For the first time in more than two decades, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia will be linked to the most prestigious sporting event in the world, the America’s Cup, when ‘Young Australia 2021’ takes flight on the Waitemata Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand, next year.
Led by CYCA Youth Sailing Academy graduate, Tom Grimes, the Challenge, known as ‘Young Australia 2021’, is currently one of only two Australian entries to be confirmed for the Youth America’s Cup, with Objective Australia (RPAYC), once again back for another attempt after finishing in seventh position in the 2013 Youth America’s Cup.
So far, 16 entries have been confirmed by Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, with challenges ranging from New Zealand (2), Switzerland (2), Australia (2), China, Denmark, Italy, Hong Kong, Russia, Argentina, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States of America.
The 2021 event, conducted on the Waitemata Harbour in Auckland, NZ, in February and March next year, will be using a state-of-the-art new class of yacht, the AC9F, with a mixed crew of two male and two female athletes under the age of 25. Based off the AC75 yachts used by Cup Challengers and the Defender, the AC9F will foil for approx. 50 per cent of the races and will be capable of reaching speeds of 25+ knots.
The CYCA team will feature five past World Champions, of whom, have seven World titles between them and are all under the age 23.
For the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, this will be the first Challenge for an America’s Cup competition since the Syd Fisher ‘Young Australia 2000’ campaign. Fisher’s campaign is widely renowned as the launching pad for many young Australian’s professional sailing career, including two-time America’s Cup Champion and Rolex Sydney Hobart Champion James Spithill.
The Young Australia 2021 campaign will replicate Fisher’s campaign, providing an amazing opportunity to sailors aged 18-23.
“We came up with the idea of ‘Young Australia 2021’, in recognition of CYCA Member and past America’s Cup campaigner Syd Fisher, who provided such an amazing opportunity for young Australians to compete in our sports pinnacle event. Representing the CYCA will be a fantastic honour as the Club has continued to deliver world class youth sailing programs for over 25 years and we want to showcase that talent to the world. Bring on Auckland 2021,” commented Skipper Tom Grimes.
For the Challenge, the next phase over the coming months will surely be interesting. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several training projects were postponed by the team, with the AC9F build more than two months behind schedule. However, the team will make up for this lost time, training out of the CYCA until travel restrictions ease for them to travel to New Zealand to train on the boats ahead of the Youth America’s Cup next year.