A global lineup of top young sailors from 16 countries and five continents are feverishly preparing to face off in the second-ever Red Bull Foiling Generation World Final, which will fly at Miami, USA on 9-11 November 2018.
The climax of the planet’s largest youth sailing program, directed by double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, will crown two new World Champion athletes – and for all 32 participants, the regatta could be the stepping stone to a professional career.
After a dazzling 2016 finale in Rhode Island, this season the next wave of sailing will crest with a World Final in Miami for the first time. Developed by the Austrian icons Hagara and Steinacher, Red Bull Foiling Generation 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.
Anticipation for the World Final has been building ever since the season kicked off in October 2017. Each two-person team will race the Flying Phantom catamaran, capable of reaching speeds up to 35 knots (nearly 40mph). To outmaneuver their peers, teams must combine exceptional strength, stamina, strategy and foiling skills.
“We created this series to give outstanding young sailors the tools to follow a unique career path, and we chose the Flying Phantom because it is the fastest boat of its size,” says Steinacher. “Miami is well known in the sailing world and provides an excellent setting to showcase the skills of these ambitious athetes.”
Olivia Mackay, who helmed New Zealand to win the inaugural World Final, went on to helm a boat in the Extreme Sailing Series, and at least 40 previous program participants are in Olympic-class campaigns. Among them are Mackay’s winning World Final teammate Micah Wilkinson, who moved up to take the podium in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup 2017, won the Flying Phantom Series of the Extreme Sailing Series with Mackay (also 2017), and recently joined the Red Bull Sailing Team in their late-season campaign in the Extreme Sailing Series – all while targeting the 2020 Olympic Games.
Now, a new crop of future sailing stars take the stage. Talent scouts and professional coaches will closely watch the 16 teams in Miami, which include returning sailing powerhouses such as Switzerland, the UK, the USA and defending champion New Zealand, as well as newcomers like Argentina, Australia, Austria, Greece and Portugal.
Coached by sports directors Steinacher and Hagara, all participants gain invaluable experience. The legends are also the masterminds behind the 2013 and 2017 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, the regatta where victorious 2013 skipper Peter Burling learned skills that helped him win the 2017 America’s Cup helming Emirates Team New Zealand.
“It’s like motorsport: young people start in karts and they move up toward Formula 1. Sailors from Red Bull Foiling Generation have moved on to a very high level in other events,” Hagara explains. “We will see sailors from this World Final in new classes in the future. For some, the Olympics or the Extreme Sailing Series could be the next step.”
Red Bull Foiling Generation World Final Teams 2018:
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
by Fabian Ress