After the disappointment Ben Ainslie and his team bowing out of the America’s Cup in this year’s semi-finals, Britain’s youth America’s Cup sailors from the Land Rover BAR Academy have been crowned the 2017 Red Bull Youth champions in Bermuda.
The British entry completed 12 races against 12 other nations on Bermuda’s Great Sound to take the title. The team finished the event with 50 points, just two points ahead of second placed New Zealand Sailing Team (48 points) and eight points ahead of Switzerland’s Team Tilt (42 points).
The victory came down to a nail biting finale and the final race of the event, but the team show their determination by never giving up to come back from difficult situations on the race course.
Skipper, Rob Bunce, said: “The strategy was to do the same as yesterday and get off the start line clear. If we got three results in the top four we knew we could come away with a good result but unfortunately, we had an OCS and a penalty in the first start.
“I can’t put into words how much effort everyone put in on the race course. The amount of places we managed to gain in all the races is amazing. In the last race of the day, we knew to finish first overall we could only have one boat in between us and New Zealand and most of the way round there were two or three boats in between. We saw at that last gate, Artemis Youth Racing (Sweden) and SVB Team Germany (Germany) had a battle on and one of them got hooked on the mark and the other suffered a penalty and that was our opportunity to get in front of Team Tilt (SUI) and hold out Spanish Impulse (ESP) to have the reach of our lives! To win here in Bermuda is amazing.”
Land Rover BAR launched the Land Rover BAR Academy in January 2016, to support talented young British sailors, and create a structured pathway into the America’s Cup. 22-year-old Neil Hunter was an initial example of success, promoted from junior to senior team, becoming not only the youngest sailor to compete in the America’s Cup but the only sailor to compete in both competitions.
The British entry is also made up of some of the country’s top sailing talent, aged between 19-24 years old and led by Skipper Rob Bunce. 23-year-old Strategist, Annabel Vose, was the only female crew member to compete in the Youth Cup.
Land Rover BAR Team Principal and Skipper, Ben Ainslie, said: “We could not be prouder of the Land Rover BAR Academy winning the Cup. All their hard work, commitment and dedication over the past 18-months has really come together on the water here in Bermuda. Today was incredibly tense, it is a strong fleet, but I have been really impressed by the team’s constant on-board communication, how they kept their cool under pressure, and really delivered on the boat handling during the tricky conditions.”