Red Bull Youth America's Cup: A late opportunity opens for Kiwi crew

American Youth Sailing Force - Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team

This week there was some fantastic news presented to a talented group of young New Zealanders, regarding a sailing opportunity to participate at a world stage event.

The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup (RBYAC), which is the under 25 restricted age group preliminary to the big show (THE Americas Cup 2013 in San Francisco this coming Northern Summer), is something most young sailors around the world have been dreaming of attending.

A pathway towards being a part of that exciting event has opened up for 36 Below Racing.

Team Oracle CEO Russel Coutts greets the sailors on the opening day of the Red Bull Youth America´s Cup Selection Series in San Francisco, California, USA
© Balazs Gardi / Red Bull Content Pool
36 Below Racing is a new team of young sailors formed to pursue success on the World Match Racing circuit and other sailing competitions.

An 11th hour invitation from the Youth America’s Cup organisers was made to bring the team to the qualifying trials being held at the San Francisco venue beginning 18 February 2013. The team wanted a chance to prove they are the next generation eager, willing and capable of following the footsteps of their sailing legends - Blake, Coutts, Dickson, Dalton, Barker and others, who lit the flames in all of them and inspired them as sailors to dream.

The challenge in front of them is formidable but doable. The task of pulling together the training, logistics and organisation needed to present themselves in a position to fully take advantage of that opportunity is underway.

The team consists of Skipper Chris Steele (20), David Hazard (21), Marcus Hansen (20), Jay Prestt (21), Finn Drummond (21), Josh Porebski (21) and 19 year olds Logan Dunning Beck and Harry Hull standing by as reserves ready to step in.

All of them have represented their clubs and country successfully in many local and international sailing regattas and they all share a deep passion for sailing. Already amongst the team, they have accumulated World Championships, National titles accolades such as New Zealand Young Sailor of the Year Awards, as well as winning many Regattas. Some of the sailors are working towards the Olympics and some are all ready featuring well on the Match Yacht racing circuit as well as furthering their studies.

Chris Steele looked happy after his first win in the semi finals - Warren Jones International Youth Match Racing Regatta 2013
Bernie Kaaks
The trials will be held in the dramatic new class of catamarans’ that has revolutionised sailing in the preliminary regattas for aspirants challenging for the Americas Cup – the AC45. Check out the web link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJdNFxZZUj8&list=PL0A1B9D7153493BFA!by_clicking_here for some amazing footage of these cutting edge boats and a glimpse of what the Red Bull Youth Americas Cup is about and why we the 36 Below Racing team are so excited, or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB0E4CWqXnk&list=PL0A1B9D7153493BFA&index=4!click_on_this_link

With only a short time before travel, the immediate focus is to ramp up the sailing skills in catamarans that best simulate the AC45 – they have been fortunate to gain access to Americas Cup design legend Mike Drummonds Extreme 40 Cat to do some training. Mike and some handy Kiwi sailors will be providing coaching support to the team to get them prepared. They will be ready for the on water physical and mental challenges.

Of course there is the other stuff to organise – travel, accommodation and equipment so the team look the part at the big dance and arrive in good order. The short notice makes it difficult to organise sponsorship support - That is where they sought help from their family, friends and supporters. If anyone out there or their organisation think that they may be able to assist in any way which will optimise their chances of success at the selection trials – your contributions even if they are ideas and support (funds and goods accepted too!) would be most welcome and appreciated.

Hey, we know there are a lot of good causes and times are tough. 36 Below Racing consider themselves to be a good cause too, having had to grind for their success and they do appreciate even the consideration of people taking the time even reading about their quest. If you can help – that would be awesome. They will make sure everyone gets to hear about the people and organisations backing the team as they take on the rest of the countries embarking on this challenge.

They are determined that they will do their very best to score a start in the Red Bull Americas Cup event. With help and support, success there may one day lead them towards the main Americas Cup event itself.
Thanks again for reading this.

Chris Steele and team of 36 Below Racing*

Contact: rnrsteele@xtra.co.nz

* The 36 Degrees Latitude, is roughly the location of their home sailing waters of Auckland, New Zealand, Aotearoa.

Facts:
• The Red Bull Youth Americas Cup is a new event to showcase the emerging talent of future generation Americas Cup sailors.
• The event will be held between the finish of the Louis Vuitton Challenge event and the Actual Challenge for the Americas Cup in San Francisco September, 2013
• Any America’s Cup World series teams and the Defender have the right to enter teams directly into the RBYAC event, to be sailed in Americas Cup class 45 catamarans (AC45’s).
• A further four teams will participate in that event, chosen from 12 other international teams competing in trials held in San Francisco during February 2013