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Team Bermuda christen new boat

Photograph by Peter BackebergCat got the cream: Team Bermuda, who will compete in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, named their training boat CAT-5 after pouring champagne over its hull during a christening ceremony at Darrell’s Island

The benefits of competing in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup “extend well beyond the racecourse”.

This was the message driven home by Dr Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, who was among the dignitaries present for yesterday’s christening at Darrell’s Island of the high-performance foiling GC32 catamaran Bermuda’s sailors will hone their skills in as they prepare for next year’s spectacle.

“Having a Bermuda team in the Youth America’s Cup is yet another wonderful opportunity that has arisen from Bermuda’s hosting of the America’s Cup,” Gibbons said. “These young Bermudians have grabbed this opportunity with both hands.

“The benefits of this experience extend well beyond the racecourse. They are learning what it’s like to operate in a professional sporting environment and developing life skills that they will carry into their future endeavours.”

The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup provides young sailors with a pathway into the America’s Cup.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, Olympic gold medal winners and multiple world champions, competed in the inaugural regatta held in San Francisco in 2013 and have since been recruited by America’s Cup racing syndicates.

“To me, the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is about opportunity,” Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle Team USA skipper, said.

“Up until now, there hasn’t really been a pathway for younger sailors to advance into the America’s Cup. But since the first Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in 2013, we have seen at least five sailors who competed last time, who took the opportunity to showcase their skills, recruited to work with one of the America’s Cup teams now.

“My hope is that we’ll see some of the guys and girls on Team BDA embrace this challenge and hopefully they’ll end up on one of the America’s Cup teams next time around.”

Team Bermuda’s GC32 was named Cat-5 by the 11 squad members who sought a moniker that reflects the high-performance multihull racing yacht.

As an affiliate of Oracle Team USA, the America’s Cup defender, Team Bermuda has secured an automatic spot in the qualifying series of the Youth America’s Cup. Oracle are also helping Team Bermuda prepare for the event.

Team Bermuda is a privately funded enterprise supported by corporate sponsors Arch Capital Group Ltd, KPMG, Ascendant Group, Belco and Hamilton Re, and individual donations, as well as goods and services from a number of local business partners.

“Building a team to compete at this level is no easy task, so the support this team continues to receive is greatly appreciated,” Peter Durhager, the chairman of Team BDA, said.

Bermuda will host the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup from June 12 to 21.

The teams will compete in the AC45F, the same racing yacht being used by the America’s Cup teams in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.

The first Youth America’s Cup was contested in conventional catamarans which have since been fitted with hydrofoils that lift the hulls out of the water, enabling the boat to travel faster than the true wind speed.