Japan launches Red Bull Foiling Generation
Published on April 19th, 2015
Eight two-member sailing teams descended on the port city of Wakayama to compete April 17-19 in identical Flying Phantom vessels, marking the launch of Red Bull Foiling Generation. The finale saw 17-year-olds Shinichiro Yano and Issei Fujiki take advantage of perfect 12-knot wind conditions to get ahead of rivals Eri Fukazawa and Crew Takayama in a dramatic knock-out finish. Yano and Fujiki’s prize for victory is a place at the 2016 World Final where they will be joined by six more national winners.
The regatta in Japan began the search by Double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher for the sailing stars of the future. Open to prodigious sailors aged 16-20, Red Bull Foiling Generation will also be holding national finals in the UK, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Russia and France before pitting the best against the best at a World Final in late 2016.
The event includes a novel new format, with four boats in distinct colours competing in knockout races for a place in the next round. The top two progress automatically, while the other two boats enter a lucky loser round. Once the competition hits the quarter-final stage it will be a straight knockout though, before the semi-final and final ultimately decide which boat heads to the global final.
The opening contest in Wakayama left Hagara sure that himself and long-time team-mate Steinacher are on to a good thing. “These up-and-coming athletes accepted the challenge and vastly exceeded our expectations,” Hagara said. “The teams flew over the water at speeds that reached 29 knots. It will not be just the winners who will benefit from the experiences of the past days.”
The next stop for the series is in the UK with a knock-out battle between the best young sailors of the British Isles scheduled for June 26-28.
Red Bull Foiling Generation, Wakayama, Japan: Final Results