They say those who go to San Francisco should do so with flowers in their hair. Well, if Australian sailing team Objective Australia followed that advice there would be frangipanis scattered across the San Francisco Bay with the outfit set to contest the inaugural Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in under a week’s time.
It was 1983 when Alan Bond’s Australia II sailed to victory in the America’s Cup with the use of the controversial Ben Lexcen winged keel.
And 30 years on, eight Australian youngsters are shaping as the first crew since to bring home silverware from the coveted event.
The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is a new addition to the world famous America’s Cup regatta, aimed at identifying the next generation of world champion sailors. And with Australia not contesting the main event in 2013, the Objective Australia crew are the sole representatives from Down Under and will carry the weight of a nation upon their shoulders.
Luckily, they’re a talented bunch and red-hot favourites in the best-of-eight series to be held between September 1 and 4. And in wing-sail catamarans capable of clocking 90km/h, they best be on their wits as they look to out-class nine other teams from eight nations.
All teams consist of crew between the ages of 19 and 24 who will contest the event in identical AC45s, previously used in the America’s Cup Word Series between 2011-13.
“The boats are absolutely brutal on the sailors and the equipment,” said Skipper Jason Waterhouse, who touched down in San Fran with his team last week.
“For example, we go through a set of runner tails – the ropes that support the massive wing mast - every four days. We are only sailing two to three hours a day – even on hard-sailed Grand Prix boats these would normally last at least six months, but like everything on an AC45, including the crew, they just get punished”.
All teams have been training in clear view of each other under the Golden Gate Bridge and Objective Australia coach Traks "Flash" Gordon is confident his team is shaping as podium contenders.
“There are a couple of teams that are going to be hard to beat and I am confident to say we are beginning to look like one of them,” Gordon said.
“We are fit and fast now, and seem to be getting faster”.
The Objective Australia crew and training staff are made up of Jason Waterhouse, Keiran Searle, Fang Warren, Josh McKnight, Tom Burton, Luke Parkinson, Ted Hackney, James Wierzbowski, Traks Gordon and Tony Walls.
Catch the live action from September 1-4 on Fox Sports.