Thursday, 16 May 2013

Red Bull Youth America's Cup : Official Statement From Sailing Team Germany (English version)

Hamburg, 11th May 2013: The tragic death of British Olympic sailor Andrew Simpson prompted Sailing Team Germany (STG) and Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV) to withdraw from the 'Red Bull Youth America's Cup'. Having qualified in February in San Francisco, the 'STG/NRV Youth Team' will now not be competing in September. Reassessing the risks involved and the remaining time and opportunities to prepare, the team management decided that it would be unreasonable to carry on.

Following the announcement of the tragic death of the professional and Olympic sailor Andrew Simpson, the German organisers have pulled out of the Youth America's Cup. The 36-year-old Briton died last Thursday when the AC72 catamaran he was on capsized during training for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco.

"This tragic accident is reason enough for us to fully re-evaluate our participation in the Youth America's Cup. If such a tragedy can occur to the best sailors in the world, then we want to prevent any risk to the health or Olympic ambitions of our competitors at the earliest stage possible. I knew Andrew well from the time we spent on Lasers and I am gutted to hear of his death," said NRV sports director, Klaus Lahme, explaining the decision.

After the tragic incident with Artemis Racing, the management had to reassess the risks and the campaign. Sailing an AC45 is always a matter of calculated risk and risk management through extensive practice. The opportunities to practice on AC45s now just seemed too few in the face of the dangers that have been highlighted so drastically. "We had to make sure, that we are still within our limits and that we are true to our responsibilities for our young sailors. We came to the conclusion, that we will not be able to manage the risks involved to the extend that we think is necessary to act responsible," declared Oliver Schwall, STG managing director and former Tornado world champion.

In February, the German team had qualified for the final in September through a series of qualifying heats with twelve youth teams in total. The AC45 catamarans used in qualifying are also set to be used in the finals of the Youth America's Cup. Although around eight metres shorter, the AC72's 'little brother' is just as spectacular and unpredictable.

Note from SailRaceWin: As per our previous note we do not agree. Setting up a challenge to compete at this level, holding a selection series and then not going forward with it is very bad for the competitors selected to represent their country at the highest level of international sailing. The comment in regard to the AC45 being "unpredictable"; well, perhaps they should try sailing one!

Make an effort, support youth sailing, go out and find the funding, put the necessary structures in place, and perhaps German sailing will benefit all round and be as successful at the Olympics as the DDR used to be.