Clean Sailors Youth Team wins in Miami as focus moves to Valencia
Lukas Hesse of Germany, sailing with his team mates Jan Schüpbach from Switzerland and CJ Perez from Hawaii, was buzzing after the experience of racing the Persico 69F in perfect foiling conditions. "Biscayne Bay was just perfect for high-speed foiling," beamed Hesse. "Blue skies, warm, blue water, small waves, really it was paradise, just paradise."
Of course, winning always helps brighten your mood and this international team improved enormously after the first day when the final gybe was catching them out. "It was blowing about 17 knots and the course was quite short on day one so wasn't worth hoisting, setting and dropping the gennaker when we're already going so fast. Unfortunately we couldn't get the two-sail gybe quite right and so we were capsizing on the final gybe."
After a solid debrief talking through the issues from day one, the Clean Sailors Youth Racing Team really got their act together for the next day, gybing cleanly and winning all six races. "We've had more time on the water than the other teams," said Hesse modestly. "It really comes down to time in the boat getting used to handling the 69F on and off the foils, and working out your coordination between the crew in the manoeuvres."
Finishing in second were were Team Miami Yacht Club sailed by Nicolas Peirano Pratt with Brian Higgins and Nicolas Aragones. In third place were Sail America, a young team of WASZP competitors from Hawaii - Pearl and JP Lattanzi along with Gavin Ball - with an average age of 19.
Hesse said the 69F drew a lot of admiring looks and comments from other sailors competing in the more conventional classes at the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta (BCIR). Other fleets included the Star, J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640 and VX One. "People were saying to me, 'the 69F looks great but I'm too old to sail one now'," commented Hesse, at 22, the oldest of his team. "But I would say that a good Star sailor, for example, would take just a few days to adjust to the timing of the manoeuvres and they would get used to the 69F quite quickly. I think people seeing such young sailors racing such a fast boat think it's out of their reach. But they should try it out because I think a good sailor in one class will adapt to another class, even when it's a high-speed foiler."
The opportunity to give 69F racing a try is now coming to Europe. After a successful few months establishing the 69F brand in the USA, the focus moves to Valencia in Spain.