The British America’s Cup Challenger and its partner Land Rover have launched a talent programme to find and support talented young British sailors, and create a pathway into the America’s Cup.
Land Rover BAR Academy’s goal is to select a British team to compete in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup (RBYAC) in 2017.
Raced in the same AC45F that the senior teams use for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, every America’s Cup Challenger and the Defender must enter a team into the RBYAC. The finals will be fought out during the main competition in Bermuda 2017.
The RBYAC is seen as an important pathway for young sailors into the Cup, and competitors will be hoping to follow the example of two of the sailors aboard the winning New Zealand boat in 2013 – Peter Burling and Blair Tuke – who are now on the Kiwi’s senior sailing crew.
The first intake into the Academy will see a squad of 12 sailors competing in the Extreme Sailing Series, which takes high-speed catamaran sailing close to city centres all over the world and uses a foiling multihull, the GC32.
Chosen from an on-going selection policy, the Academy sailors will have all their regatta costs paid for, with access to the expertise and facilities at the home of Land Rover BAR, including workshops with the senior sailing team.
The mentoring and support team will include Land Rover BAR Sailing team manager and three times America’s Cup winner Jonathan ‘Jono’ Macbeth, who said: ‘The Extreme Sailing Series will provide a great opportunity to trial sailors in the Academy.
‘This will be the first step to building a team for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in 2017. The longer-term aim is to mentor young British sailing talent and build the next generation of British America’s Cup sailors.’
The project manager will be Rob Andrews, London 2012 Olympic sailing manager, and a former RYA Olympic coach. The new Academy’s coach will be Andrew Walsh, a former Extreme Sailing Series and Olympic multihull sailor and coach. Land Rover BAR sailor and three-time winner of the Series, Leigh McMillan will lead the team into the first two events to help develop their skills at the helm of these high-performance boats.
Jono Macbeth added: ‘I got my break into professional sailing through a chance meeting with Sir Peter Blake in the kayak shop that I was working in, while paying my way through college. It’s vital that we don’t leave the future of young sailors to such chance, and provide a proper pathway into the professional sport.’
Team principal and skipper, Ben Ainslie, said: ‘At Land Rover BAR we believe in investing in the next generation. We want to nurture home grown talent to ensure a lasting legacy and sustainable future as we aim to bring the Cup home to Britain. We’re looking for talented, fit and committed people.’
Applicants will need to be aged between 19 and 24 on the 31st December 2017, and they can start their journey by submitting an application form at www.landroverbar.com/academy
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