The search is on for a professional coach to take charge of Bermuda’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team.
The Bermuda Red Bull Youth America’s Cup committee is exploring their options as the team continues to evolve behind the scenes.
“We are engaging some professional coaches to assist us in thinking through and ultimately developing the team to that level,” said Blythe Walker, who serves on the Bermuda Red Bull Youth America’s Cup committee.
The selection committee has narrowed the field to 40 athletes from various sporting backgrounds ahead of next month’s third and final fitness combine.
By early 2016 the committee hopes to identify a squad of 18 of the Island’s best sailors and athletes who, with intensive training and coaching, will be equipped to compete with the world’s best young sailors in the wing sail foiling AC45F catamaran.
Coming to terms with the high-performance multihulls will be a major challenge for those trying out for the team.
“These are boats that no one in Bermuda has ever sailed,” Walker said. “Not only do they not have a sail, they have wing which is a whole different way of tuning that and very powerful.
“They are high performance and difficult to sail; you see the professionals out there struggling in the early regattas [Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series].”
The committee has identified a single-handed foiling dinghy that could be used to help the trialists make the transition from sailing conventional rigs to sailing the foiling AC45F, which is a modified version of the multihulls used at the previous Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.
“There’s a boat called the Waszp which is kind of a training foiler,” Walker said. “Something like that would help bridge the gap between going from an Optimist into a foiling 45 or a foiling anything.
“The plan is to try and get the youth into some of those boats that are easier and gradually step up to the AC45 level.”
As well as training in entry-level foiling boats and securing a professional coach, the committee have come up with initiatives to get the community more involved.
“We would like to involve the community by having a song competition which is going to be launched which will be the team’s song,” Jane Savage, the Bermuda Red Bull Youth America’s Cup chairwoman, said.
“We would like the community to get behind a logo for the team and come up with Team Bermuda’s logo.
“Closer to the event we would like to have flags like at Cup Match to support the Red Bull team.
“This is about Bermuda, this isn’t about any one individual. This is about team and community so that’s where we are going.”
The committee is also planning to hold fundraisers to help finance the team.
“We’re going to have to go to the public to raise money and we’ve started to,” Savage, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club’s first female Commodore, added. “This is a professional effort, it’s not a cheap effort.”
To be eligible for Bermuda’s team, athletes must be at least 19 and under 25 on December 31, 2017. They must be born in Bermuda or possess a Bermudian passport.
The final racing team will consist of six Red Bull Youth America’s Cup squad members, with others supporting as training partners and a shore team.
The inaugural Red Bull Youth America’s Cup was held in San Francisco in 2013 and was an instant success, with the New Zealand Sailing Team taking the victory.
This Story appeared in the Royal Gazette on November 24th, 2015.