Special to Nordstjernan from the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup
San Francisco; September 4, 2013

Now that the Red Bull Youth Challenge has concluded, let us thank these young Vikings who provided such exciting sailing. We share their disappointment in just missing a podium position, but we are proud of what they accomplished. We wish them well in their sailing careers and hope to see them in a future America’s Cup.
These seven young Swedish Vikings came ashore in San Francisco in late August prepared to sail against the best in the world. They had been selected from among eighty candidates by the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS) to represent their country in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. For the first four days of September, in two races daily, a crew of six sailors between the ages of 19-24, raced a fleet of AC45s against seven other countries on San Francisco Bay.
It was wonderful to welcome back Coach Björn Johansson, Helmsman Charlie Ekberg and Tactician Niclas Düring. With them were the rest of the crew—Andreas Axelsson (wingman), Nils Åkervall (bowman), Arvid Bild (trimmer), Jonathan Ameln (trimmer) and Tom Gross (trimmer). All had only been together since June and most had not sailed these AC45s before.


RBYAC Opportunity
Speaking for the team, Coach Johansson repeated his philosophy from last year: This is the first opportunity for these young sailors, the cream of the crop in Sweden, to be recognized on a world stage for their skill. As before, he put much of the responsibility upon the team itself to take charge and grow into this responsibility. Sweden remains proud of these sailors and appreciated their performance in the competition.
The team thanked Artemis Racing and the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS) for sponsoring them in this event, where ten teams represented eight nations competing for four days. Half these teams were sponsored by the teams competing in the America’s Cup World Series; the other half were selected from other nations around the world. The teams (sponsors and countries) which competed in this inaugural Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in San Francisco were: Objective Australia (Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, AUS), Next World Energy Team (Yacht Club de France, FRA), All In/Racing (Bootshaus 20, GRM), New Zealand Sailing Team/ETNZ (Yachting New Zealand, NZL), Full Metal Jacket Racing (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, NZL), ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team (Naval Club of Cascais, POR), Swedish Youth Challenge/ Artemis Racing (Royal Swedish Yacht Club [KSSS], SWE), Team Tilt (Sociéte Nautique de Geneve [SNG], SWS), American Youth Sailing Force (Richmond[CA] Yacht Club, USA) and USA45 Racing (San Diego Yacht Club, USA).
The Swedes held tryouts for the team for one week per month through the first quarter of this year. During that time sailors sailed 18-footers and single-person, hydroplaning Moths. Later the candidates sailed on bigger boats, M32s. One particularly important part of the training was in Italy, thanks to Berg Propulsion, which provided the large boats and the chance to train with two former Olympians.

Artemis Racing and the Royal Swedish Yacht Club
Also priceless was the support of Artemis and KSSS. The team spoke of the extreme kindness of Artemis in letting these younger sailors watch and learn the rigor, discipline and operations of a Cup team, both on shore and off. They were very privileged and proud to actually feel a part of Artemis Racing. Charlie and Niclas were the first two teammates chosen, and thanks to Artemis they were able to participate in the World Series in Naples. Further training on the M32 and SeaCat26 class boats in Sweden gave the entire crew even more experience than they expected.
They could not say enough about the mentoring they received from the Artemis crew, from their first day of sailing with the team. Andrew Palfrey, the head coach of Artemis, spent two weeks coaching them as did Maxime Albrecht, the Artemis chase boat driver, and Troy Tindill, captain of the foiling AC45, who coached them in wing trimming in Naples.
They also received coaching while actually sailing the AC45s. The daring Nathan Outteridge coached Charlie in helmsmanship; the five time Cup veteran Sean Clarkson, Artemis’ Wing Trimmer and Grinder, taught the crew this critical skill on the boats; as did Rodney Adhern, a three-time Cup veteran, teaching them to true the giant wing.
All these critical skills had to be learned quickly—a steep curve for novices—in the brief periods of mentoring, which the Artemis teammates could spare while deep in their own competition. The young crew admitted that while the basics of sailing are the same, the radically greater speed and forces on these boats plus the brief time they spent on the boats since June when the team gelled, was intense.

Steep learning curve
Last spring was grueling in training camps, based upon what they had learned from visiting Artemis’ training camp in February. Their apprenticeships with America’s Cup teams showed the dedication required to be world-class sailors at the peak of their game. They hope to provide such opportunities on larger class boats to other Swedish teams of young sailors. Now they all want to open the eyes of youth in Sweden to the exhilaration and demands of these faster boats.
The coach admitted that the learning curve undergone by these 18-24 year olds is at least twice as fast and steep as that experienced by the previous generation of sailors. And these young sailors are more open-minded and receptive than any he has witnessed. They have seen and realized the possibilities and what is required to reach the top ranks of sailing. Jimmy Spithill, Oracle’s helmsman and the youngest winner of the Cup, has remarked that this Red Bull competition is the greatest stimulus to future world class sailors, not merely for spotlighting them but also for allowing them to see and learn from their own heroes.

Participating in the America’s Cup World Series was the chance of a lifetime for these young sailors. In February, Düring prepped for the Korean boat in Naples. From working the winches, to shore crewing, to tailing on the chase boat, and changing the sails, he saw first hand the teamwork that goes into any team to compete at this level, whether on the boat crew or on the shore crew.
It turned out Nick and Charlie were the youngest sailors in the regatta. And when their teammates were reticent to participate in the Opening Ceremonies they sent Nick and Charlie to stand and speak before forty thousand people. Overall, the experience was a superb introduction into how sailing at the ACWS-level works.

Women in world-class sailing
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of talking with the Swedish team and coach was to learn, as they had hinted in February, the Swedes considered three women for the team and had chosen one for their crew. As Coach Johansson said, and all the crew agreed, she was as good, strong and skillful as any man on the crew. Sofie Düring, the sister of the tactician, decided in the end not to come to San Francisco.
We congratulate the team on exemplifying Swedish egality, noting that she earned her place strictly on merit. While we will miss her and eagerly look forward to seeing her sailing prowess in other competitions, one can only imagine the field day that the international press would have applied had she participated.
It is useful to remember that AC commentator Tucker Thompson, in response to a question, mentioned that he too had sailed with a woman in early Cup competition. She was in every way as fit and accomplished as her male colleagues. Both Thompson and local sailing Olympian, Jenny Tilloch, anticipate that gender equality will be an issue in the next America’s Cup.

After Red Bull races
So, in the end how did this experience in the Red Bull races prepare the team for the 35th America’s Cup? They answered as one: Were it not for this, none of them would have any chance of being noticed for the next Cup. There are simply too few opportunities to break out of the pack, lacking a lucky break for a Cup team, an Olympic medal, or a world-girdling race.
As Charlie Ekberg said at a press briefing—as one of only two helmsmen (the other was Peter Burling, RBYAC winner for New Zealand) who had participated in ACWS competition—he believes the level of competition in this regatta is even higher than in the ACWS of Naples. Here these young sailors were all evenly matched and all teams underwent the same world-class training with their peers, under the tutelage of their Red Bull coaches. Given that the AC45s are identical boats, these eight fleet races were extremely tight for picking the winning team and country. On the last day (with one race rather than two), a majority of the teams were vying for podium positions and only the winner was predictable. As the coaches had taught them, it was not sufficient to merely round the first mark first—the winning teams had to show consistency throughout the races and be able to advance through the pack.
In that initial briefing, as he sat beside the helmsmen of all other teams, I asked Ekberg to speak for his colleagues. This America’s Cup’s motto is “The fastest boats; the best sailors,” whereas the Red Bull’s concept for this competition seems to be based upon the original words of the Deed of Trust establishing this longest international sports competition: “A friendly competition among nations.”
So, how does it feel to be representing your country? Ekberg graciously spoke for all, and in addition to thanking Red Bull for highlighting before the world their individual and team achievements, the fact that each team represents its country adds pride to their motivation and buoys them. This has been a keen honor deeply appreciated by each sailor on all of the teams.
We wish our Swedish sailors well in their careers, wherever the winds may take them.

San Francisco.

130904 RBYAC Final Standings
to be incorporated at bottom of Nordstjernan online update
130904 RBYAC Final

Red Bull Youth America’s Cup – FINAL Standings

Rank / Team Name (ACWS 2012 Team sponsor, Country) / Place per Race / Cumulative Points
1. New Zealand Sailing Team (ETNZ, NZL) / 2-*-7-3-1-1-4 / 57 points

2. Full Metal Jacket Racing (NZL) / 7-1-4-6-6-3-5 / 45 points

3. ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team (POR) / 3-6-1-8-8-5-2 / 44 points

4. Team TILT (SUI) / 8-5-2-2-9-7-1 / 43 points

5. American Youth Sailing Force (OTUSA, USA) / 1-7-3-5-7-4-8 / 42 points

6. Swedish Youth Challenge (Artemis Racing, SWE) / 6-2-9-1-4-6-10 / 39 points

7. Objective Australia (AUS) / *-10-6-10-2-3 / 38 points

8. Next World Energy (Energy Team, FRA) / 4-4-8-4-5-9-6 / 37 points

9. All In Racing (GER) / 5-8-5-9-3-8-9 / 30 points

10. USA45 Racing (USA) / 9-9-10-7-10-10-7 / 15 points

(* = RDG = redress awarded by International Jury)

NOTES—Red Bull Youth America’s Cup races:
1. With 10 teams, in each race, first place is awarded 10 points; second, 9 points; etc.
2. The RBYAC series consists of fleet racing; all 10 teams race the pack at once—an initial reach, six legs up and down the course; and, a dash to the finish line.
3. The RBYAC series held two races per day for four days (September 1-4, 2013) in front of bleachers of spectators lining the America’s Cup Village shoreline at San Francisco’s Marina Green.
4. Race-8, which would have doubled the points per place and widened the point-spread between teams, was cancelled due to excessive wind-speed, during the first half hour when it was supposed to be run.
5. As a result, the standings and podium positions were determined by the cumulative standings after only seven races, not eight.
6. Five teams were sponsored by ACWS teams (USA, SWE, FRA and NZL); five other teams were selected as the most accomplished sailors, among almost two dozen team applications from international yacht clubs.
7. The teams were composed of six sailors, aged 19-24, all representing, and typically chosen by their country. So, this is truly “a friendly competition among nations.”
8. The 10 teams used the Red Bull rebranded AC45 catamarans (powered by giant, hard-wing sails) used by America’s Cup teams in the ACWS races. All these boats are uniform, so the standings indicated the ranking of the skills of each country in each race.