The pressure is mounting in San Francisco with five days to go to the start of the Youth America’s Cup. The Frenchmen in the Next World Energy team have been training hard before facing the four days of racing scheduled to take place from 1st to 4th September.On Monday, the Frenchmen in the Next World Energy team started their final week of training. Each day, the youngsters recruited and trained by Energy Team are sailing aboard the winged AC45s in races in order to prepare themselves before battle commences in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup on Sunday 1st September.
10 teams, 8 nations, 4 days of fleet races
This Youth America’s Cup (under 24s) is aimed at detecting the sailing stars of the future. “This is one of the most interesting developments in the Cup,” according to James Spithill, helmsman on the Defender boat, Oracle. It is true that competing against top youngsters from around the world in San Francisco Bay aboard the rigid winged catamarans is a huge opportunity for the 60 sailors taking part. They will be facing each other in a series of fleet races. Ten teams are competing representing eight different nations. Alongside two American teams and two from New Zealand, the young competitors come from Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Portugal… and of course, France.
Each morning from 0830 to 1100hrs, the six youngsters on Next World Energy are out there training on the AC45, in the heart of the legendary bay of San Francisco, between Alcatraz and the Golden Gate. They are doing their utmost to get up there with their future rivals. Those from the United States and New Zealand would appear to be slightly ahead (as they have trained so much more than the other teams), but anything is possible during these four days of fleet races, with two races planned each day. It is well worth the effort: after months of preparation, it will all come together from Sunday to Wednesday… with the whole of the sailing world watching closely.
Antoine Mermod, Team Manager – Next World Energy: “We have enjoyed some fairly pleasant conditions since training got underway here in San Francisco. We are facing a race against the clock, as we will only have had a fortnight of training before racing begins. The daily schedule involves training each morning from 0830 to 1100hrs. We had to advance quickly to reach the standard of the other teams and today, we are beginning to see the results of this intensive training. What is striking is that the standard is very similar between the various teams, even if it is obvious that the American and New Zealand teams have already sailed a lot. We still have a few points to work on before racing begins, but overall, we feel we are more or less ready.”
Arthur Ponroy, skipper of Next World Energy: “We have really been working hard for the last ten days. We started from a lower position than some of the other teams, but we have advanced quickly. We have had some good training races, but we still lack consistency. It’s true that some do better in this area than us… It’s down to us to make progress by training at our own pace right up until the end of the week. I really feel that anyone can win or lose here. We aren’t yet feeling the pressure, as we don’t have the time, but we know that on Sunday, we will need to get some good starts…”
The Next World Energy crew
– Arthur Ponroy – Skipper
– Antoine Lauriot-Prévost – Helm
– Hubert Savatier – Tactician
– Romain Bellet – Bowman / wing trimmer
– Valentin Bellet – Trimmer
– Paul Dagault – Main bowman
– Edouard-Marie Alikiagaléléi – Bowman / trimmer