I had no intentions of coming out to San Francisco for the 34th America’s Cup until I was introduced to ‘The Force’ and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup by virtue of this YouTube video.



Russell Coutts created the RBYAC as the first ever-direct pathway to future America’s Cup careers for international youth sailors. The event pits ten international teams - each of which is made up of 100% actual nationals- against one another, for four days of high-octane fleet racing in AC45s during the first week of September.

After digging I learned that the guys in the ‘prison yard’ video are the American Youth Sailing Force, a 9-person team of under-23 year old US nationals, who earned one of two coveted US spots by beating six other American teams that competed in a trials event last November. They will represent the City of San Francisco and Oracle Team USA in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.

RBYAC-The-Force

Members of 'The Force' inspect their wing before the christening.



The last two lines in the video, by Team Manager Ian Andrewes, says a lot about this group of sailors:

“Now that we’re not affiliated with Oracle we don’t have access to the gym, we don’t have access to the trainers, and so we’re making the best of a bad situation.”

Their website describes a self-managed, blue-collar team of riggers, boat-builders and sail-makers out to prove that “anyone can compete on the elite international sailing circuit."

Around 8:00am last Friday, just 48-hours after settling into my apartment in Newport, RI, ‘The Force’ sent me a plane ticket to San Francisco. I was in the air six hours later.

RBYAC2

After christening their AC45 'Dengus Khan', the AYSF is ready for the final three weeks of an 18-month journey.


I am documenting this prison yard gang and RBYAC life for the next three weeks.  Here is my first effort at it:



You can also learn more by visiting the American Youth Sailing Force website.


Read previous Digital Vagabond posts about the Tour de France a la Voile:

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