Written by April Thygeson
Attention Sailors Ages 19-23, the America’s Cup wants YOU.
If you thought the America’s Cup was only for stodgy yacht-club types, think again. Red Bull, of the famed energy drink, is teaming up with the prestigious regatta to add a youth sailing race to the series. Traditionally it has been a major challenge for young sailors to get on board an America’s Cup boat until at least their late twenties or early thirties. So gear up young sailors, here’s your chance to get your feet wet in the America’s Cup series.
Red Bull has a long tradition in “giving wings” to young athletes and even entire disciplines. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is making the highest level of sailing accessible to young people. Racing will take place in the same high performance, wing-sailed AC45 catamarans that are used in the America’s Cup World Series.
The races will be sailed on San Francisco Bay in August and September 2013, during the 34th America’s Cup. Competition will include up to 10 national teams consisting of six sailors, aged 19 to 23. One team per country will be accepted and each member of the crew must hold a valid passport of the country their team represents.
Most exciting for us Bay sailors is that there will also be a San Francisco Bay Area team, representing us as host city. Equipment, including the AC45 platform and wing, will be provided to teams who have their entry accepted. Teams can apply for entry to America’s Cup Race Management beginning this summer. The event will benefit from the global attention the existing platform receives, including television, internet, and mobile coverage.
“I think this is one of the most exciting developments in the America’s Cup in a very long time,” says ORACLE Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill, who became the youngest skipper to win the America’s Cup at age 30 in 2010. “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. 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.”
Red Bull also announced its sponsorship of Oracle Racing.The team will be on hand for the Youth Series to help out and give some coaching to the sailing stars of tomorrow, who will be born in the spotlight of the America’s Cup in San Francisco next summer.