New Zealand teams emerged from a tight pack to take two of three podium places on day one at the Red Bull Youth America's Cup. But the racing is close; just three points separate first from sixth place after two races.
Featuring 10 teams, from 8 countries, the Red Bull Youth America's Cup is a proving ground for youth sailors determined to make a career in professional sailing. Racing is taking place just off the America's Cup Village at Marina Green.
"I've spoken with the 60-plus sailors who are racing here this week,"
said Hans-Peter Steinacher, a double Olympic Gold medalist and Sports Director for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup.
"Every single one of them is determined to have a career as a pro sailor, to race in the America's Cup. This is the first step. They are racing on sailing's biggest stage, with the world - and the current America's Cup teams - watching. It's a fantastic opportunity."
American Youth Sailing Force pleased the hometown fans by jumping off the starting line with pace to win the first ever race of the Red Bull Youth America's Cup, but his team fell back to seventh place in race two.
Peter Burling's New Zealand Sailing Team was there to grab the day's opportunity with both hands. His New Zealand Sailing Team was the most consistent performer on Sunday, riding a second and fourth place finish to the top of the tight leaderboard. His Kiwi rival, Will Tiller, on Full Metal Jacket Racing, won the second race of the day, after posting a 7 in race one.
"The difference was getting off that start line well in race two and getting to the first mark in the lead,"
Tiller said. "You've got to get in there early and tussle for your position right up to the start gun. We're learning all the time and getting better and better. We need to because there is quality competition."
Tiller's team is equal third place on points with the Swedish and American Youth Sailing Force teams.
France's Next World Energy had a quietly efficient day, moving up through the fleet in both races to finish with a fourth and a third to sit alone in second place.
"After the practice races we were not really expecting this result. But we've worked hard on our video debriefings and it seems to have paid off,"
said French helmsman Antoine Lauriot-Prevost. "We didn't start well, so to finish where we finished is quite good."
Conditions were perfect for racing, near the upper end of the 18-knot wind limit in place for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup. The sun burned through the early morning fog to make for a pleasant day at America's Cup Village at Marina Green, and an enthusiastic crowd was on hand to cheer the young sailors.
Racing continues on Monday at 11:10am PT.
Red Bull Youth America's Cup - Provisional Results
NZL Sailing Team with ETNZ (NZL)… 2 - 4 - 16 points
Next World Energy (FRA)… 4 - 3 - 15 points
Full Metal Jacket Racing (NZL)… 7 - 1 - 14 points
Swedish Youth Challenge (SWE)… 6 - 2 - 14 points
American Youth Sailing Force (USA)… 1 - 7 - 14 points
ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team (POR)… 3 - 6 - 13 points
Team TILT (SUI)… 8 - 5 - 9 points
All In Racing (GER)… 5 - 8 - 9 points
USA45 Racing (USA)… 9 - 9 - 4 points
Objective Australia (AUS)… 10 - 10 - 2 points
Fast facts about the Red Bull Youth America's Cup:
• The Red Bull Youth America's Cup runs from September 1-4 and is based out of the America's Cup Village at Marina Green.
• The format is fleet racing - 2 races per day, for an 8 race series, with racing beginning at 11:10am each day. The final race will carry double-points.
• The boats are AC45 catamarans powered by giant wing sails - the same boats used by the America's Cup teams in the AC World Series from 2011-2013.
• Teams are composed of six sailors, aged 19-24, who represent their country through a nationality rule.