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NZL Sailing Team chasing Youth America's Cup


NZL Sailing Team chasing Youth America's Cup

As Kiwis dream of getting their hands on the Auld Mug again, another New Zealand team continue their quest for the other America’s Cup.

The America’s Cup moves into a five-day break as Jimmy Spithill and his Oracle team search for a miracle to get back into the contest against Emirates Team New Zealand.

During the intermission, the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup finals will be sailed, with eight teams battling it out on the Bermuda waters.

The NZL Sailing Team won the inaugural Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in 2013 with a kid called Peter Burling on the helm. The current team topped their group in qualifying and will go in to the finals as one of the favourites against Land Rover BAR Academy (Great Britain), Spanish Impulse, Team BDA (Bermuda), Artemis Youth Racing (Sweden), SVB Team Germany, Team Tilt (Switzerland) and Team France Jeune.

The Youth America’s Cup was created to provide a career pathway to the main event for sailors aged 18-24 and there have already been a number of graduates, with four from the NZL Sailing Team now with Team New Zealand – Burling, Blair Tuke, Andy Maloney and Guy Endean.

“It’s really exciting to see the guys who came through last time competing at the forefront now,” skipper Logan Dunning Beck says. “They are not the beginners on the scene, they are the leaders. It’s a real pathway, a real opportunity to step up into the big leagues. It’s not just a sideshow.”

The racing has the potential to be exciting. They compete on the AC45 foiling catamarans used by the teams during the America’s Cup World Series and, just like that competition, is fleet racing.

Eight teams have qualified for the finals, which will consist of six races over two days on Wednesdayand Thursday mornings (NZ time), but there have been strict rules about what they have been able to do over the past few days.

The NZL Sailing Team haven’t been allowed on the water since finishing qualifying last Wednesday so have been able to catch some of the Bermuda sights, along with the America’s Cup action, and they even had time to race in Optimists – the small yachts children first learn in.

“It’s great to see [Team New Zealand] out there putting it to the Americans, or Australians - whichever you would rather look at it,” Dunning Beck said in reference to the fact Spithill is one of a number of Australians onboard Oracle. “It’s exciting racing to watch. The winds have been incredibly shifty so it’s pretty tough to race in.”

Similar light-wind conditions of 8-10 knots are forecast for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. It’s something the teams are used to, with often painfully light winds for the qualifying races.

“We will just have to race like Team New Zealand have - keep it clean and keep the boat going really fast through the lulls and shifty patches,” Dunning Beck said. “I think all the teams will say the same thing, that racing is incredibly tough when it’s light.

“The courses are short and there’s not much time on the race track so if one team gets a flier and they are all the way in front, you can’t really do much to catch them. It’s a pretty tense game when it’s light so you have to keep a clear head, get good starts and keep the boat going fast.”

What: Red Bull Youth America’s Cup

How does it work? Eight teams take part in six fleet races, with the team claiming the most points in those races winning the trophy.

What do they race on? The teams are using the AC45 foiling catamarans the America’s Cup teams used for the America’s Cup World Series. There are six sailors on each boat.

How can I watch it? The racing will be televised live on Sky TV each morning from 5am and will also be live on Red Bull TV.

Keep up with all the action and reaction on the NZL Sailing Team’s Facebook page

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