As we approach the one week mark after the announcement of the Youth America’s Cup, rumors are beginning to surface about international teams forming, and questions abound, but at this point many of the details are still murky at best. What we know so far is that sometime in August or September of 2013, 10 AC45s will line up in San Francisco for the honor of winning the first ever Youth America’s Cup. Although we still don’t know what the selection criteria for teams will be, or even how teams will be chosen, we have spent the last week formulating a strategy aimed at addressing all possibilities so that when the time comes, we are ready to compete at the highest level possible.
Two main uncertainties loom over the planning process; in particular, will we be applying as a team, or will we be applying as individuals; and what will the time commitment look like for individuals. The Notice of Event provides a few hints including the statement that “Selection of teams will be determined by the ACRM Regatta Director after consultation with each applicant’s Member National Authority” and the follow up direction that “Each team shall be responsible for selection of their crew.”
Taken together, these lines suggest that we will first be expected to assemble our team of 6+ sailors, and then apply to the America’s Cup Regatta Management, however if we’re looking to gain the suport of the National Authority (US Sailing in our case), and possible the support of our nationally based AC team (Oracle Racing), it makes sense that there might be prior selection requirements. In order to create some clarity we have been working with members of the US Sailing Olympic coaching staff as well as various other members of the sailing community, so we hope to have more information soon.
In terms of the time commitment, there are 2 main scenarios that we see playing out. The most time intensive scenario would be that we receive support from the Oracle Racing team, are able to use the AC45s (or some other high performance cat) to train in, and the members of the team who are in school would need to take time off in order to campaign. While the Notice of Event states that competitors will be provided with boats by the ACRM “7 days prior to the start of the event” to practice, this does not prevent a national syndicate like Oracle from providing training opportunities for a youth team prior to the mandated 7 days, so we have our finger crossed that there will be more training opportunities in the boats!
While this would be an unbelievable opportunity, we are preparing for the other end of the spectrum, at which we would be expected to create our own training opportunities and would be constrained by our opportunities to get into high performance cats as well as the financial implications of campaigning for a year. To address this, we have put together a training schedule which incorporates events in F18s, Marstrom 32s, and other high performance cats. Again we are currently working with coaches to organize opportunities in these boats as well as posibilites in A cats and Extreme 40s.
We are currently working on finalizing a training roster for the application process in July which will include 7 or 8 team members from whom we will choose 6 for the final event. We are feeling very good about the group of talent that we have put together which includes between 4-7 former ISAF Youth World Championship competitors and almost as many medalists at the event, several US national championship title holders, and exclusively competitors with top finishes at a number of World Championships. With a strong presence on the Stanford sailing team, and San Francisco Bay Area Yacht Clubs, we have close ties to the Youth America’s Cup host port, which we hope will provide us with opportunities to sail on the event venue several times leading up to the regatta. Finally, we have focused on creating a team with lots of experience in fast, high performance sailboats. Overall, we have a team that we feel is comprised of the best young sailors that the US has to offer. Check out the Meet the Team tab to learn more about our team members as we fill up our roster.
We have many more plans and surprises planned in the weeks to come which we feel will help our team rise to the top of the stack, so please like our team on facebook, sign up to follow us on wordpress (use the top right button on our home page), make a pledge to donate, and join our quest for the cup!