Beginning January 9, 2017, TeamBDA ramped up its preparations for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup as it embarked on a full-time training schedule for the June event.
Since the final team was announced in September 2016, its members have participated in a series of intensive training camps. These one-week camps were the first steps in getting ready to race foiling AC45s against some of the top youth sailors in the world, right here in Bermuda.
“The amount of progress we’ve seen, in a relatively short space of time has been impressive,” says Richard Clarke, TeamBDA’s head coach. “This is not just about building the sailing skills, it is also about building camaraderie and confidence in each other. So far I’m really pleased.”
Mr Clarke also says the journey is only just beginning. The intense physical and mental demands of a foiling catamaran meant that selectors sought out not just Bermuda’s best young sailors but also its best young athletes. So several team member had little to no sailing experience. These initial camps gave them a chance to put some time on the water and develop their sailing skills.
Time in the gym has also been a critical part of the team's development thus far with a strict and specialised training regimen in place. This level of physical training has been as eye-opening for some as learning to sail has been for others.
“Let’s just say we (the sailors) have been showing them the ropes on the water and they (the athletes) have been kicking our butts in the gym,” says Peter Dill.
“But now we’re all on the same page and there’s no difference, just one team with one goal.”
With the five months of preparation before the main event, Bermuda can expect to see more and more of the team out on the Great Sound flying above the water on their training boat, CAT-5.
CAT-5 is a GC32 – which is 32-foot, foiling catamaran, capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots. The team chose the name because the catamaran races with five crew and is “a force to be reckoned with”.
“We’ve had a tremendous amount of support from the community to get the boat ready and out on the water,” says Mustafa Ingham. “The whole team understands the investment being made in us and we’re looking forward to representing Bermuda with pride.”
CAT-5 will be the team’s main training platform before they transition onto the AC45s for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup regatta.
As Bermuda’s entry into this June’s Youth America’s Cup, TeamBDA will compete against up to 15 youth teams representing nations from around the world. The competition was designed to provide a pathway for young sailors into the highest levels of international sailing, including the America’s Cup itself.
Several sailors who took part in the 2013 regatta in San Francisco are now members of the full America’s Cup teams. This includes Peter Burling who was the winning skipper in San Francisco and is now the helmsman for Emirates Team New Zealand.
Each America’s Cup team has an entry in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup and Bermuda’s place was guaranteed when ORACLE TEAM USA chose the local team as their representative.
“For ORACLE TEAM USA to back the Bermuda team created an incredible opportunity for us,” says Emily Nagel. “Now its up to us to put our heads down, work hard and show the world what we’ve got.”
You can follow Team BDA’s progress at www.acbda.bm/team-bda and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.