Sailing: NZ drawn in Pool B of Youth America's Cup

The NZL Sailing Team training in Auckland this week. Photo / Supplied
The NZL Sailing Team training in Auckland this week. Photo / Supplied

The Red Bull Youth America's Cup is becoming more real for eight young Kiwi sailors following the draw for the June regatta.

The 12 teams were divided into two groups of six with the NZL Sailing Team in Pool B with Team Bermuda, Land Rover BAR Academy (Great Britain), Spanish Impulse Team, Next Generation USA and Candidate Sailing Team (Austria).

The Red Bull Youth America's Cup, which is for sailors aged 19-25, starts on June 12 in Bermuda and the finals not only run alongside the America's Cup match but are sailed on the same course. They will sail the foiling AC45s used for the America's Cup World Series which can reach speeds up to 40 knots.

New Zealand are defending champions after winning the inaugural Red Bull Youth America's Cup in San Francisco in 2013 with Peter Burling at the helm.

The British team are seen as favourites this time around because of their experience sailing a foiling catamaran, a GC32, in the Extreme Sailing Series.

Logan Dunning Beck will skipper the NZL Sailing Team boat this year and said the draw was "just another sign that we are getting a bit closer to the event".

The majority of the NZL Sailing Team have been training together in Auckland on a GC32 and the entire team will head to Bermuda at the end of the month for a two-week training block on Softbank Team Japan's AC45.

The NZL Sailing Team need to finish in the top four of their pool to qualify for the finals, after which the top eight teams will contest the finals. It will be a fleet racing regatta, which Dunning Beck said suited them because the majority of the eight-man squad had vast experience racing dinghies in fleet races.

"Training has been going really well," he said. "We've spent plenty of time on the water lately and everyone is going really fast. We're enjoying it and the physicality of the boat.

"For the guys up the front [of the boat], it can be brutal. They have to think on the go even when they are gassed. The physicality is going to leap forward again on the AC45s so we are spending plenty of time in the gym.

"I can't wait to jump in the AC45 and blast around the harbour in Bermuda. Not many people get the chance to do that so we are a lucky bunch of guys."

- NZ Herald

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