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America's Cup for All

2023 October 1

A new series of races gives women and young sailors opportunity for foiling in Barcelona

“After having been tested in many aspects of sailing, these YAC trials give me a chance to apply my knowledge from hard nose laser racing and also my tactical skills as a multiple disciplinary sailor,” McCann said. “I feel privileged to be working with the level of talent that’s in the running for the spots on the team. Foiling is the wave of the future. Heck, it is the reality of today. The more we learn, the better we can get and the better the eventual team will be.” 

McClennen said at least one youth team candidate, Harry Melges, along with several other sailors on the Women’s and Youth development teams have been assigned to assist with the training of the American Magic AC75 Team. 

“Terry called me up and asked who we had in the pipeline that could help the team,” he said. “I told him about Harry and some others. Now they are on the roster.  That’s an indication of how closely we are working with Terry and head coach Tom Burnham.” 

According to Muller, the coaches are looking for sailors with good technique, communication and teamwork. 

The sailors practice starts.
Craig Ligibel photo 
“We’ve spent about 40 days on the water with our candidates. We have a pretty good idea who will make the team. A lot of it comes down to the human element, who will be the best fit for the team. Racing a boat going 40 knots using a tablet is a whole new ball game. New skills come into play.”

Perez says that her role models include Leech and her Mighty Mary teammates. 

“I have seen how those sailors have stuck together over the years. They paved the way for us to have this opportunity to form this women’s team. For a young person to make it today, you need to be focused, enthusiastic and not afraid to tackle new challenges,” Perez said. “Moths and WASPS are good training for the America’s Cup. But Lasers and other non-foiling boats are important too. You never know where you will pick up additional skills on the water.”

On the second day of the Newport trials, the wind was fluky and didn’t top more than 10 knots. This was enough wind to get the 69Fs foiling when they flew their kites. To the untrained eye, the teams on the water appeared to be handling their boats easily. Phil Muller put the skippers and crews through their paces, replicating rolling starts and jibes under pressure. The selection will continue throughout the year.

A tight-lipped Muller seemed happy with the quality of the sailors, but wasn’t ready to say who made the cut.

“All I can say is I am confident we will field a team that we can be proud of.” 

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