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What does it take to manage a Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team? Ian Andrewes explains.

Ian AndrewesInterview with IAN ANDREWES (22), Team Manager for the LessAdmin sponsored Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team American Youth Sailing Force –  The Force

Give me a pen picture of your sailing career

I was born and raised on the Island of Oahu in the state of Hawaii. My mother and father both came from big sailing families so I really didn’t have much choice early on. I began competing internationally when I was young and said yes to every opportunity I could.  I’ve competed in many classes and fleets now and I feel these experiences have really broadened my ability and made the transition in the AC45s fairly smooth.

What did you look for when you were putting together the the team?

Winning is more than just raw sailing skills. We needed a really cohesive team for an intense campaign. There was a steep learning curve jumping into the AC45s. And they are physical boats. Finally we need to be great on stage to raise sponsorship and promote our causes. So a combination of proven sailing results, intellect, fitness, performance and a can-do attitude.

What is the biggest challenge the team have had adapting to the AC45?

These boats are as quick as an International Moth, as unforgiving as a 49er but as powerful as a Maxi. You need lightening fast reactions, great anticipation but you need to make sure that you are in control and the boat doesn’t take over. It is striking that balance.

So why are there no women in any of the senior or youth teams?

It is a question I am asked a lot. Clearly these boats are physical, but that is not necessarily a barrier. I was disappointed that we had so few women even apply to be on the team. And when it came to the selection trials none met the criteria we were looking for. And I think that this is an issue for sailboat racing in general. There are too few great women sailing role models.

With the AC teams using the AC45s how have you been able to train?

Time in the AC45 is precious. So we are very focused on maximizing the results we get on the AC45s. That means preparation before we go out, structured training towards and objective and great video analysis post-training. We can’t afford to just go out and “hit the water”. It’s not the miles you do but what you do with the miles.

1831220869904112959411What is a typical day like?

Not long enough to get everything done.  It starts in the Oracle Racing gym with specific routines designed by their trainers.  Then it is a team meeting to coordinate all the water, shore and financial / sponsorship activities. And then out on the water. Our sponsor nailed when they said, “90% of the race is won before you hit the water”.

It is difficult to look beyond the Red Bull finals in September, but what next?

This is the first time talented young sailors have ever been able to perform at this level. It is an incredible opportunity that the team is committed to exploiting. I’d love to be part of the next Americas Cup, but whatever happens, this campaign has definitely honed my management and organizational skills which are critically important going forward.

About the American Youth Sailing Force

The American Youth Sailing Force (AYSF) was formed first and foremost with the goal of representing the United States in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. Our team represents the highest level of youth sailing in America and aims to prove that with steady determination, hard work and passion young American sailors can be a leading force on the international sailing circuit.

Historically, youth sailing in America has been planned, organized, and funded by parents. In an effort to not only create a completely youth run organization as well as separate The Force from our competition in the Youth America’s Cup, we delegate all the functions and operations of the team including managing, fundraising, and training amongst its members. We intend to utilize the opportunity created by Red Bull as a path for the next generation of young American sailors who want to compete in elite sailing events and to inspire youth sailors across the nation to challenge themselves by setting and attaining ambitious goals.

The Youth America’s Cup isn’t the end of the road for this team. Not only will team members continue to compete in future high-profile events, but also the partnerships and the foundation we’ve created will continue to provide equally exciting opportunities to future generations. We are the future of sailing, and intend to prove that we are world-class sailors with real dedication and determination.

About the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup

For the first time in the history of the America’s Cup, young, talented sailors have a clear pathway towards competing for one of the most prestigious trophies in sport. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup opens the door for young sailors to gain the experience they need to contribute to a Cup team.

Racing will take place in the same high performance, wing-sailed AC45 catamarans that are used in the America’s Cup World Series. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is scheduled for August/September 2013, in San Francisco, during the heart of the 34th America’s Cup racing season.

The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is open to national teams of six sailors, aged 19 to 24 in 2013. Each crew must hold a valid passport of the country their team represents. Equipment, including the AC45 platform and wing, will be supplied to teams who have their entry accepted.