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NZL Sailing Team aiming to defend Red Bull Youth America's Cup

19
January
2017
by Michael Brown

The next crop of potential America’s Cup sailors has been identified with the naming of the NZL Sailing Team for this year’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.

The NZL Sailing Team will go into the event, which runs in conjunction with the America’s Cup in Bermuda in June, as defending champions.

Logan Dunning Beck will be skipper and helmsman for the campaign and will be joined by Stewart Dodson, Isaac McHardie, Micah Wilkinson, Matt Kempkers, Luca Brown, Harry Hull and Josh Salthouse.

(The NZL Sailing Team - Luca Brown, Matthew Kempkers, Harry Hull, Logan Dunning Beck, Josh Salthouse, Isaac McHardie, Micah Wilkinson. Absent: Stewart Dodson)

It’s a good mix of sailors from Olympic classes, keelboats and catamarans, with Dunning Beck, McHardie and Wilkinson members of Yachting New Zealand’s Aon Fast Track programme which aims to accelerate the development of talented youngsters into Olympic campaigners. Many also have designs on being involved in future America’s Cups.

If ever there was an illustration of the valuable pathway the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup provides, it is the fact four of the team who won in 2013 are now key members of Emirates Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup campaign this year.

Peter Burling was skipper and helmsman of the youth team four years ago and is now Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman. He was joined on the boat by Blair Tuke, Andy Maloney and Guy Endean who are also members of Emirates Team New Zealand.

On top of that, Olympians Sam Meech, who won bronze in the Laser in Rio, and Jason Saunders, who finished fourth in the Nacra 17 with Gemma Jones, were also on board in 2013.

“It’s a great opportunity to be involved with a team event and if you perform well it can really open doors,” Dunning Beck said. “It’s an opportunity to show America’s Cup teams that you’re good enough to step up to that level.

“We have got a really good bunch of guys who have a lot of experience and the ability to do really well at this event. It’s also just plain cool to be sailing boats like this.”

The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup will be sailed in the same AC45 foiling catamarans the America’s Cup teams competed in during the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series and are capable of at least 37 knots (68kmh).

All six teams competing in the America’s Cup will race in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup along with entries from Austria, Bermuda, Denmark, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. Six sailors aged 19-25 will be on each catamaran.

(The NZL Sailing Team won the 2013 Youth America's Cup. Photo: Martial Gobet)

As many as 40 youngsters applied to be part of the NZL Sailing Team, with 13 invited to trial. Emirates Team New Zealand helped with the selection of the final team of eight.

They will be allowed to practice on an AC45 for a maximum of seven days before the official practice sessions. In the meantime, the NZL Sailing Team have been training on a GC32 foiling catamaran, which is similar to the AC45s.

Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup was a good chance to expose some of this country’s best young sailors to a professional environment. He also said the team will have a simple goal.

“The only reason to enter is if you’ve got a decent chance of winning,” Abercrombie said. “Many of the teams have a lot of experience sailing the AC45s but we have a pretty strong team. It’s not going to be easy, but we’re going to give it our best shot.

“Emirates Team New Zealand have been very supportive throughout the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup campaign and they must also be congratulated for this week adding Nespresso as a sponsor.”

 

NZL Sailing Team

Logan Dunning Beck

Age: 23

Yacht club: Wakatere Boating Club, Auckland

Career highlights: 1st 2016 Weymouth Sailing World Cup 49er, 1st Melbourne Sailing World Cup 49er.

 

Stewart Dodson

Age: 23

Yacht club: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Auckland

Career highlights: 1st 2012 New Zealand youth match racing championships, 2nd 2013 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, 1st 2016 World Match Racing Tour, member of Red Bull Sailing Team.

 

Isaac McHardie

Age: 19

Yacht club: Royal Akarana Yacht Club, Auckland

Career highlights: 1st 2013 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships SL16 catamaran, 3rd 2014 ISAF Youth World Championships 29er, 2nd 2016 Red Bull Foiling Generation.

 

Micah Wilkinson

Age: 21

Yacht club: Ngaroto Sailing Club

Career highlights: 1st 2013 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships SL16 catamaran, 5th 2014 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships SL16 catamaran, 5th 2014 29er world championships, 1st Red Bull Foiling Generation world championships.

 

Matthew Kempkers

Age: 22

Yacht club: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Auckland

Career highlights: 5th 2016 Red Bull Foiling Generation, 4th 2016 Laser national championships, 5th 2016 New Zealand open match racing national championships.

 

Luca Brown

Age: 23

Yacht club: Murrays Bay Yacht Club, Auckland

Career highlights: 6th 2016 Extreme Sailing Series (Sydney), 2012 U20 Canterbury rugby team

 

Harry Hull

Age: 22

Yacht club: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Auckland

Career highlights: 6th 2016 Extreme Sailing Series (Sydney), 1st 2016 Auckland to Fiji, 1st 2016 New Zealand Match Racing Nationals

 

Josh Salthouse

Age: 24

Yacht club: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Auckland

Career highlights: 6th 2016 Extreme Sailing Series (Sydney), 1st 2015 Warren Jones International Match Racing, 1st 2015 New Zealand Match Racing Championships, five World Match Racing events with 36 Below Racing.

 

  • For more informaiton, contact Yachting New Zealand communications manager Michael Brown on michaelb@yachtingnz.org.nz or 021 677 618.

  • High resolution images, including a team shot, are available on request.

  • Caption: The NZL Sailing Team won the 2013 Youth America's Cup in San Francisco. Photo credit: Martial Gobet.

19 Jan 2017
20 Jan 2017