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The 2021 Youth Foiling Gold Cup is an event created as an alternative to the Youth America's Cup. The final stage (21 October - 3 November) saw Young Azzurra's under 25 sailors proudly compete aboard the Persico 69F monotype, facing different stages of the race.
The racecourses are always unique, and the program of the Youth Foiling Gold Cup Act 3 was no less: in the fantastic context of the water mirror in front of the Poetto beach in Cagliari, we were able to witness an exciting first phase of qualifying (21-25 October) followed by the thrilling knockouts (26-29 October) and the highly anticipated final of the stage (29-31 October). From 1 to 3 November, the final of the entire circuit took place. Here are the highlights!
For the team, which was entering the first qualifying phase with four victories in the Grand Prix Persico 69F Cup, the adventure began with training in the waters in front of Poetto, in Cagliari, on 18 October. It was an opportunity to test the new arrangement that coach Gabriele Bruni proposed on board of the Persico 69F and which saw Ettore Botticini at the helm and Federico Colaninno at the mainsail, with Francesca Bergamo and Erica Ratti alternating as flight controllers; this was the configuration with which Young Azzurra faced the most ambitious teams, including Dutch Sail, winner of the previous stages, and Team France which finished in second place in Limone Sul Garda. For Ettore Botticini, the challenge with the Dutch, in particular, represented the possibility of assessing how much the performance gap has been bridged over the last year, a test in which it is always essential to know how to dose the crew's energies; after all, as well summarized by the words of the Commodore of the YCCS, Michael Illbruck, the development of the ability to react, to consolidate a competitive spirit, is fundamental in times of difficulty.
In confirmation of what the team hoped for, Young Azzurra recorded, in fact, constant performances during the qualifying phase of the last stage of the Youth Foiling Gold Cup, closing almost all of the tests in the top positions, thus demonstrating that the new on-board structure works. On 25 October 2021, the 16 tests that saw Young Azzurra qualify for 2nd, behind the Dutch Sail team and in front of Team France, ended in Cagliari, thus ensuring participation in the last knockout round to access the final of the event.
As Ettore Botticini, Young Azzurra's skipper, comments, the wind was very fluctuating, which is why regattas should never be taken for granted. With the aim of the final serving as a spur, the team then faced the three knockout rounds, from 26 to 31 October, coming out victorious once again, thanks also to the good balance that makes the configuration of the crew very performing, such as comments Francesca Bergamo, Young Azzurra flight controller.
The podium of the final, which took place from 1 to 3 November 2021, unfortunately, did not see the Young Azzurra Team as the protagonist. Contrary to previous events, it had to deal with impacting weather conditions, a real problem for a truly sensitive boat like Persico 69F. A small mistake was enough to compromise the result of the race.
The light wind conditions of the penultimate day allowed Young Azzurra to get off to a perfect start with the first race: after leaving the rest of the fleet behind, it turned the first mark on its own. On the stern side, however, a plastic bag got caught in the centreboard and rudder, causing the team to slow down as it reached the finish line as 6th. The penultimate upwind leg was instead the hitch of the second race; at this point in the regatta, Young Azzurra lost meters and finished fourth.
As it approached the stern gate of the third race, from a favourable second position, Young Azzurra capsized and was forced to retire, finally finishing fourth in the last race of the day, as well as the "Grand Finale of the Youth Foiling Gold Cup" event.
Slam joined the Young Azzurra team with a cutting-edge technological proposal, including the men's Pelican Long John 3.0, windproof and able to guarantee the maintenance of body heat avoiding sudden changes in temperature and increasing comfort; Pelican man Top 3.0, is a product that dries very quickly and the fabric of WIN-D 3 Costal Spray top nylon jacket has the ability to conduct the sweat produced by physical activity outside. Finally, we mention Top Albatross man, with its UV Protection fabric, working against the harmful effects of ultraviolet sun rays greater than 30 UPF.
Photo Credits: Sailing Energy – 69F Media
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