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Strong winds pushed the catamarans high up on their foils at the fifth stop of the 2016 #redbullfoilinggeneration on July 15-17 in The Netherlands. Two-time Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher crowned two new national champions, Niels Broekhuizen and Duko Bos, who will take part to the World Final this October in the US.
LELYSTAD (Netherlands) – Dramatic skies and stiff winds put a new generation of Dutch sailors to the test on 17 July, but Niels Broekhuizen andDuko Bos were up to the challenge, mastering high-speed foiling catamarans to become the Netherlands’ first #redbullfoilinggeneration national champions. The two young athletes made it to the final thanks to a three in a row win in the repechage round. With their win in front of cheering spectators at Markermeer Lake, the two young sailors join the elite ranks of national teams who will compete this October in the inaugural #redbullfoilinggeneration World Final, taking place in Newport, Rhode Island, USA.
“Usually we sail in the laser series in the National talent team, but that’s a bit boring if you compare it with these boats”, said winner Niels Broekhuizen. “This is the future of sailing and it was awesome to get the chance this week to sail these Flying Phantoms and learn a lot from the top coaches.”
Created by double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, #redbullfoilinggeneration is a global search for the best young sailing talent aged 16-20. At each stop, the cream of a nation’s up-and-coming sailors are introduced to the future of sailing – foiling – on Flying Phantom catamarans that lift over the water at up to 35 knots and are similar on a smaller scale to boats used in the America’s Cup. Then, after days of intensive coaching by the series’ sports directors, double Olympic championsRoman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher of Austria, two-person teams race in four-boat heats to determine the national winners.
“Sailing on foils is a completely new experience for these kids, and it demands fast reflexes and a lot of control and stamina,” said Steinacher. “The athletes in Lelystad had a particularly steep learning curve because the winds were strong from the start – which meant the boats were up on their foils immediately. But the only way to learn high-performance sailing is to do it, and I’m proud of how quickly they improved and their determination to master new skills.”
Hagara, who is still an active competitor himself as skipper of the Red Bull Sailing Team in the #extreme Sailing Series (along with Steinacher as tactician), added, “If they work as hard as I think they will, this promising young team from the Netherlands will be in the thick of contention for a world title at the final just three months from now. We very much hope that such experiences will help some of these international athletes to eventually earn a berth in the Red Bull Youth America's Cup and maybe one day the America's Cup.”
Red Bull Foiling Generation sees the hulls lift over the water in eight countries in 2016. In addition to the stops that have already been completed in New Zealand, Turkey, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, regattas will take place in Spain, Belgium and the USA, followed by a World Final featuring 15 national champion teams. Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher are the series‘ sports directors – the double Olympic champions from Austria are also in charge of staging the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup 2017 and are the masterminds of the Red Bull Sailing Team participating in the #extreme Sailing Series.
The foils fly again at the next #redbullfoilinggeneration regatta in Cadiz, Spain on 5-7 August 2016.
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