Along with his brother, Loïck, Bruno Peyron is the man behind the creation of the team of French youngsters, who are just about to begin their quest for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. On the eve of the first starting gun, he looks at the state of play for Next World Energy, and pays homage to the work done by all those around him, as well as analysing the tough competition facing the lads led by Arthur Ponroy.
Bruno, how far advanced are the Next World Energy youngsters as they enter this competition on Sunday?
“They have reached the highest level possible in such a short space of time. Antoine Mermod, the team manager, explained that very well a few weeks ago. I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate him on all the work he has done along with Eric Ernst. They’ve both worked extremely hard. With their help, the Next World Energy youngsters have been able to take advantage of some serious work with no time for showing off and at the same time not just aiming for a few moments of brilliance. We saw in the training that they are quite capable of coming first in the races, but also eighth… which is more or less the case for all of the fleet in fact.”
As head of Energy Team, what do you think about this young crew put together in record time?
“What I note above all is the spirit, which is extremely positive in the group, which has made steady progress over the past few months. They are young, but extremely mature in their way of looking at things. Their training wasn’t just thrown together in any old way. They were able to appreciate the advice from their elders. They are really pleased to be sailing in San Francisco on these AC45s, which are such magical boats, but who wouldn’t be? But they know too that it’s going to be very, very hard and that the standard is extremely high.”
“It’s going to be a fantastic show!”
What do you think about the other nine teams that are competing. Can we really identify any favourites?
“The two American and New Zealand crews have been able to train a lot more with more days of sailing on the AC45s. The Swiss appear to be dangerous, because of their experience aboard the D35, which is a relatively similar type of boat. On paper, we can say that there are five boats – so half of the fleet – which has a theoretical advantage in terms of preparation. Is our team able to get up to the standard of these boats? That’s what we’ll find out from Sunday onwards. I think that after the first couple of days of racing, we will have a better idea of the hierarchy. Before that, it’s hard to say. I have read everywhere that everyone is in with a chance of winning, but that also means that everyone could lose. I have full confidence in the Next World Energy youngsters: they showed that they have the ability to find the speed. A lot of it will be down to the starts, which will be even more important than in the World Series, as the youngsters have a set of sails, which are a little less powerful, so on paper, it is not so easy to get back in the game after a poor start. One thing for certain is that it’s going to be quite a show!”
What are the goals for Next World Energy? And what is at stake for Energy Team?
“We don’t need to come up with precise goals for them: these lads are real competitors, and when they take part in a race, their aim has to be to win. They will give it their all with what they have at their disposal. As for making it to the podium… yes, of course, but we really can’t answer that question before watching the first races. For Energy Team, I wanted to give this idea of a youth team a go and head up this project within the bigger one, because for me it has a purpose. Today, brining on new talent is very important: in any top class project, in the long term, you have to be able to count on what the next generation can offer. It is also an interesting communication tool for the partners. To conclude, we’re coming to the end of a two-year cycle, which has been fascinating, yet tricky, where not everything has gone smoothly. So finishing this cycle with a smile, with the refreshing sight of these young sailors giving their utmost on these machines in this magnificent setting… if we can finish on a smile… I’ll be really pleased! If the young team manages to do as well or even better than the professional team, which ended up on the podium in two consecutive seasons in the ACWS (2011-2012 and 2012-2013), it will of course be extremely pleasing.”
Watch the live coverage on YouTube
The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup races will be shown live on YouTube and via the Virtual Eye system on the America’s Cup website. From 1100hrs local time on Sunday 1st September (1800 – 2000hrs UTC).
The Next World Energy crew: Arthur Ponroy – Skipper; Antoine Lauriot-Prévost – Helmsman; Hubert Savatier – Tactician; Romain Bellet – Bowman / wing trimmer; Valentin Bellet – Trimmer; Paul Dagault – Main bowman; Edouard-Marie Alikiagaléléi – Bowman / trimmer
Reminder of the programme for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup: On Saturday, speed runs, which don’t count towards the results. From Sunday 1st to Wednesday 4th September, there will be two fleet races each day, as in the AC45 World Series. Reserved for under 24 year olds. Ten teams representing eight countries are competing, including the French on Next World Energy. There will be six youngsters aboard each boat. Races at 1800hrs UTC each evening from Sunday (1100hrs local time).