Stevens feels need for speed
The mere thought of flying around at high speeds on the foiling AC45F catamaran is enough to make the hair on Dimitri Stevens's neck stand up.
The 20-year-old sailor is among those trying out for Bermuda's team to compete in the Red Bull Youth America's Cup.
Racing along at three times the actual wind speed on hydrofoils that enable the AC45F to fly above the water is something that Stevens hopes to experience should he make the final cut.
“The boats are ridiculously fast and are the cutting edge of technology so it would be great to sail on one,” said Stevens, who has represented Bermuda in various classes and competed in the 635 nautical mile Newport to Bermuda Race.
“It's a great opportunity that I would have never thought was actually possible.”
Stevens admits getting to grips with the newly modified AC45F catamaran will be a daunting task but is nonetheless up for the challenge.
“I haven't foiled before so that would be a step up for me,” he said.
“The foiling side is new but it would not be the first fast boat I have sailed having sailed in the 29er which is the little cousin of the 49er. It will be a massive step up for me in terms of foiling and the speed that the AC45F travels.”
Stevens was among the 50 energetic and enthusiastic youngsters who were put through their paces at last weekend's Bermuda Red Bull Youth America's Cup team combine in Dockyard which tested them both mentally and physically.
“You have to be physically fit to sail these boats so there was a lot of emphasis on physical ability,” Stevens said.
“Physicality is a big part of it and then thinking while fatigued is another big part of it and then it's just pure sailing skill.”
On hand to lecture the participants at the combine was Tom Slingsby, the Oracle Team USA team manager and Olympic gold medallist.
“It was very interesting seeing Tom Slingsby in person for the first time,” Stevens said.
“I've seen him on television sailing the Laser in the Olympics, but seeing him in real life was a different feeling.
“It's nice to see people like Tom Slingsby in person who have become successful in sailing and who do it as a living. He delivered a speech which gave you a sense of how he thinks about sailing as a sport, as a hobby and as a job.”
A second fitness combine has been scheduled for September 26.
A total of 78 youngsters have expressed an interest in trying out for Bermuda's Red Bull Youth America's Cup team since last month's initial casting call for sailors.
The final squad will consist of six members who will represent the Island at the next Red Bull Youth America's Cup to be contested in the same wing-sail, foiling AC45F catamarans being used in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series.
Team New Zealand won the inaugural Red Bull Youth America's Cup in 2013.