Taste of things to come?
The Red Bull Youth America's Cup on Championship concluded today with victory for Peter Burling's crew on New Zealand Sailing Team with Emirates Team New Zealand, who prevailed over nine other teams to take the inaugural title on San Francisco Bay.
The New Zealand team was challenged early and often by its fierce rivals on Full Metal Jacket (NZL) and ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team from Portugal, which finished second and third, respectively. These 19-24 year old young guns and future stars of the America's Cup were shining bright as they carved out a pathway for themselves into the professional ranks.
Sadly there was only one race today, the wind strength exceeding the maximum resulting in the double points scoring finale to be abandoned.
The Swiss crew led by skipper Lucien Cujean on Team Tilt made an outstanding start in today’s one race to lead all the way around the track. They became the sixth different crew to claim a race win in the regatta. On the overall leaderboard this caused them to jump from sixth place to fourth overall, just one point shy of the podium.
But the big winner on the day was the crew on ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team. The Portugese team scored a second place to lift itself onto the podium ahead of the Swiss and the American Youth Sailing Force, which had a disappointing eighth place finish, dropping from third to fifth overall, albeit with just three points separating second from fifth place.
However the overall prize went with the form guide, with London 2012 Olympic 49er silver medallist Peter Burling and his crew of Blair Tuke, Jono Spurdle, Guy Endean, Andy Maloney, Sam Meech and Jason Saunders placed 4th in today’s race, further extending their leading margin.
The victorious crew of young kiwis on the NZL Sailing Team with ETNZ, which includes five of New Zealand’s top Olympic campaigners, were billed by many as favourites from the start yet the overall standings were tight across the opening two days. Then Burling and crew took two outright wins on day three to put themselves in a strong, yet not unassailable, position going into today.
Peter Burling explains what it means to win the title; “It’s amazing for us to take the win, we haven’t done that much sailing together as a crew but we all really grew into it this week and I think our results showed that as well. It was pretty humbling for me to do it under the Emirates Team New Zealand banner as well.”
“It was really cool that we could get a lot of the Olympic guys together and with a few other keelboat guys to help the mix. It is really amazing for us to have taken this thing out and I think it’s really good for our futures.”
Reflecting on the year Burling says, “It has been an amazing twelve months of sailing for us, winning the silver medal in London was a high point for us,” says Burling. “And then we heard that there was a youth America’s Cup going on.”
New Zealand’s Will Tiller and his Full Metal Jacket Racing took the silver podium position after a 5th in today’s race giving them a narrow one point edge over ROFF/Cascais of Portugal who finished 3rd.
Tiller explains what it has taken for him and his crew to get to the podium; “It’s been an incredible journey for us switching from the match racing and then jumping into these multihulls as soon as the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup was announced.”
“I think the team has adapted really well, I think there is still a way to go to catch the other kiwi boys, I think they were an amazingly string team and they showed it out there by being quite dominant but hopefully in the years to come everyone can close in on these top youth sailors.”
Current America’s Cup stars were on-hand to eyeball this next generation of talent. Nathan Outteridge of Artemis Racing and Glenn Ashby of Emirates Team New Zealand were impressed by how hard these youth sailors pushed the AC45 catamarans.
Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, the double Olympic gold medalists who serve as Sport Directors of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, have been a driving force behind the event and are impressed with the level of talent they’ve seen.
“The young guys are amazing. They are racing the boats really hard and the competition is very tough,” Hagara said. “The best team won. But all of the teams have shown massive development. They learned so much here and the racing has been very tight.”
“The sailors are taking a lot out of this, whether they finished in first or in tenth,” said Steinacher. “They've seen the way the professionals at the America's Cup operate and I think they've all learned so much about what it takes to succeed at the highest level of our sport.”
Red Bull Youth America’s Cup – Standings
1. NZL Sailing Team with Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 2-RDG-7-3-1-1-4 – 57 points
2. Full Metal Jacket Racing (NZL) 7-1-4-6-6-3-5 – 45 points
3. ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team (POR) 3-6-1-8-8-5-2 – 44 points
4. Team TILT (SUI) 8-5-2-2-9-7-1 – 43 points
5. American Youth Sailing Force (USA) 1-7-3-5-7-4-8 – 42 points
6. Swedish Youth Challenge (SWE) 6-2-9-1-4-6-10 – 39 points
7. Objective Australia (AUS) RDG-10-6-10-2-3 – 38 points
8. Next World Energy (FRA) 4-4-8-4-5-9-6 – 37 points
9. All In Racing (GER) 5-8-5-9-3-8-9 – 30 points
10. USA45 Racing (USA) 9-9-10-7-10-10-7 – 15 points