Back to top anchor
Close main menu
Open main menu Close main menu
Red Bull Foiling Generation

Kiwi pair out to defend Foiling Generation title

Issue date

Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie are looking to make it two from two for New Zealand when they line up at the Red Bull Foiling Generation world final in Miami this week.

The pair are expected to be among the contenders when 16 teams from around the world converge on Miami and they’re hoping to emulate Liv Mackay and Micah Wilkinson who won the inaugural world finals in 2016.

The event is sailed in Flying Phantoms, 5.5m-long foiling catamarans capable of speeds of 35 knots, making it the world's quickest boat of its size.

McHardie and McKenzie earned their ticket to Miami by winning the New Zealand leg of the qualifying series in Auckland in February and McHardie also recently teamed up Wilkinson to win a round of the Flying Phantom series in China.

"That was a great opportunity to get a little bit of practice in with the previous world champion of the Red Bull Foiling Generation," said McHardie, who campaigns in the 49er with McKenzie. "That’s a huge advantage - the amount I learned was priceless - and I’ve passed a lot of that information down to William.

"Once you’ve sailed it a couple of times, it’s like any other boat, but it’s an absolute experience and thrill the whole time no matter what the conditions."

The concept was created by double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, who also established the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, as a way to kick-start the development of the world’s best young sailors and provide a pathway to the America’s Cup.

McHardie and Wilkinson were both part of the NZL Sailing Team who were second at last year's Youth America's Cup and Wilkinson and Mackay have both picked up plenty of opportunities since winning the Red Bull Foiling Generation in 2016.

The pair have sailed in some regattas on the Flying Phantom circuit, Mackay has helmed GC32s and M32s and been involved in the Magenta Project and Wilkinson was recently added to the Red Bull Sailing roster for the Extreme Sailing Series.

McHardie and McKenzie recognise the importance of the Foiling Generation world finals but also see it as a great way to round out the year.

"It's going to be a bit of fun," McHardie said. "We are going to be foiling, it's in Miami, it's going to be warm and we will be around a great bunch of people. It's our last event of the year so it's going to be all on. We can't wait to go and hit it.

"We’re not going to let [the title] go lightly, that’s for sure. We will be giving it our all and I think we have a good chance to bring it home."

The pair will have as many as three training days on the Flying Phantom before racing starts on Saturday (NZ time).

Check out some highlights from this year's Auckland leg here.