22 February 2018
After getting off to a flying start in 2015 and 2016, Red Bull Foiling Generation is back to discover the globes top youth sailors. Developed by sports directors Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, the series gives wings to talented sailors aged 16-20 by introducing them to the type of cutting-edge foiling technology used in the America’s Cup.
Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour will host the second stop of the 2017/2018 World Series, being held 23 to 25 February at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
RNZYS Youth Training Programme and RNZYS Performance Programme sailors competing include: Nick Egnot-Johnson, Josh Wijohn, Taylor Balogh, James Wilson, Jordan Stevenson, Celia Willison, Charlotte Porter, George Angus and Mitch Jackson.
Olivia Mackay, who helmed New Zealand to win the Red Bull Foiling Generation World Final in 2016, has gone on to helm a wildcard boat in the Extreme Sailing Series, and at least 40 previous participants of Foiling Generation are currently in Olympic-class programs for Tokyo 2020.
This week, a new crop of future New Zealand sailing stars have their own chance to shine. Mackay will play coach on-site to New Zealand’s 2018 competitors.
“Phantoms are like no other boat, high paced and loose, it was two of the best regattas I’ve ever competed in.” says Olivia Mackay.
“Getting the opportunity at a world title is always a fun challenge, but in these boats, with this style of racing, it was an absolutely epic experience and a great feeling to represent NZ.”
The weekend will see 16 teams of two undergo the Qualification Rounds this 23 February, followed by Repechage Rounds on Saturday and the Semi Finals and Finals on Sunday. Spectators are welcomed to watch on-site from 10.30am daily at the RNZYS.
At each of the national championship events, Red Bull Foiling Generation provides the boats and expert coaching. Each team will race the innovative Flying Phantom, a spectacular multihull catamaran capable of reaching speeds up to 35 knots.
All participants gain invaluable experience, as they are coached by Steinacher and Hagara in taking on the demanding challenge of foiling.
“I always say that it’s like in motorsport: young people start in karts and they keep moving up toward Formula 1,” Hagara explains. “We want to give these sailors a chance to showcase their skills, and for some of them, the Olympics, the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup or the Extreme Sailing Series could be the next step.”