RBYAC: From here to where?
Published on May 9th, 2013
This past weekend the American Youth Sailing Force team (aka The Force) became the first Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team to capsize an AC45. They’d gone out hoping for a windy training day and got just that, with winds in the high teens and low twenties. Setting up for a gybe set in a mark 1 situation, they began to round the mark and bear-off when they were hit by a gust as the crew came off the rail to gybe.
Helmsman Michael Menninger thought heading up would be the safest way out of the situation…but it wasn’t. The boat went over nice and gently, and fortunately there were no injuries or significant damage to the AC45 on loan from Oracle Team USA. Click here for video.
The other part of this story, of course, is that there ARE youth teams out on the water sailing AC45s, in large part thanks to a clever concept by Oracle boss Russell Coutts – the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup – to provide a path for sailors 18-24 to a career in the America’s Cup.
Here Coutts shares his thoughts with Michelle Slade on this new youth event.
* Where do you think the RBYAC go from here?
RC: It does have strong support from a lot of different aspects. The more Red Bull have got into this the more enthusiastic they’ve become about it which I think is fantastic. Once they get involved they generally do things really well. It’s proving to be cost effective for them in that they’re getting a good return on it already. More than that, one of their objectives from day 1 was to do something that was widely supported by the sport and it appears that’s the case. As far as what we do with it in the future, that’s what some of us are thinking about now – how to keep this going and how to make it a more organized process it so that it happens regularly. That’s the next stage.
Editor’s note: While most definitely an incredible opportunity, there’s no free lunch here. We have heard budgets that range from $100,000 upwards to $500,000. That’s a lot buck for the bang.