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Astwood rejoins Team Japan

Going back: Astwood had been working with Team Japan before training with Team BDA (Photograph by Meredith Andrews)

Connor Astwood has given up his spot on Team BDA’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup squad to rejoin SoftBank Team Japan.

Astwood, who is of Japanese-Bermudian descent, had been working with Team Japan on a full-time basis until last January when he began training full-time with Bermuda’s Youth America’s Cup entry.

He will now resume his role with Team Japan and not take part in June’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup with Team BDA.

“Having learnt so much from Team BDA it was a tough decision to make,” Astwood said. “I have made good friends there who I will always be in touch with, and I hope they do well in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.

“Now I am back with SoftBank Team Japan, helping in the shed to get the boat ready everyday, and going out on the water in a support boat.”

Astwood now aims to gain as much knowledge as possible during his stint with Team Japan.

“Going forward I will be trying to soak in as much of the experience as I can and I hope to learn many things from this world-class team,” he said.

Laura Cutler, the Team BDA manager, said Astwood’s return to Team Japan is another example of the “America’s Cup creating so many unique opportunities”.

“We completely understand Connor’s wish to pursue his dream and support his decision,” she added.

Astwood is the second Team BDA sailor to join Team Japan’s ranks, after Emily Nagel.

Nagel, who competed in the 2015 ISAF Team Racing World Championships as well as other world and European championships, gave up her place on Team BDA last month to work full-time with Team Japan’s design team.

She comes highly qualified for the job having graduated with a master’s degree in engineering with naval architecture from the University of Southampton last year.