Bermudian Farrow nails colours to USA mast
Preston Farrow feels he has a point to prove as he and his Next Generation USA team-mates put the final touches to their Red Bull Youth America’s Cup preparations.
Farrow was left devastated after missing the final cut for Team BDA but refused to give up on his dream, immediately alerting Next Generation USA of his dual citizenship through his mother.
The 22-year-old was invited to Spain in November last year to help Next Generation USA become the American representative in the Youth America’s Cup after defeating the other United States hopeful 13Fifty.
“I was devastated, gutted to miss the final cut for the Bermuda team, mainly because I’d put so much effort into it,” said Farrow, who performs the physically demanding role of grinder.
“Looking back it was all part of the journey and I really enjoyed my time with the Bermuda team.
“I thought I was a strong candidate and was a bit surprised to miss out, but I’ve no hard feelings and they have been an important part of my story.”
Farrow admits the timing of his e-mail to Carson Crain, team manager of Next Generation USA, was perfect as they were still finalising their squad for the upcoming sailing evaluation by Red Bull.
As a finance major at Loyola University Maryland, spearheading the sponsorship and finances for Next Generation USA was also a role that Farrow could naturally fill.
There was still plenty of work to do, though, as Farrow and his six-strong team-mates had just five days to gel before having to convince evaluator Hans-Peter Steinacher that they were the team he should select to represent the US.
“I popped an e-mail to the team manager and told him how hard I’d worked and that I was still keen to participate in the Youth America’s Cup,” said the former Saltus Grammar School and Somersfield Academy pupil.
“He invited me down to Palma de Mallorca for the evaluation and things just kicked on from there. When we actually beat out the US team for the spot, I was like, ‘Oh wow, I’m actually going to be competing in Bermuda for the US team and not Bermuda’. That’s when it really hit me.”
While he did not previously have the deepest knowledge of sailing, Farrow — a keen footballer and swimmer — said he has benefited greatly from intense training blocks both in Bermuda and Palma de Mallorca.
“When I first started at Team BDA we were split into two groups: the athletes and the sailors, and I came under the ‘athletes’,” said Farrow, who lives in St George’s.
“I had a base knowledge of sailing as I did the opti programme out of the [Royal Hamilton Amateur] Dinghy Club growing up; you can’t really hide from the water in Bermuda.”
Farrow, whose team are coached by Iker Martínez — a former 49er Olympic Gold medallist and Volvo Ocean Race Skipper — is confident that Next Generation USA can challenge for honours in the Great Sound next month. He will, however, have mixed emotions about racing on home waters against a Bermudian team including several of his good friends.
“I’m a competitor and I want to go out there and win,” Farrow said. “When I’m out there, I’ll take no prisoners but, obviously, I want to see Bermuda do well, as long as they’re behind us!
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