO, Oracle Team USA and the winningest America’s Cup skipper in history, international youths have descended on the Bay Area lodging all over .
“This is a dream come true,” Australian Sailor Jason Waterhouse said. “And to turn to see Russell Coutts on your boat was a ‘am I really here’ moment.” Or to have another sailing legend like Ben Ainslie on board, a newly knighted Olympic legend, these young hopeful have seen their careers fast forward in very short time frames.
The teams, representing sailing powerhouse countries like New Zealand, Australia, Germany , Denmark, Italy, Austria and even a team from South Africa , as America’s Cup hopefuls will be tested all the rest of the week in the Second Selection series that started this week. They can be seen out off the coast most days from Treasure Island or even the ferry building areas.
There are two American teams, one sponsored by Oracle Team USA, Team USA45. And a second that represents the City of San Francisco, the American Sailing Youth Force, a grass roots team with all the talent they need but are struggling on the sponsorships side of things. To get involved follow this link: http://americanyouthsailingforce.com/
Volunteer, sponsor a fundraiser, get involved with sailing's brightest and fastest this summer. The summer of racing begins July 4 weekend - tickets and info can be found @americascup.com as well as information about the new America's Cup Concert Series that kicks off the opening of the race village with Sting opening it up. The future of sailing is now and it’s going on right in your own back yards - get involved.
Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Teams
Selection Series Session 1 (Feb. 9-15)
Australia – Objective Australia
Austria – Team Austria
Denmark – Danish Youth Vikings
Germany – STG/NRV Youth Team
New Zealand – Full Metal Jacket Racing
South Africa – i’KaziKati
Selection Series Session 2 (Feb. 18-24)
Argentina – Arg Youth Team
Great Britain – GBR Youth Challenge
Italy – Team Italy powered by Stig
New Zealand – 36 Below Racing
Portugal – ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team
Switzerland – Team TILT
Youth crews supported by America’s Cup World Series Teams
China – China Team/Name TBC
France – Energy Team/French Youth Team
New Zealand – Emirates Team New Zealand/Name TBC
Sweden – Artemis Racing/Swedish Youth Challenge
USA – ORACLE TEAM USA/American Youth Sailing Force (SFO)
USA – ORACLE TEAM USA/USA45 (USA)
Photos credit John Eric @iSailmedia.com
More on Cup Insider Magazine all summer long on @acworldseries.blogspot.com