The Royal New Zealand Yacht Club Yacht Squadron officially announced the cancellation of the «America»'s Cup for Youth due to stricter entry rules into New Zealand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The qualifying stage for the Youth Cup was to be held in China in November 2020. Apart from Russians, teams from New Zealand, Australia, Italy, China, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Argentina and the Netherlands were to take part in it.
A total of 19 teams from 13 countries.
The final, like the main Cup, was scheduled for March 2021. Like the adult competitions, the junior race would be held in New Zealand Auckland.
As for adult competitions, a new model of yachts was designed for the Youth Cup - a single hull 9-meter foyer AC9F. However, unlike the main Cup, their construction was only the task of the organizers of the competition, which made it much easier to participate in the Cup of crews, because teams do not need to budget for the creation of a high-tech sailboat.
Just the fact that the boats are provided by the organizers was one of the factors that allowed the Russian team to apply for the America's Cup for the first time in 150 years. Never «»before have Russians appeared at either an adult or youth regatta.
The team of PROyachting and SKOLKOVO Sailing Club, named PROyachting Skolkovo Team, was officially registered as a participant of the Youth Cup in March 2020. This happened just before the Coronavirus pandemic led to the closure of borders between countries.
According to the rules of the Youth Cup, a crew of 4 people should be mixed: two guys and two girls. Also important is the total weight of the team: not less than 280, but not more than 311 kg. The age of participants can be from 18 to 24 years.
Fifty-three athletes from all over the country, from Komsomolsk-on-Amur to Sochi, wanted to join the Russian team.
The sailing world and European champion Ekaterina Skudina became the director of the team. The coaches of the PROyachting Skolkovo Team at different stages were Konstantin Besputin, master of sports of international class and champion of Russia, Europe and the world,Pavel Kalinchev, Russian champion in 49er class, and Igor Skalin, silver medallist at the 1996 Summer Olympics, world and European champion.
The last line-up included Timofey Zubkov (Moscow, 420, 29er), Mikhail Ushkov (Moscow, 420, 29er, 49 er), Valeria Lomatchenko (Rostov-on-Don, 420, Laser 4.7, Laser Radial) and Alina Schetinkina (Togliatti, Nacra 17). However, before the Cup the crew could still change. The final decision on which crew will go to the competition has not yet been made.
The crew couldn't train directly on AC9F. An alternative to this class was first the Olympic yachts Elliott and other yachts available in Moscow during the pandemic, and then the Persico 69F single hull equipped with two V-shaped foils, a centreboard and a T-shaped rudder pen. The team was able to get on it when they finally managed to get to Italy, Lake Garda, in August.
«We had to solve unsolved problems, look for coaches, boats, bases, sponsors. We went to Garda with closed borders, got visas with closed embassies -»says Ekaterina Skudina.
The Persico 69F was created on the basis of the AC75 concept, which will be used by adult America«'s Cup competitors in the spring of 2021 (if, of» course, it takes place). It makes the Persico 69F similar to the AC9F. There were even rumours (although not officially confirmed) that if the youth Cup organizers do not have time to build the necessary number of AC9F, the competition will be held at the Persico 69F.
Now the next Youth «America»'s Cup will be held at the same time as the next adult cup, that is, probably in 3-4 years.
The main concern of all current competitors who failed is that during this time some of them will become older than the competition rules allow.
The current organisers promise that they will try to raise the age limit. But the rules of the competition are set by the host country. So not least it will depend on whether the Cup stays in New Zealand.