The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Selection Series enjoyed a glorious day on San Francisco Bay with calm, uncrowded water and up to about thirteen knot wind with few if any gusts. Plus the youth sailors got to enjoy the beautiful day twice as much as they each had two turns, taking advantage of a longer day on the water to make up for the raincheck from yesterday’s arctic rain, although one said over the radio while on the water “Take us to where the sun is”. Selection of these 19-24 year old finely tuned men wraps up this week, with Germany and New Zealand’s Full Metal Jacket leading from last week.
Click here for info on last week’s selection.
The young men have earned their day in the sun, working out in the gym located in the hanger at Pier 80. They arrive at the gate like this blogger, on bicycles, with backpacks. They arrive in three cabs that wait for each other at the gate so the team enters together. A coach may arrive in a very fast red luxury car with a roaring engine. An America’s Cup team member and Olympic gold medal winner will come in a two-door $140,000 high performance car.
Once in the gym in the freezing morning air on the water, it’s anything but glamorous as the machines monitor and record their workout. They have trainers and will spin, work out with enormous rubber balls or punching bags. They get up early and eat a high carbohydrate breakfast. They have protein shakes and protein bars available and lots of Red Bull from the sponsor, in the new Blue and new Red choices as well as sugar free and original. There’s coffee. Nobody is hanging around or allowed in to take pictures and there are no girlfriends or women about save for the employees such as the publicist.
The American competitors have been selected in a separate selection.
Today’s teams flew the AC45s from the World Series for the first time, Great Britain, Switzerland, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal and Argentina. The six teams of international finalists go on to race America’s Cup 45s in their own regatta before the America’s Cup finals in September on San Francisco Bay. It should be a close call when the America’s Cup announces the winning six point-earners after the 24th. Some teams however have corporate sponsorship and others do not. The competitors seem to have been given little time for playing tourist and started training upon arrival.
The youth teams enjoyed a rare treat this evening, riding off into the sunset in a Red Bull double decker party bus to the Warriors game after their day of sailing.
A little about how these powerful and expensive catamarans came to be more accessible. Adam Harry and his father had volunteered at the event and shared some wisdom with this blogger on the way out of Pier 80.
The rules: The winner of the America’s Cup gets to choose what type of boat will be sailed in the subsequent Cup and the defender also hosts the Cup in the home country. Geography seems to mean less and less as the teams have international members, mostly from Commonwealth countries but France, Sweden and Italy. Note there are only four teams left to compete in the finals said Adam Harry, Oracle USA, Emerates-New Zealand, Artemis-Sweden and Prada Luna Ross-Italy.
Others including Korea and China have dropped out and will not produce AC72s. They would cost about eighteen million each and countries build two. The AC45s cost much less are are mass produced in New Zealand. The AC45s travel by cargo containers, getting assembled and disassembled. The winners of the youth selection series take their boats.
Each country must produce it’s own hull for the AC72 and can only have three wing sails. Oracle as the world knows wrecked it’s first wing and it broke apart outside the Golden Gate Bridge. Oracle kept the hull and is happily practicing with a new wing but it doesn’t get any more. Oracle thrilled spectators this afternoon as it sped about betwixt the youth in the AC45s, Oracle with four sets of grinders going full tilt all at once. Both rudders appeared to rise out of the water as the catamaran foiled or planed.
Larry Ellison, Oracle’s CEO, won the America’s Cup with Jimmy Spithill as skipper. So Ellison chose to bring not only Spithill, the youngest ever to win, but also the America’s Cup itself inside the San Francisco Bay where the public would see it up close. Was it Spithill’s youth that inspired Ellison’s radical move?
Usually the mono hulls must be miles out to sea to perform and conditions change drastically and get much rougher. Relatively safe inside the Bay, the catamarans can race in the smaller space using agility and faster acceleration. This is why Ellison chose to create the world’s fastest catamarans.
This is the first time in history the youth sailors have had a go at the fastest sailboats in the world.
The sailing principles and teamwork indeed carried over from experience on smaller boats and in other countries, with some coaching and inspiration from the groundbreaking America’s Cup heroes. Some things remain the same, such as heading up if you are going over or heeling excessively and if that fails, letting out the wing sail. That part is just computerized with degrees on the controls.
If the gennaker furls wrong and some bulges, it gets unfurled heading downwind. Unfurling upwind can turn the boat over.
The media went out for the five hours, from 10:30 or so to 3:30 on the boat Regardless, which is the committee boat Oracle CEO and skipper Russell Coutts rammed last summer when Jimmy Spithill sandwiched or bottlenecked him. The Captain had a split second to see it coming. The collision didn't cost much because they fixed the Regardless themselves. The collision just knocked down a cameraman, sending him backwards with his camera falling back onto him. Best video ever, it played over and over on a loop at basecamp.
For more information: www.AmericasCup.com
For more AC stories, check out
America’s Cup interview with defender skipper Russell Coutts
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