Spithill backing Bermuda youth to succeed
Jimmy Spithill has no doubts that the team that represents Bermuda at the next Red Bull Youth America's Cup will be equal to the task.
And the Oracle Team USA skipper believes having Bermuda compete at this level will in turn lure more youngsters into the sport.
“Bermudians are good mariners and good on the water and I think they will pick the skills up quickly,” the two-times America's Cup winner said. “They'll actually get our boat [AC45F] after we finish the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup, and I reckon those guys will be good.
“I think it's going to be great in Bermuda,” he said. “I think it's a great time for the sport and will really help grow it.”
After two open fitness combines, 40 athletes have met the minimum physical and mental standards necessary to advance in the selection process of Bermuda's team.
A third combine will take place on December 20 for young athletes who have not yet tried out for the team at Oracle's gymnasium in Dockyard.
By early 2016 the selection committee hopes to identify a squad of 18 of the Island's best sailors and athletes who, with intensive training and coaching, will be equipped to compete with the world's best young sailors in the wing sail foiling AC45F catamaran.
The final racing team will consist of six squad members, with others supporting as training partners and a shore team.
“I think the Bermudian Red Bull Youth America's Cup team are getting themselves very well organized,” Sir Russell Coutts, the Oracle chief executive officer, said.
“I am impressed with their attitude and how quick they have put together a solid organization.
“They have got a lot of interest, not only from good sailing kids, but good athletes which I think they can mix in.”
The Red Bull Youth America's Cup offers young sailors a pathway to the senior America's Cup level.
“We have already seen the rewards,” said Spithill, who helped drive the project into existence.
“The guy who won the last one, Peter Burling, he is now steering Team New Zealand.
“I think it's awesome that the pathway is working for these youth sailors who have the dream and can say ‘okay, that's how I can get to the America's Cup'.”