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Britain's Land Rover BAR Academy win Red Bull Youth America's Cup

by Land Rover BAR 21 Jun 23:54 BST 20-21 June 2017

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.

Land Rover 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 squad:

  • Skipper, Rob Bunce
  • Helm, Chris Taylor
  • Strategist, Annabel Vose
  • Main Trimmer, Elliot Hanson
  • Jib Trimmer, Sam Batten
  • Bow, Neil Hunter
  • Substitute, Adam Kay
Land Rover BAR Academy Support team:
  • Rob Andrews
  • Andrew Walsh
  • Matt Adams
  • Jono Macbeth
  • Tim Carter
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

Heartbreak for NZL Sailing Team at Youth America's Cup (from Yachting New Zealand)

The NZL Sailing Team suffered heartbreak at the Red Bull Youth America's Cup this morning, narrowly missing out on retaining the trophy they won four years ago.

The Kiwi team dominated today, winning all three races convincingly. Those wins, coupled with some poor results for Great Britain's Land Rover BAR Academy who started the day with a handy seven-point lead over the rest of the fleet, saw them claw their way up from fifth overnight to have one hand on the trophy.

They needed to finish three places ahead of BAR in the final race to win the regatta and looked to have it in the bag with BAR in fifth on the final downwind leg.

That was until disaster struck. Sweden and Germany were comfortably in second and third but tangled at the bottom mark, with Sweden picking up a penalty for not giving Germany enough room and the Germans got caught up on the mark and struggled to break free.

It allowed BAR to catch up and move into second – enough for them to win the Red Bull Youth America's Cup.

"We were certainly excited the way it was panning out," NZL Sailing Team skipper Logan Dunning Beck said. "It was in our favour but racing is racing. We were watching all the way to the end, hoping and praying, but it just came down to the wire and the Brits did a fantastic job to pass a couple of boats and did exactly what they needed to take the win.

"The boys are really happy with the way we raced today – clean starts, clean racing and three great results. It's a bummer we didn't get there in the end but we are really happy with how the regatta ended."

An illustration of the NZL Sailing Team's dominance on the final day was the fact they were 3 minutes and 57 seconds ahead of the second-placed BAR in the final race.

They were one of the only teams to consistently get up on their foils as they eased away from the rest of the fleet.

They will now be left rueing a poor start to the regatta – they were seventh and sixth in the opening two races. The rest of their scorecard reads: 2, 1, 1, 1.

"We love blasting so we couldn't resist the temptation [to get on the foils]," Dunning Beck said. "We have spent a lot of time making sure the equipment is perfect. I just put the bows in and gave it a good send."

It wouldn't have gone unnoticed in the sailing world and each member of the NZL Sailing Team has ambitions to one day step up to the America's Cup.

It's a realistic target, given four of the team who won the inaugural Red Bull Youth America's Cup in San Francisco in 2013 graduated to Emirates Team New Zealand - Burling, Blair Tuke, Andy Maloney and Guy Endean.

Red Bull Youth America's Cup co-creator, Hans Peter Steinacher, couldn't have wished for a more dramatic finish to the regatta.

"I think we should send them to Hollywood," he said. "You couldn't top things like that." It just wasn't the Hollywood ending the NZL Sailing Team had been hoping for.

Stunning podium finish for Team Tilt at Red Bull Youth America's Cup (from Team Tilt Sailing)

Team Tilt did it! Sebastien Schneiter and his team finished the second edition of the Red Bull Youth America's Cup in third place overall, achieving their sought after and hard-fought podium position. Land Rover BAR Academy are crowned Red Bull Youth America's Cup champions with defenders NZL Sailing team in second place.

The very short and intense format tested the eight finalists to their limits. Team Tilt fought hard on the opening day on Tuesday to finish in second place, tied on points with Team France Jeune. Determined to improve their starts on day two, the young Swiss team had a disappointing opening race, posting a 5th place, before regrouping to start well in the penultimate race of the series. They negotiated the tricky conditions effectively to finish 3rd. In a heart stopping moment, Sebastien and his men earned a penalty at the start of the final race of the day, but fought back all the way to the finish to post a 4th guaranteeing their place on the third step of the podium!

Light conditions dogged the Great Sound of Bermuda for the two-day final, although sailors and spectators were treated to some foiling action today when the wind settled in at 8-12 knots and the AC45Fs lifted out of the water!

The Red Bull Youth America's Cup is reserved for under 24-year-old youth sailors. This was the second edition of the event that takes place on the side-lines of the America's Cup. Team Tilt has raced both editions, finishing 4th in the inaugural event in San Francisco in 2013 with Lucien Cujean at the helm. Jocelyn Keller and Jeremy Bachelin, crew members for the 2017 campaign, were also onboard in 2013.

Team Tilt plans to stay in Bermuda until Monday 26 June when the team is scheduled to arrive in Switzerland. Further details on time of arrival will be communicated closer to the time for those that would like to great the team at the airport.

Sébastien Schneiter, Team Tilt skipper: Our goal was to finish on the podium and after almost three years of training, we have achieved it, so we are delighted with this result. We had a lot of fun sailing together and learned a lot during the campaign. We didn't sail to the best of our ability, but we did show that we can fight until the very end. There were a lot of twists and turns during the final race today, but we did our utmost and kept our cool. It feels strange to think that it is all over, but I am very proud of my team; we fought to the end for the points that we needed and we are now looking forward to returning to Switzerland to celebrate with our friends and families.

Alex Schneiter, Team Leader: Mission accomplished! We are on the podium after a difficult event in tricky conditions. The podium was still in play right up to the final minutes of the last race and the team fought to the bitter end! It was an emotional competition with many twists and turns along the way. The standard set by the British and New Zealand teams is incredibly high and the Swiss have demonstrated that they can compete with the best nations in world sailing. Next, we will take a breath after this intense adventure, and then focus on the Olympics with Sebastien and Lucien on the 49er and Maud Jayet on the Laser Radial.

Tanguy Cariou, sports director: We are delighted to finish third after a heart stopping final race, we were not holding all the cards and on top of that we got a penalty on the start line, but the team did its absolute maximum and we are all very happy with the result.