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Sailors show encouraging signs for Clarke

Sail on: Two of Bermuda’s Youth America’s Cup sailors get to grips with the Nacra 17 catamaran in the Great Sound

Richard Clarke, the Bermuda Red Bull Youth America’s Cup coach, is encouraged by the team’s progress but said there is still room for improvement as his sailors prepare to take on the world’s elite.

“This team is full of potential, just very short on multihull experience,” Clarke said.

“The one nice thing is we have the luxury of time and commitment to achieve the improvement needed to be competitive in the Youth America’s Cup.”

The Bermuda Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, to be held in the Great Sound next June, will be contested in the foiling AC45F catamaran which is the same boat being used in the present Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.

Team members are training in the Olympic class Nacra 17 catamaran to help them prepare for the big step up to foiling boats.

“Nacras don’t foil and our group needs to learn to crawl before they can sprint,” Clarke said.

“We are teaching multihull fundamentals and getting them to master those basic skills before advancing to a flying platform.

“For most of our team sailing the Nacras is like learning to ride a unicycle; completely new and like nothing they’ve tried before.

“They’ve all ridden bikes before but the unicycle is a whole new thing.

“They are getting much better. They are now mastering basic multihull sailing skills, but still have a massive way to go.”

If all goes accordingly Bermuda’s Red Bull sailors could start training in the foiling GC32 catamaran next month.

“With the accelerated learning curve the team is achieving its possible we’ll be foiling in the GC32 in August,” Clarke said.

The Bermuda Red Bull Youth America’s Cup committee announced in March the final 15 members of Team Bermuda to compete against some of the best young sailors in the world.

The team consists of both sailors and athletes from various sporting backgrounds.

“What’s been really cool and rewarding is seeing how quickly some of the athletes are progressing,” Clarke added. “Some of them are almost interchangeable with the sailors!”

Team Bermuda is being mentored by Oracle Team USA and as a result of the affiliation with the defender of the America’s Cup have been granted a free pass to the qualifying series of the Youth America’s Cup.

“The sky’s the limit with this team although we have realistic expectations ... be safe and competitive, make the finals but mostly push themselves past their own limits and expectations,” Clarke said.

Bermuda’s sailors are taking part in a training camp this week at the Spanish Point Boat Club.