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Bermuda ramp up full-time training

Building camaraderie: Team Bermuda with their training boat

Team Bermuda have stepped up their preparations for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup after embarking on a full-time training schedule to prepare for the event in June.

Since the squad was announced in September, the team have participated in a series of intensive training camps to get ready to race in the foiling AC45s against some of the top youth sailors in the world.

“The amount of progress we’ve seen, in a relatively short space of time has been impressive,” Richard Clarke, the Team Bermuda head coach, said.

“This is not just about building the sailing skills, it’s also about building camaraderie and confidence in each other. So far I’m really pleased.”

The intense physical and mental demands of a foiling catamaran meant that selectors sought out not just Bermuda’s best young sailors but also its best young athletes.

With several team members having little to no sailing experience, these initial camps gave them a chance to put some time on the water and develop their sailing skills.

Time in the gym has also been a critical part of the team’s development with a strict and specialised training regimen in place. The level of physical training has been as eye-opening for some as learning to sail has been for others.

“Let’s just say we [the sailors] have been showing them the ropes on the water and they [the athletes] have been kicking our butts in the gym,” said team member Peter Dill.

“But now we’re all on the same page and there’s no difference, just one team with one goal.”

With the five months of preparation before the event, the team will be spending plenty of time on the Great Sound flying above the water on their training boat, CAT-5.

CAT-5 is a GC32 — which is 32-foot foiling catamaran, capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots.

“We’ve had a tremendous amount of support from the community to get the boat ready and out on the water,” Mustafa Ingham said. “The whole team understands the investment being made in us and we’re looking forward to representing Bermuda with pride.”

CAT-5 will be the team’s main training platform before they transition onto the AC45s for the Youth America’s Cup regatta.

As Bermuda’s entry into the Youth America’s Cup, they will compete against up to 15 youth teams representing nations from around the world. The competition was designed to provide a pathway for young sailors into the highest levels of international sailing, including the America’s Cup itself.

Several sailors who took part in the 2013 regatta in San Francisco are now members of the full America’s Cup teams, including Peter Burling who was the winning skipper in San Francisco and is now the helmsman for Emirates Team New Zealand.

Each America’s Cup team have an entry in the Youth America’s Cup and Bermuda’s place was guaranteed when Oracle Team USA chose the local team as their representative.

“For Oracle Team USA to back the Bermuda team created an incredible opportunity for us,” Emily Nagel said. “Now its up to us to put our heads down, work hard and show the world what we’ve got.”