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69F Youth Foiling Gold Cup - Act 4 in Torbole, Lake Garda Day 1

by 69F Sailing 22 Aug 2023 05:55 BST 21-27 August, 2023

A never-seen-before 16-team fleet has opened today, August 21st, for Act 4 of the 69F Youth Foiling Gold Cup in Torbole, Lake Garda, Italy. What was supposed to be a warm-up day turned out to be a brilliant racing one, with eight races finished! The entire first flight is completed in the classical thermic wind from the South - the Ora - ranging from 12 to 14 knots.

As you probably know by now, the YFGC works with teams sharing the 69F Europe six-boat fleet. They sail for four days, and then the best six move to the Gold Fleet in the final two days, while the rest will give their best in the Silver Fleet. This time, due to the great number of participants, the Race Director, Dede De Luca, opted for five days of qualifying to give everyone the opportunity to race multiple races before the finals.

The teams, with all crew members under 25 years of age, are coming from 10 different nations. Some of them are representing America's Cup syndicates that have chosen the 69F as a training and selection platform for their junior team, which will attend the Youth America's Cup next September in Barcelona.

The 16 teams are:

  • Volaire - Canada - Caspar Lenz Anderson
  • Bayerischer Yacht Club - Germany - Julia Gebhard
  • Enzedder Racing - New Zealand - Sam Street
  • Clean Sailors Youth Racing Team - Switzerland - Lukas Hesse
  • Okalys Youth Project - Switzerland - Arnaud Grange
  • Luna Rossa Piranha - Italy - Margherita Porro
  • Luna Rossa Swordfish - Italy - Guido Gallinaro
  • Groupe Atlantic Sailing Team - France - Clément Cron
  • Antigua Rum Runners - Antigua and Barbuda - Rocco Falcone
  • Circolo Vela Torbole - Italy - Alexandra Stalder
  • Team Happy - Germany - Amelie Wehrle
  • Dutchsail Jajo - The Netherlands - Paul Hameeteman
  • Team Argentina - Argentina - Dante Cittadini
  • Orient Express Racing Team - France - Gaultier Tailleu
  • Oceana Vivo - United Kingdom - Zac Blomeley
  • Normandy Inshore Program - France - Clement Michel
All of the teams were very excited and satisfied after the first day of racing on Northern Lake Garda, an epic venue that today definitely lived up to everyone's expectations.

"It was a great day of sailing in Torbole today - flat water and awesome wind, so it was very fun!" commented Arnaud Grange, back ashore. "It is our first time sailing together as a team, so the plan was to keep it simple and have clear maneuvering, and I think it worked pretty well. The fleet is of a high level. Today was kind of a preparatory day, and we started on the right foot and are happy about it. Antigua won the last event in La Grande Motte, so they are the team to beat this week. We didn't feel too rusty even though we haven't raced in the 69F for a while, but we had a few days of training last week, and we felt well-prepared today for the regattas. We don't have a specific goal, but we want to sail well with clear starts and nice maneuvers, hoping to qualify for the Grand Final in Barcelona in November."

"I come from Olympic classes sailing, like most of my team," says Alexandra Stalder, skipper of the local team. "I normally sail on the 49er FX, but I have sailed on the 69F before, during the three-day trials Alinghi RedBull Racing organized in Switzerland this summer - which I passed, and I will attend the final round in Barcelona - but it is the first time with this team. Onboard, it was the first time foiling for some of us, like my FX crew member, Silvia Speri. We had our first time on the water yesterday, and the feeling was good. We foiled a little, and our issue today was more about the short, fast-paced races, quick decisions, fast maneuvering... we closed day one partially satisfied. We want to do better! The 69F is a fun boat but very technical and different from the FX. It has some similarities with it and some with the Nacra 17. We cannot wait to have more races and try not to be eliminated and grow as a team. Two of us are usually single-handed sailors on the ILCA, and we want to make the Yacht Club proud, as we are here representing them."

Racing will continue tomorrow in Torbole with the goal for the fleet to move to the Gold Fleet on Saturday and hopefully claim a spot at the Grand Finals in Barcelona from November 2nd to the 5th. The Antigua Rum Runners and Dutchsail Jajo have qualified in May in La Grand Motte, Alps Racing and Enzedder Racing got their tickets in Miami in January, and one more opportunity will come up with the 69F YFGC ACT 3 in Barcelona from October 23rd to the 29th. Act 3 was supposed to take place in Kingston, Canada, over the summer but got moved to the 37th America's Cup venue in Spain.

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