Hong Kong is set to host the Youth Foiling World Cup. The regatta, taking place in March, will replace the cancelled Youth America’s Cup that was scheduled for March in New Zealand. The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Team Agiplast had been formed with the Youth America’s Cup in mind and five sailors had been training full time, setting their sights on the podium. But it was cancelled due to coronavirus . When the news broke, the team was competing in Italy. “Everyone was pretty devastated,” said the team coach Chris Rashley “Everyone I have worked with is very driven, motivated and have a goal in mind, so I’ve never had to motivate any of them,” Rashley said. “But this was the first time I felt that I needed to take a bit of a lead. For some of our team, it was one of their last major events as a youth. It took a bit of thinking about how we’d put a positive spin on it.” The team – Calum Gregor (21), Maria Cantero , Jackie Truhol (21), Aymeric Gillard (23) and Nicolai Jacobsen (17) – went out for a sail that afternoon to forget about the disappointment. “The main thing for me was going back to why we do this sport, why we love it, which is being on the water, in the elements and going fast,” Rashley said. Victory, legacy, sustainability – keeping Youth America’s Cup objectives alive The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in sailing and one of the oldest in sport. State of the art boats compete as a challenger tries to take the title off the holding club. RHKYC and Agiplast had invested a great deal of time and money in the parallel youth tournament in New Zealand. RHKYC applied to host the Youth America’s Cup when it was called off, but when they found out they could not call it by the same name, they decided to hold the Youth Foiling World Cup instead. Competitors will be sailing Persico 69Fs. A foil is a wing shaped dagger board that lifts the hull of a boat out of the water when it reaches a certain speed. “We are going to hold an event that is essentially going to be the same, maybe even a bit better as we have a lower entry fee and a more diverse field of entries,” Rashley said. “It gave us something new to focus on. We can still achieve what we set out for, even if we can’t win the ultimate goal of the Youth America’s Cup. “I wouldn’t say there is a huge amount of difference in coaching someone who is 18 and someone who is 30, but the big difference is just not to over complicate sailing,” Rashley said. “In reality, it’s quite a simple sport and that’s what I like to do, especially with younger sailors, to make it seem dead simple. If they ask, we can go into detail and we sometimes do if it will help, but keeping it simple is key.” This weekend, RHKYC Team Agiplast will be competing in the 45km Around the Island Race (ATIR). Rashley said any round island races are tactically hard because the conditions vary on different sides of the land. But Hong Kong is the most challenging he has ever seen because the high mountains, sky scrapers surrounding islands and passing ships cause wind shadows. “The boat we have [Persico 69F] is not the perfect one for ATIR. It’s very light so accelerates very quickly, but you also stop. You don’t get to cruise when you hit a shadow like a heavy boat with a high rig would. It will be one of the faster boats going around in terms of peak speed, but one of the slower boats when we are in a shadow. It will just stop,” Rashley said. “For us, it’s a challenge but it’s not something we’re expecting to win. But we’re going to be giving it our very best to give back to the club and our sponsors despite not having the ideal boat to win.” The team is constantly improving on the water, but being in a professional sporting environment will give them more than just the ability to sail quickly, no matter the outcome. “Yes, we had one goal in mind. But this is much bigger than that. The people involved in the team now will take the lesson forward to all walks of life in business or professional sport,” Rashley added.