Newsletter : Friday, the 16th of December 2016
Three months ago, the Filière d’Excellence Team France (Team France Network of Excellence) invited fourteen young inshore racers to join the Team France Jeune (Youth Team France) group. For several weeks now, the athletes have been honing their skills aboard flying boats under the watchful eye of their coaches. Their objective: to post their very best performances with the aim of securing a ticket for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, which will take place in June 2017 in Bermuda. Following much suspense, the verdict has been returned. Today, the Network is delighted to present the names of the eight athletes that have been selected, in partnership with the French Sailing Federation (FFVoile) and France’s National Sailing and Watersports School (ENVSN).
A golden opportunity for young champions
It all began in the South of France, in September 2016. Whilst the French leg of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series was in full swing in Toulon, the Network was organising its selections with the aim of training up the Team France Jeune group 2017. The mission was far from straightforward since it was a question of detecting talent capable of forming the final crew that would go on to represent France in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.
After initial success in San Francisco in 2013, this new Holy Grail of competitive sailing in crewed configuration for racers aged 18 to 25 is set to enjoy a second edition in June 2017, in Bermuda. This event will take place at the same time and on the same playing field as the famous America’s Cup. The rule stipulates that each of the professional teams participating in the Cup must present a ‘youth’ crew to compete in the Youth competition. In this way, eight athletes selected by the Network, will make up the “Équipe de France Youth America’s Cup 2017” (French Youth America’s Cup Team 2017). They’ll be kitted out in the colours of the French flag, just like Groupama Team France skippered by Franck CAMMAS, who will compete as the French Team in the America’s Cup. For their part, the youngsters will battle it out against fifteen international crews in what is sure to be an opportunity not to be missed!
An uncompromising selection programme
Since mid-October, the fourteen young racers have been following an intensive training programme, alternating between hours of physical training and sail trials aboard GC32s and Flying Phantoms (three Flying Phantoms that have been placed at the disposal of the ENVSN by Bic Sport. The project is also receiving financial backing from the Council of the Morbihan Département). In total, they’ve amassed over eighty hours of ‘flight’ aboard the GC32s, which are excellent training aids to prepare for sailing the AC45F, the official boat for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.
During these weeks of training split between the Naval College in Lanvéoc and France’s National Sailing and Watersports School (ENVSN) in Saint-Pierre-Quiberon, the behaviour and skills of the young athletes has been scrupulously monitored by their coaches. The group deciding on the final selection comprised representatives from Team France, the French Sailing Federation and the ENVSN. The latter put forward a team of eight young athletes to a Selection Committee made up of Franck CAMMAS (Skipper Groupama Team France) and Jacques CATHELINEAU (National Technical Director FFVoile).
And the eight sailors selected for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup are…
Jean-Baptiste DUCAMIN (Société des Régates Rochelaise)
Robin FOLLIN (Club Nautique de Sainte Maxime)
Alessandro LACAN (Société Nautique Marseille)
Timothé LAPAUW (Société des Régates d’Antibes)
Bruno MOURNIAC (Société des Régates d’Antibes)
Solune ROBERT (Club Nautique de Sarzeau)
Antoine RUCARD (Association Sportive et Nautique de Quiberon)
Valentin SIPAN (Sport Nautique et Plaisance du Havre)
Photo credit: Eloi Stichelbaut / Filière d’Excellence Team France
Franck CAMMAS, skipper of the French challenge Groupama Team France:
“It’s the culmination of a long selection and training process, which has lasted over a year. Today, it was a question of selecting the most coherent group possible for a specific objective, the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. With the 8 youngsters selected, we have formed this group. We were undecided on who to select right until the very last moment, which is testament to the quality of the 15 youngsters who have formed part of our ranks over recent months. I’d like to pass on my hearty congratulations to them for their exemplary commitment and the speed with which they’ve adapted. They all have a very bright future ahead of them in sailing. For those who were not among the sailors selected, we are bound to see them performing at a very high level again in the future. As for the group chosen, I’m sure they’ll perform remarkably well in this major international sailing event for today’s youth.”
Jacques CATHELINEAU, National Technical Director:
“The selection committee, made up of Franck CAMMAS, manager of Groupama Team France for the America’s Cup and myself, has chosen the eight youngsters selected to represent France in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. This selection brings to an end a recruitment process launched with the Association Team France and ENVSN back in October 2015. When we sent our network of young members with potential the application pack, accompanied by a video of Franck CAMMAS explaining the recruitment concept for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, the responses came in very thick and fast. The project is an inspiration to the young competitors we monitor year round across the whole country and for those who have been lucky enough to be selected, they view it as a very special experience to sail on these new, quick boats and to occasionally be in contact with Groupama Team France. However, this is just the beginning, and the hardest part is yet to come for the youngsters who have been selected as they’ll now have to get their heads around how the AC45Fs handle and do battle against some very strong international competition on the race zone in Bermuda. We’ll naturally be behind them every step of the way and I hope that beyond the project’s three original entities, we’ll find one or two private partners to support this fine challenge, which is now on the home straight.”
After a period of recovery, the eight athletes will begin training aboard the GC32s again in the Morbihan, at the ENVSN in Saint-Pierre-Quiberon, south-west Brittany, from 14 January 2017. They’ll have the opportunity to compete against other international crews.
They’ll then take off for Bermuda in early March to begin the first training session aboard the AC45F.