Forty athletes from a mixture of sporting backgrounds have moved a step closer to making the Bermuda Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team after the first two fitness combines.
A third combine is to be held at the Oracle Team USA base in Dockyard on December 20, where the hopefuls will have to meet the minimum physical and mental standards required to advance to the next stage.
Team officials will again be looking for athletes, men and women, from all sports, not just sailing, to try out for the Bermuda squad.
Among those selected from the first two combines are sailors Rahiem Steede, Connor Astwood, Torian Hill and Owen Siese. Cricketers, boxers, rugby players, swimmers and footballers have also made the cut.
Steede, 21, said it would be an opportunity of a lifetime to make the final squad and compete against the best young sailors in the world.
“I’m pretty excited as sailing is my passion,” said Steede, who started sailing in the optimist programme at the age of 11. “It would mean the world to me to get selected for this team.
“I’m confident I can make the team and the fitness training hasn’t been that difficult yet. I think I can handle anything they throw at me.
“It would definitely be an honour to compete against the best in the world.”
Craig Brown, who is responsible for the team’s conditioning, said that 29 candidates had not met the minimum standards or were deemed ineligible because of age or insufficient documentation.
“We made this initial evaluation of our applicant pool so we could notify those who tried out in August and September — we didn’t want to keep them waiting,” Brown, the vice-chairman of the RBYAC team, said.
“We’re not done trying people out yet. Our pool of candidates will get bigger and that pool may very well include women.
“This is an excellent start and is a good indication that we’ll have a balanced team.”
With intensive training and coaching, it is hoped the squad of 18 athletes — who will be selected early next year — will be equipped to compete in high-performance foiling catamarans and make the Island proud.
The final team will include six Red Bull Youth America’s Cup squad members, as well as training partners and a shore team.
“Just like our initial audition call we’re looking for the best athletes from all sports who are physically fit and have a hunger to win,” Brown said.
“This is exactly the approach professional teams are taking. Today I read SoftBank Team Japan is recruiting top athletes — even ice hockey and basketball players are trying out for the team.
“Our process in Bermuda is keeping pace with the future of the sport.”
The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup was an instant success on its debut in San Francisco in 2013, with the NZL Sailing Team taking the victory.
To be eligible for Bermuda’s team, athletes must be at least 19-years-old and under 25 on December 31, 2017. They must be born in Bermuda or possess a Bermudian passport.
The registration deadline for next month’s combine is December 15. Those interested can register at www.acbda.bm.
This story appeared in The Royal Gazette on November 18th, 2015.