NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Junior skipper on the No. 2 Yale coed sailing team Graham Landy has been training all summer in San Francisco in preparation to represent the United States in the Red Bull Youth America's Cup.
The Red Bull Youth America's Cup is the first regatta of its kind. This new regatta is intended to create a clear pathway for young sailors to begin racing for the most prestigious and oldest trophy in sailing, the America's Cup. The regatta brings together teams of sailors ages 19 to 24 from around the world. Although a youth regatta, the fleet is stacked with talent. Landy and his team will be competing against the top youth sailors from around the world, including Olympic medalists.
The sailors will compete in AC45's, a smaller model of the AC72 that will be sailed in the actual America's Cup this year. The sailors will race eight times starting September 1 to September 4 to see which of the ten teams representing eight countries will claim the title.
Six teams tried out last November to represent the United States in this unique competition, but Landy's team, USA45 Racing, emerged on top. The team is comprised of college sailors from around the country. Landy will serve as tactician for the team. However, the responsibility does not stop at tactics, the team has been fundraising for the past nine months so that they would be able to train at the highest level this summer.
In June, Landy and his team moved to Tiburon, Calif. to begin preparing for the rigorous events in these highly athletic boats. The team worked out six days a week with a program designed by the Oracle Team USA trainer. Landy comments "AC45's are probably some of the most physical demanding boats out there." Since most of the team came from a dinghy-focused sailing background, besides fitness, the major goal of the summer was to do as much multi-hull sailing as possible in order to be ready to sail the AC45's.
On August 12 the youth teams all gained access to begin training in actual AC45's. AC45's are a 45 ft boat with a 70 ft tall solid wing sail. Going upwind, they reach speeds around 15 knots and downwind around 25 knots. This is a drastic change from the much slower and smaller collegiate dinghies that Landy has been sailing the past two years during his career at Yale. However, he has enjoyed the physical challenge and excitement of a new boat, saying "it has been a challenge for me as a tactician to adjust to these higher speeds, but the sailing has been a tremendous amount of fun."
After racing is finished, Landy will return to Yale to begin dinghy sailing again and practicing for the upcoming fall season.
Report filed by Katherine Gaumond '15, Yale Sports Publicity