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Team BDA head for Italy

Making a splash: Team BDA will compete in the GC32 Racing Tour opener on Lake Garda in Italy next month

Team BDA’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup sailors will get some “real-time” racing experience under their belt at next month’s GC32 Racing Tour opener on Lake Garda, Italy.

“We plan to take the team to the opening GC32 event in Lake Garda in May for some much needed real-time race experience and starting line practice in preparation for June [the Youth America’s Cup],” Laura Cutler, the Team BDA manager, said. “We have not had any chance for real-time racing except during our AC45F training last week.”

Nestled among the Italian alps, Lake Garda is a venue renowned for its flat water and big wind conditions, making it one of the most popular choices for grand prix sailing championships.

The GC32 foiling catamaran is the class yacht Team BDA are using as a training platform before they transition to the one-design AC45F foiling catamaran that they will compete in against some of the world’s elite during the Youth America’s Cup regatta.

Team BDA made their debut in the AC45F during last week’s practice period.

They impressed in practice racing against Red Bull rivals Team Tilt, Land Rover BAR and Kaijin Team Japan, posting two victories to send confidence soaring.

However, the week did not go without incident as grinders Danny Bell and Shomari Warner were thrown overboard during a practice drill in the Great Sound on Saturday.

“Whilst executing a manoeuvre in training on the Great Sound Danny and Shomari went overboard but were immediately pulled from the water and both reported that they were fine, with no issues,” Cutler said. “Solely as a matter of precaution, the team decided to have them assessed at the hospital, taking all necessary precautions. Both were released from the hospital when it was clear there were no problems.”

Saturday’s mishap followed on the heels of Team BDA’s capsize in their GC32 catamaran in the Little Sound last month in which the crew and boat emerged unscathed.

Team BDA will resume sailing next week in their GC32, which squad members named Cat-5 to reflect the high-performance multihull racing yacht.

“We are off this week, except for training sessions at the gym,” Cutler said. “We go back on the water with the GC32 on April 18.”

The Youth America’s Cup will take place on the Great Sound from June 12 to 21 and will feature 12 teams racing in the AC45F, the same foiling catamarans that were used in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.

The teams will be divided into two qualifying groups of six with the top four from each group advancing to the finals. The qualifiers will be held from June 12 to 16 and the finals June 20 to 21.

Team BDA are grouped in pool B with NZL Sailing team (New Zealand), Land Rover BAR Academy (Great Britain), Spanish Impulse team (Spain), Next Generation USA and Candidate Sailing team of Austria.

Pool A will comprise Artemis Youth Racing (Sweden), Team France Jeune, Kaijin Team Japan, Youth Vikings Denmark, Team Tilt (Switzerland) and SVB Team Germany.

The aim of the Youth America’s Cup is to provide sailors ages 19 to 25 with a pathway to the America’s Cup.