Youth sailors were in abundance on Thursday during the team’s visit to Newport, RI. Upwards of 400 youth sailors were on hand throughout the day, riding aboard the vintage 12-Meters and sailing Optimist dinghies and 420 one-designs on Newport Harbor during a fleet parade. Later in the day, they were guests of honor in a special session with the team. “The kids are always the best part of these shows,” said emcee Tom Ehman (below, left), “they always ask the best questions.”
With some sporting t-shirts proclaiming “The America’s Cup kicks butt!” and others asking, “W’sup with the Cup?” team CEO Russell Coutts spoke with the kids. Coutts, once a youth champion, has always given his time freely to youth sailors. He emphasized that you don’t have to be a good Optimist sailor to be a good sailor.
“When I was growing up in New Zealand I used to read about the races in Newport, but never thought I’d get the chance to compete. I also never dreamed of visiting the White House and meeting the President of the United States,” Coutts said. “It just shows what you can accomplish with hard work and dedication, and how broad our sport is.”