Monday, April 1, 2024
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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupRising Stars Shine Bright: Youth Talent Takes Center Stage in Hauraki Gulf

Rising Stars Shine Bright: Youth Talent Takes Center Stage in Hauraki Gulf

‘If you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ is the famous quote from Sir Matt Busby, the legendary Manchester United football manager and today out on the tough waters of the Hauraki Gulf in the area the Kiwis call, the ‘Back Paddock,’ the next generation of outstanding New Zealand foiling talent shone in windy conditions with the breeze clocking 20 knots at times.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Impressive to see the fast-coming talents of Leonard Takahashi, Liv Mackay, Gemma Jones and Oscar Gunn taking their extensive simulator work into the real world and performing at a hugely impressive level. Write their names down, these are the America’s Cup stars of the future for sure. Supporting the Youth & Women’s teams though is one heck of a team, happily imparting their experience and knowledge in an almost talent-factory environment. The likes of Josh Junior, Sam Meech and Marcus Hansen are overseeing the youngsters’ development, jumping onboard the AC40 to give every ounce of support and knowledge transfer as the sailing team builds and develops.

Meanwhile, the gold standard of America’s Cup yachting in the form of Pete Burling, Nathan Outteridge, Blair Tuke and Andy Maloney took to the LEQ12 to lead and guide on the water over some laps and pre-start line-ups, providing the ultimate benchmark of performance.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

What an impressive sight all round and a key moment for the Emirates Team New Zealand overall programme that is firing now on all cylinders as their new AC75, perhaps the boat that will define the current generation of foiling grand-prix craft, nearing its launch date and commissioning period. Busy time all round, the pace just went up considerably in the race for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup and the UniCredit Youth and Puig Women’s America’s Cup events.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Blustery, uncompromising Auckland conditions greeted the sailors who docked-out at midday for a three-and-a-half hour session with half metre wave forms that were challenging. Ray Davies, Emirates Team New Zealand’s hugely experienced coach summed up the day saying: “Great day out there pretty awesome conditions with a sort of average maybe 16 knots gusts of 20, pretty much flat water, we went down to the Back Paddock and it’s great to have the two boats interacting and getting some of the youth and women onboard as well so it’s really good to give them the chance to get up-skilled in what you’d call up-range conditions for sure.”

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Looking to the immediate future this week, Ray added: “Definitely keen to do a bit more two boating, quite windy tomorrow so we’ll have a look at that maybe a bit two fresh but definitely try it out couple more times this week and then ramp up into some racing, put some marks in but you know today was more about giving some people a go for the first time and you know pretty awesome to have you know 18 knots and a couple of first timers ripping around so it’s really good to see.”

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Looking at the Emirates Team New Zealand programme overall, these are the key Cup weeks for the team as Ray alluded saying: “Obviously it’s a very busy time for all of the teams at the moment and now coming back up to Auckland and be sailing straight after that SailGP (win for the Black Foils) yesterday, and then today amazing conditions obviously flat out getting ‘Boat3’ ready for launch and it’s all tracking on time to our schedule so really, really, exciting times can’t wait to get that out there. But we’ll just focus on a little two-boating session and then finish off the commissioning of ‘Boat3’ and get that in the water shortly.”

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

More to come later in the week for the Kiwis but what a great day for the team. Plenty of broad smiles dockside as the Youth & Women sailors came ashore. A baptism of fire for some – but what a fabulous opportunity and pathway the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup has created. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Emirates Team New Zealand: Day 72 was a two-boat testing day for ETNZ, with both the OD AC40 and LEQ 12 out sailing today. With a small delay while waiting for a few rain squalls to pass, the team finally docked 1 hour behind schedule at 12pm and headed towards the water on the south side of Waiheke Island.

The LEQ12 Stopped in Mechanics Bay and hoisted the M2 and J3 while the AC40 stayed on the tow eventually hoisting in the ‘Back Paddock.’

The crew of the AC40 had a few Youth and Women’s America’s Cup sailors onboard today. They displayed impressive skills in the upper range of conditions showing good control over the yacht. Both boats set out sailing together working on some tight tacking manoeuvres and speed testing against each other. The LEQ12 showed a speed advantage which is to be expected.

They were assisted in sailing the AC40 by Josh Junior (driver) Sam Meech (Flight Controller) and Marcus Hansen (Flight Controller).

Completing a couple of windward leeward laps the AC40 OD stopped and looked to have a jib sheet issue. The team spent roughly 10 minuets fixing the issue.

During this time the OD 40 Chase Boat experienced engine troubles and for ongoing safety reasons the recon driver was asked to swap into that chase boat so the team could continue to perform with a safety chase boat.

The recon unit spoke with ETNZ sailing coach Ray Davies after sailing who filled us in on how the day went and the overall plan for the upcoming sailing block.

SAM THOM / AMERICA’S CUP

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