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.

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.

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."