SAN FRANCISCO -- America's Cup organizers are putting together a youth race to help sailors gain the necessary experience to perhaps one day compete for sailing's biggest prize.
The Red Bull Youth America's Cup will be sailed on San Francisco Bay in August and September 2013, during the 34th America's Cup. The competition will include up to 10 national teams consisting of six sailors, aged 19 to 23. There also will be a team representing the San Francisco Bay Area, as host city.
"I think this is one of the most exciting developments in the America's Cup in a very long time," said Oracle Racing's Jimmy Spithill, who became the youngest skipper to win the America's Cup at age 30 in 2010.
Racing will take place in the same high-performance, wing-sailed AC45 catamarans currently being used in the America's Cup World Series. By then, the America's Cup crews will be sailing 72-foot catamarans.
"Breaking into the America's Cup is hard," Spithill said Thursday. "I was very fortunate when I was 19 to get a break with the Young Australia team, which allowed me to get into the game and get noticed. But this is going to give many more young sailors the same type of opportunity. We are talking about literally turning tradition on its head by opening up the America's Cup to younger sailors, rather than it being closed off and difficult to get a foot in the door."