Academy Member Andy Sinclair, an
accomplished catamaran specialist, has just had an amazing trip to
California trialling for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup event along
with new Academy Members Sam Sebways and William Semken. Here is
their story, unfortunately a near miss, but they were on top till the
last day. Read on ..
|The last few
weeks for me have been one big roller coaster ride, between University
work and the Red Bull Youth America's Cup. As many of you will know I
was the helm for 'GBR Youth Challenge' the British entry in the 'Red
Bull Youth America's Cup Selection series' from the 18th-24th of
February. The journey to this started last November, with team manager
James French applying for a place in this selection series but we were
|There was a
surprise though in early January with an email arriving offering us a
spot. So with just over a month to go we had no money, no training boat
and a very vague idea of our crew. Through a lot of hard work from the
team, finances were found, Guy Jackson from Slam UK stepped in as kit
provider, Tony Lawson founder of Team Concise came on-board as a
financial backer and Jim Mundy from Weston SC who let us use the 23 foot
all carbon Tek Kat as a training boat to get the team used to life on 2
The bench and the bungee in the barn.
| We spent 2 weekends
training on the Tek Kat, and even managed one fairly epic pitchpole. The
final weekend, before departure to San Francisco for the selection
series, we got some time on the water on a 26 foot Firebird catamaran.
Along with this we also spent some time on our 'imaginary AC45'.
We used a room at Southampton University Library to work out all the
crews' roles and manoeuvres and then practiced them by running across
the room jumping over coats!
We developed this further by running across a barn and climbing over a
bench while ducking under a bungee line!
Friday the 15th February, 6 Sailors, a media/reserve sailor and a coach
turned up at a hotel in downtown San Francisco. On Saturday Seb our wing
trimmer and I had the chance to race Urs Rothacher's SL33 with designer
Pete Melvin, while our bowman Pete and trimmer Adam went out on a
Formula 40 Shadow, giving us a chance to see the bay and get some time
on the water. We were able to go out under the Golden Gate bridge and
have a quick sail about in the Pacific, pretty cool!
The team L to R: Will Semken (reserve/ media),
Seb Sammways (wing), Pete Austin (bow), Andy Sinclair (helm), James
French (tactics), Adam Lees (trim), Trystan Seal (bow 2), Tudur Owen
(Coach) Photo Credit Gilles Martin-Raget.
|We moved into
our crew house on Saturday night and on Sunday we visited the Artemis
Racing base (one of the challengers for the "real America's Cup in 72'
wing rigged foiling catamarans!) and were shown round by Adam May, quite
a cool setup. Sunday afternoon saw us seeing the AC45's for the first
time (a bit like kids in candy store), registering and getting our
Sunday morning fitness session on marina green.
|Monday. Let it begin. A
group briefing, a briefing from catamaran legend Darren Bundock on how
not to capsize 45's, a look around a rigged up 45 and a fitness test 5
minutes of grinding, 20 sec on, 10 sec off and a 10 metre top handle
grind of a weighted tyre. Hard work and we gave it our all but standing
up was hard for half a minute after the grinding!
Our first day of sailing on Tuesday got blown off with wind and rain,
but we all got suitably soaked pulling an AC45 out the water. That
wasn't the end of the day for us though, with our coach putting us in
for a session in Oracle Team USA's gym.
Wednesday was it, the day we had been building up to, sailing the AC45!
With 10 knots of breeze we did several beats and runs up and down San
Francisco bay getting to grips with this awesome piece of kit. Everyone
came off the water with grins on their face! On Thursday morning we had
a surprise when Ben Ainslie was at the back of the AC45 we were training
on and gave us quite a few useful pointers. We also saw Oracle 17
(Oracle Team USA's Ac72) screaming around, often in full flight on her
foils, one minute she would be in the distance, next minute she would be
flying past at some serious pace!
Downwind Training on Red Bull Dark.
|Friday was race day 1,
another sunny day in San Fran with 10-18 knots of breeze provided
We scored a 1,2,1 in hard fought races, taking the lead on the final run
of the final race of the day. The course length and time makes things
pretty exciting, a reaching start, a run, a beat, a run and back on the
reach to finish through the start line with the race being now longer
than 18 minutes and often sub 15 minutes.
This meant short sharp stuff, easy to go from hero to zero and zero to
See Video Here on YouTube
Light airs racing on 'Black Betty'.
|Saturday was my favourite
day, we had the first few races off then 2 races back to back on 'Black
Betty' the boat that wasn't meant to be as good. We went into it guns
blazing counting 2 wins taking the lead at the top mark on the first
|This will go down with me
as 2 of my most memorable races. We finished the day with a 3rd, not as
good but happy faces. Sunday sadly wasn't as good, racing in a strong
tide we finished 2nd in the first race with a great battle on the final
run but scored two thirds on the final 2 races.
|Sadly though we
hadn't done enough to get selected for the finals in September, we were
gutted, but that's sailboat racing through and through. The main thing
was though that with a tiny budget, and the only team that had no
training on 30+foot catamaran's we had given it our all and led the
racing for the first 2 days. We knew from the beginning that we were
going to have to fight hard against the teams that had been training
since October with large budgets. The team did an amazing job with so
little time training and all I hope is that I am not too old before the
next Youth America's Cup so I can go at it with a bigger budget, a
bigger team and more time to prepare!
everyone that has given us support all the way along, Macmillan Cancer
Support, Team Concise, Slam UK, the Tek Kat, AC45 Sailors and coaches
and my past sailing coaches and friends.
|For me now
though it's time to get back on 2 hulls full time! With my Spitfire crew
Josh Potts we looking for funding towards the new Olympic Multihull the
Nacra 17 and until we have got enough money for that you will find us on
anything that has two hulls and is fast! This event has by far been some
of the most fun I have had sailing, upwind at 13 knots and downwind at
20+ is the way forward. I have learnt so much, met so many great people
and had so much fun!
||This is not the end for GBR Youth Challenge, the team all
now have the multihull bug and want more so we currently looking
for funding towards a Extreme 40 event this summer. The team
will also try and do some match race events as a team.
|Also all the
team will be found racing yachts around the Solent, Will on the Ker 40
Magnum, Adam on the Swan 42 Brevity, James and Trystan on the Farr 45
Kolga, Seb on the J109 Jynnan Tonnyx and Andy on Quokka