One of the biggest unknowns among the 11 teams competing this week at the GC32 Riva Cup will be the three with youth crews, all aged 18-24. Gathering in Italy’s magnificent Riva de Garda, where racing will take place from Thursday 11th May to Sunday 14th May, the trio will use this opening event of the 2017 GC32 Racing Tour, as final training for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, which starts in one month’s time in Bermuda.
Among the three is TeamBDA, hopefully they get better treatment than the Bermuda youngsters who competed on Saturday and Sunday in the Hamilton Harbor, if it takes two days to be covered locally, image what it will take for coverage from Italy.
While France has a population of 67 million from which to choose its crew, Bermuda has just 65,000. Despite this they have managed to put together a competitive team. Since last year they have been training in Bermuda on a GC32 under coaches GC32 sailor Michael Barnes and Canadian Volvo Ocean Race winner and Olympic veteran Richard Clarke.
Team selection for Team BDA began in August 2015 and since January their squad has been full time on the GC32. “We have put in a lot of hours – you get better every time you get out there,” says skipper Mackenzie Cooper. “Before we were simply learning how to sail a foiling catamaran, but now we are refining our racing skills.”
As to their crew Cooper says that, like the America’s Cup teams, they have recruited from outside sailing to find on board grunt (one of their crew for example is a swimmer, another an athlete). “We have some in our team, who haven’t sailed before – big guys who can help us muscle the boat around the course. So for two the GC32 Riva Cup will be their first regatta ever, which is pretty cool. Then we will have three others who are sailors, but who’ve never raced in foiling catamarans before. This is a big event for us all.”
Cooper continues: “It is a long way from Bermuda, A lot of us haven’t been to Italy before. We are super excited for the chance to take part in the event. We hope to enjoy it and get a decent result.”