Youth circuit promotes fast foiling action

Published on February 26th, 2021

Eight international teams have gathered on the Italian coast to contest the first Grand Prix of the Liberty Bitcoin Youth Foiling Gold Cup that starts in Gaeta, Italy. The teams will compete in the new Persico 69F class for fast foiling action which has attracted a new generation of high-performance sailors.

Rune Jacobsen, team manager of Hong Kong’s team Agiplast, confirms the ambition for this circuit is to become the pinnacle event for youth sailing. “Most of the sailors in the current America’s Cup did the Youth America’s Cup. To develop high-performance foiling sailors, the Youth Foiling Gold Cup is a perfect match.”

The competing teams are:
1) Yacht Club Costa Smeralda – Young Azzurra – ITA
2) Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club – Team Agiplast – HK
3) Southern Challenge – Southern Yacht Club – USA
4) KNZRV Muiden & KRZV De Maas – Team Dutch Sail – NED
5) One Switzerland – Bordée de Tribord – SUI
6) Sanderfjord Seilforening – Xela Racing – NOR
7) Real Club Nautico de Palma – Youth Bravo España – SPA
8) Koninklijke Watersport Vereeniging Loosdrecht (KWVL)- Kingdom Team- EUR

Due to COVID-19 related issues, several entrants were unable to attend: Aarhus Sailing Club, Hellerup Sailing Club, China Foiling Academy, Royal Thames Yacht Club, Yacht Club de France, and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

Some of the teams are more prepared than others in the high-tech foiling Persico 69, Fdesigned by Wilson-Marquinez and built next to the Luna Rossa AC75s at Persico Marine and developed by the 69F team.

Team Young Azzura, Team Agiplast, and Team DutchSail have all racked up serious training time on the new foiling platforms while other teams are now seeing the boats for the first time. Pieter-Jan Postma, Dutch Olympic Sailor and Team DutchSail coach, reports they have approximately 70 days on the platform.

Even for one of the most experienced teams in the fleet, COVID-19 has impacted their race preparation. “We’ve been mostly training on our own… there haven’t been many opportunities to do speed testing.”

While some teams will be focusing on the finer details of their race craft, American Langston Goldenburg and his crew, 2021 Olympic Nacra 17 team Riley Gibbs and Anna Weis, are just now getting to know their new steed. “We’ll have to extract as much value as possible from the training session. We have just six days to learn the boat and the local conditions in Gaeta.”

One advantage the new teams have is that the strict one-design class is managed by a professional shore crew and the eight teams will cycle through the 6-pack of race yachts to ensure a level playing field.

Sharing equipment lowers costs for the teams and reduces the event’s environmental footprint because each team does not need its own boat in order to compete.

Goldenburg appreciates the opportunity that the shared boats create.

“Having shared services allows small teams to compete against the big boys. The racing is tighter. When you can’t tune your own boat, you hop on the boat and go. You’re worrying about different things. All the small things go out the window, you just focus on making the boat go fast.”

Team DutchSail laid down the gauntlet with a new top speed of 34.9 knots for the class in training, but they are surrounded by sailors with world class credentials of their own who are more than ready to accept the challenge.

The fleet contains sailors currently campaigning the Nacra 17, 49erFX, and Finn in the Olympics as well as European champions in the WASZP and other foiling classes.

Event schedule:
Training Days: February 24-26
Warm Up Event: February 27-March 1
Qualification Series: March 3-8
Finals: March 10-12

Event updates on the regatta’s social media pages:
instagram.com/69fsailing
facebook.com/69Fsailing

Following this event, the circuit continue for another round of the Youth Foiling Gold Cup in Limone, Lake Garda during the middle of August.

Source: Conrad Colman

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