Emirates Team New Zealand are putting out a wide call for the country’s best women and youth sailors to apply to represent Emirates Team New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) and New Zealand’s women and youth America’s Cup teams via an initial application which opens today.
The Women's and Youth America’s Cup events will be raced in the one-design AC40 class in the weeks leading up to and during the America’s Cup in 2024. There will be 12 teams from 12 nations competing in each event.
The AC40 is sailed by four people, a driver and a trimmer on each side. The boat requires four skilled sailors who have the ability to work together and communicate clearly in a racing environment.
Drivers need to be able to steer accurately and make clear tactical decisions under pressure; while trimmers need to have a good feel for balance, speed and how the boat is moving while being quick and accurate when changing modes.
All applications received will initially be assessed by Emirates Team New Zealand’s performance engineer Elise Beavis and sailor Josh Junior, who will select the most promising applicants based on sailing experience, ability, leadership, teamwork as well as the applicant's individual motivations.
The respective Emirates Team New Zealand Women’s and Youth prospects will quickly be refined down to eight people in each team by the seven-person selection panel. For the next stage of the selection process later in the year, the shortlisted sailors will spend a week at Emirates Team New Zealand being assessed on a number of levels - including AC40 simulator sailing, team participation and attitude.
Upon completion of that, the final teams of five sailors each will be selected by the selection panel in December of this year.
The selection panel comprises of Junior, Beavis, Kevin Shoebridge (Emirates Team New Zealand COO), Gillian Williams (RNZYS vice-commodore), Suzanne McFadden (award-winning sports journalist and founder of LockerRoom), Polly Powrie (Olympic 470 gold and silver medallist), and Ray Davies (Emirates Team New Zealand coach).
The team are keen to cast the net wide across New Zealand to capture the best talent to create the strongest team as Beavis, Yachting New Zealand’s 2022 Female Sailor of the Year explains: "For the women’s team, we are lucky enough to have a strong pool of very talented female sailors in New Zealand, so we are excited to see what applications come in."
“We are open to women of all ages that want to apply. Our objective is to create a pathway for the best female sailors into the America’s Cup and to create the strongest ‘team’ in every sense of the word - and through their performance and presence at the Women’s America’s Cup, inspire future generations of female sailors into professional sailing and to create wider industry opportunities also. That is the fundamental objective of this process."
Junior, who is leading the selection process, has developed a clearly defined strategy for selecting the best of New Zealand’s talent.
“We want to develop high-performing teams that can win and represent Emirates Team New Zealand with pride, passion, and professionalism on and off the water - traits the team always illustrates," Junior said.
The Youth America’s Cup team is to be made up of the most promising youth sailors between the age of 18 and 25.
“For the youth team we aim to provide the best New Zealand youth sailors with an America’s Cup and Emirates Team New Zealand experience that will give them the opportunity to become the next generation of world-beating professional sailors and continue the success of New Zealand Youth America’s Cup teams," explained Junior, referring to the first and second-place finishes in the 2013 and 2017 Youth America’s Cups respectively.
Shoebridge, another of the selection panel members, has been an integral part of Emirates Team New Zealand’s successful evolution.
“One of the strengths of Emirates Team New Zealand over its 30-year history has always been to continue to grow the team by integrating new talent across the board. So this selection process is a critical part of the team's future success on the water," Shoebridge explained.
“This is a really exciting and vitally important selection process to go through when thinking of the next generation of Emirates Team New Zealand.”
Expressions of interest are open to female sailors over the age of 18 (on 1st December 2023) for the New Zealand Women’s America’s Cup team; and to all sailors over the age of 18 (on 1st December 2023) and born after the 19th of September 1998 (25 years and under) for the New Zealand Youth America’s Cup team.
All applicants must have New Zealand citizenship. Eligible applicants may apply for both teams and their applications will be assessed individually.
Applications close on Friday, June 9, 2023.
Applications can be registered here.