While most of the focus is on the next generation of sailors competing in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, the seasoned sailors are busy getting ready for the final push in the America’s Cup World Series.
The next stage will be run on AC72 catamarans, and the crews are spending time on San Francisco Bay getting to know the new vessels.
The field has been shaken up since the event’s last appearance in San Francisco, with Ben Ainslie moving under the Oracle Team USA banner for the next round.
“Joining Oracle Team USA has been great,” Ainslie said. “We’ve had so much going on with rebuilding the AC72 and getting that on the water, and now learning to sail it, so it’s been very interesting. I’m learning a lot technically. It’s a good team, great people, some of the best people in the game, so I’m privileged to be a part of that.”
One benefit of racing under the Oracle banner is the support of sailing fans in San Francisco, where the team is based. Skipper Jimmy Spithill said in October that he could hear the cheers of the crowd from the boat, and that he felt it made a difference for his team.
Ainslie said he sees the cheering as not just support for Oracle, but for The City’s first chance to witness the world’s premier sailing competition.
“It’s support not just for us as a team, but for the event,” he said. “The local population of San Francisco gets behind the America’s cup, I’m sure they will. Certainly there’s been a lot of interest building up, and that’s important for the event.”
The crews have another two months to prepare for the next leg of the America’s Cup World Series in Naples, Italy. San Francisco Bay will next play host to the Louis Vuitton Cup from July 4 to Aug. 30.
The stars of today’s America’s Cup took many different paths to the top sailing competition in the world. Today’s young sailors have a different opportunity, as the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is giving the next generation a jump start on their careers.
San Francisco is currently playing host to the event, which allows young teams to spend time with their idols while competing in their own events with a chance to return for the final event, which will precede the finals of the America’s Cup in September.
In all, 12 teams will battle through a selection process and emerge from the original pool of more than 30 teams.