Saturday, February 16, 2013

Red Bull Youth America's Cup Selection Series - Update

The first of two selection series for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup drew to a close today with the teams from New Zealand, Full Metal Jacket Racing, and Germany, STG/NRV Youth Team, standing atop the fleet.
That doesn't ensure the two teams will qualify for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup final in September because a second selection series for another six teams will be held next week. At least four teams will advance to the final, so it does give the two crews a leg up.

"We have the ranking and the top two teams from this series, but we won't announce the four teams that advance to the Red Bull Youth America's Cup Final until after the second selection series," said Hans Peter Steinacher, one of Red Bull's sailing directors. "We need to evaluate the second session before selecting the four teams."

Each team sailed nine races in the 18-race round robin, and there were only 5 points separating the six teams. Full Metal Jacket and STG/NRV Youth Team both finished with 16 points. Team Austria and Danish Youth Vikings finished with 18 points each, followed by Objective Australia with 19 points and South Africa's i'KaziKati with 21 points.

"It's been a very enjoyable week. We loved the opportunity to get here," said William Tiller, the 23-year-old skipper of Full Metal Jacket. "Sailing AC45s is spectacular, especially when the breeze is up. It's so much fun. I think we've developed well as a team, gotten stronger and stronger. We've definitely come together and I hope we get selected."

Full Metal Jacket finished the nine-race round robin with three victories. STG/NRV Youth Team had five race wins.

"It was a brilliant week," said Philipp Buhl, the 23-year-old skipper and wing trimmer for STG/NRV Youth Team. "We didn't expect to be first, but we stayed grounded through the week and kept improving. We really improved our maneuvers and team work. In the end, we learned not to talk so much. Everyone learned to do their job and did it."

Nearly all of the sailors agreed that the week was special. What 19- to 24-year-old sailor wouldn't want an opportunity to play with AC45s?

"It was a mind-blowing week," said Jason Waterhouse, the 21-year-old skipper of Objective Australia. "We learned so much. It's our first time racing together as a crew, but we gelled well. We would've liked better results, but our preparation was sound."

The first selection series went better than most had expected, including Steinacher, the double Olympic gold medalist in the Tornado. He had expected to keep the youth sailors under tight wraps in the speedy and sometimes tough-to-handle AC45s.

"It went very, very well. First time in history that young guns are on the boats," said Steinacher. "We weren't going to let them sail on the other side of the Bay Bridge or in more than 15 knots, and we ended up doing that on the very first day."

The second selection series for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup begins Monday and concludes Sunday, Feb. 24.

Red Bull Youth America's Cup Selection Series 1 Results
1. Full Metal Jacket (NZL) William Tiller -- 16 points
1. STG/NRV Youth Team (GER) Philipp Buhl -- 16
3. Team Austria (AUT) Max Trippolt -- 18
3. Danish Youth Vikings (DEN) Daniel Bjørnholt Christensen -- 18
5. Objective Australia (AUS) Jason Waterhouse -- 19
6. i'KaziKati (RSA) Matt Whitehead -- 21

America's Cup Media

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