Britain's youth America's Cup sailors from the Land Rover BAR Academy have been crowned the 2017 Red Bull Youth America's Cup Champions in Bermuda. The British entry completed 12 races against 12 other nations on Bermuda's Great Sound to take the title – six initial qualifying races and six in the finals – and finished the event with 50 points, just two points ahead of second placed New Zealand Sailing Team (48 points) and eight points ahead of Switzerland's Team Tilt (42 points).
The victory came down to a nail biting finale and the final race of the event, but the team show their determination by never giving up to come back from difficult situations on the race course.
BAR Team Principal and Skipper, Ben Ainslie, on the team's success, “We could not be prouder of the Land Rover BAR Academy winning the Red Bull Youth America's Cup. All their hard work, commitment and dedication over the past 18 months has really come together on the water here in Bermuda. Today was incredibly tense, it is a strong fleet, but I have been really impressed by the team's constant on-board communication, how they kept their cool under pressure and really delivered on the boat handling during the tricky conditions.”
Land Rover BAR launched the Land Rover BAR Academy in January 2016, to support talented young British sailors, and create a structured pathway into the America's Cup. 22-year-old Neil Hunter was an initial example of success, promoted from junior to senior team, becoming not only the youngest sailor to compete in the America's Cup but the only sailor to compete in both competitions.
The British entry is also made up of some of the country's top sailing talent, aged between 19-24 years old and led by Skipper Rob Bunce. 23-year-old Strategist, Annabel Vose, was the only female crew member to compete in the Youth Cup.
Jono Macbeth, Land Rover BAR Sailing Team Manager, “Land Rover BAR believe in investing and mentoring the next generation and alongside our long term aim to win the America's Cup for Britain, we will continue to nurture home grown talent to ensure a lasting legacy and sustainable future for young sailors.
“We had success promoting Neil Hunter from junior to senior team and we can only look forward to more talented young sailors moving up and forward in their sailing careers with us.”
The team competed in the same AC45F foiling catamaran that Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR raced – and won – the 2015-16 Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in. With little time to celebrate the young Land Rover BAR Academy are now heading to Maderia to compete in the Extreme Sailing Series Act 3 from 29th – 2nd June.
Land Rover BAR Academy quotes on today's racing:
Skipper, Rob Bunce:
“The strategy was to do the same as yesterday and get off the start line clear. If we got three results in the top four we knew we could come away with a good result but unfortunately, we had an OCS and a penalty in the first start.
“I can't put into words how much effort everyone put in on the race course. The amount of places we managed to gain in all the races is amazing. In the last race of the day, we knew to finish first overall we could only have one boat in between us and New Zealand and most of the way round there were two or three boats in between. We saw at that last gate, Artemis Youth Racing (Sweden) and SVB Team Germany (Germany) had a battle on and one of them got hooked on the mark and the other suffered a penalty and that was our opportunity to get in front of Team Tilt (SUI) and hold out Spanish Impulse (ESP) to have the reach of our lives! To win here in Bermuda is amazing.”
Strategist, Annabel Vose:
“Going into the final race we knew that New Zealand Sailing Team were our main opposition so we just wanted to finish within the top three, which we had been doing most the of the day and throughout the regatta. We wanted to go in and have a simple start, keep it clean and race our own race. I don't know if the pressure got to us a little bit but we didn't pull off the start that we wanted.
“Although we didn't have our best today today, I think all the effort we've put in throughout the year just meant that we could pull together as a team and get the results that we needed to take the win and we are absolutely thrilled by the result!”
Red Bull Youth America's Cup overall results:
Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR), 50 points
NZL Sailing Team (NZL), 48 points
Team Tilt (SUI), 42 points
Artemis Youth Racing (SWE), 37 points
Team France Jeune (FRA), 35 points
Spanish Impulse Team (ESP), 34 points
SVB Team Germany (GER), 33 points
Team BDA (BDA), 33 points