The America’s Cup today announced the introduction of a new youth event that will hopefully launch young sailing superstars into America’s Cup Sailing. “Breaking into the America’s Cup is hard. I was very fortunate when I was 19 to get a break with the Young Australia team, which allowed me to get into the game and get noticed,” says Spithill. But this is going to give many more young sailors the same type of opportunity. We are talking about literally turning tradition on its head by opening up the America’s Cup to younger sailors, rather than it being closed off and difficult to get a foot in the door.”
The Youth America’s Cup will be open to ten national teams, each with six sailors aged 19-23 (more details can be found on the America’s Cup website). All equipment will be supplied to teams, and their efforts will be seen at the America’s Cup event in San Francisco next year.
Existing America’s cup skippers are definitely enthusiastic about the new inclusion of a younger generation of sailors. Quotes from the skippers can be found after the jump.
Ben Ainslie, skipper, BAR: “The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is a great new initiative. When I was a kid I had two aims, to win an Olympic medal and the America’s Cup. The route into the Cup has always been tough, but this will give a whole new generation of sailors the opportunity to get into the America’s Cup early in their sailing careers.”
Nathan Outteridge, skipper, Team Korea: “I think the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is a great chance for younger sailors to explore the avenue of the America’s Cup. Up until now, it’s something that’s been so difficult to get in to. I feel lucky that I was in the right place at the right time to be approached to be here with Team Korea. To get on to one of these teams has been nearly impossible until you’re in your late 20s or early 30s, so this gives young sailors that chance. I think you’ll see a lot of talented sailors come out of this.
Chris Draper, helmsman, Luna Rossa: “I wish I was younger! This is really good news for youth sailors. The change to catamarans means the teams are already looking for younger people, with skill on fast boats. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup will bring the best young sailors from around the world to one place – San Francisco – where they’ll be able to show us all what they can do.”
Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA.