On Sunday, July 5th the Kingdom Team officially announced that they would challenge for the 2021 Youth Americas Cup held in Auckland New Zealand.
The activity and press conference were held at the Royal Yacht Club of Loosdrecht, who will aid the team throughout the campaign.
Members of the club, the national sailing federation, some of the biggest sailing brands, and family members were gathered at the front-end of the peer to witness the Kingdom Team members showcase their sailing skills with a small demonstration.
Unfortunately, they didn’t do so in the foiling monohull, the 69F, the boat they had been training in during the last couple of weeks. Like in many high-performance sports, accidents happen and the team was foiling at full speed, racing over the water when they hit a log damaging the foils. At a later stage they also broke their vang during a heavy breeze session. Therefore the boat had to be shipped to Verona, Italy for repairs.
However, this didn’t stop the team members from putting on a show, the typical Dutch stormy weather made it even more exhilarating. Jorden was wingfoiling just meters in front of the crowd. No idea what wingfoiling is? Have a look at the video below. In the meantime Bart and Odile were flying across the water in a 49er FX, the boat Odile normally competes in. There was also a WAZP which is somewhat comparable to her much larger sister the 69F.
After the spectacle the sailors got on shore, quickly changed and gave a brief explanation of what the project was about. Jur Raatjes sports commentator and host of the national sailing gala had commenced the presentation and would be the host.
Henk Bergsma, Chairman of the Yacht Club was the first one to address the crowd and put into words how the Yacht Club would aid the Kingdom Team throughout this campaign. “The Yacht Club is the biggest water sports club in the Netherlands and this immediately presents its strengths. We have such a variety of skilled persons who will assist this project as volunteers.” He used Jorden the Kingdom’s Team’s website builder as an example.
First up was Odile, who was asked what it was like to transition to a boat with 4 people. Odile briefly explained that over the last couple of years she had been sailing in multi-handed sailing boats giving her experience on how to communicate properly on the water. Jur also touched upon a bit more sensitive topic, who would be steering the AC9F during the Youth Americas Cup. A difficult question considering it is still unclear whether Bart or Odile will be the skipper. But like during any campaign it is a matter of trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t.
Next up was Jorden, Jorden enthusiastically hopped on the stage to answer questions about his transatlantic racing experiences. He explained that he learned a lot from these experiences. Jorden also spoke passionately about his role of controlling the foils on board. The foils are the wings below the boat allow it to fly above the water. And depending on the speed and other factors one adjusts these. Besides his technical expertise on the water Jorden also helps the team with his mechanical skills. He is able to do so due to his degree in maritime engineering.
After that, Emma was asked to join the stage. “So Emma you have proven yourself in the past as a talented the sailor in the singlehanded classes by becoming world champion in the Laser 4.7, what is it like to sail with 4 people in a boat”. Emma joked about how initially it is a bit of a challenge as you bump into people when the boat is changing direction but after a while, everyone has their task and owns that, then it becomes easier. For now, it looks like Emma will be handling the Gip the sail near the front of the boat.
The final sailor to join the boat was Bart. Bart is still in the running to participate in the 2021 Olympic games in Tokyo jointly with his crew Pim van Vugt. Logically one of the first questions was how do you manage an Olympic campaign next to a Youth Americas Cup Campaign. “Well if you look at like that it does seem very challenging, but I experience it in a somewhat different way. When I am on the water foiling it gives me energy for my next practice in 49er”.
The presentation ended with Cor, the project manager sharing some final words on the next steps and how people can get involved. He jokingly started with “If you really want to go to New Zealand on vacation, getting involved in this project will allow you to pass all COVID-19 travel restrictions that might still be in place. To be honest we are looking for volunteers, managing a project like this complex and we are looking for all types of experts. Whether you are an expert with logistics, financials, or media please reach out via email@example.com or via the forms on the website”.
The team is also still looking for the main sponsor and smaller sponsors to help the Team not just compete but win the prestigious Cup”.
The presentation ended with a very good question, what happens next for this talented team? Well, the Team will be traveling to Lago di Garda to have their first competition over there on the 21st of July, the Persico Cup. This will be a good test for the team and to see where they stand.
The event was a great kickoff to make the public aware of this project. The team also had some success through offers from several sailing brands to sponsor their project.
We will keep you updated on the next big events via the newsletter and social media.