Jul 7, 2015

UK Red Bull Foiling Generation 2015: Q&A with Oli Greber

We already posted on how the original RBYAC was a perfect event and how it will become a reference for future Youth promotion. The 2015 local sailor restriction on each country selected by RB is more a marketing move than a global project as past series in SF. Nevertheless having kids like Eri Fukasawa now sailing in France the FP major series after RBFG Japan, plus the experience UK Youths recently had is compensating in a way the lack of presence of international teams in each stop.  Currently the tour is racing at Malcesine, Italy,

Previous one was organized at Weymouth where some of British best youth talent learn to fly and race the FPs in a few days only.
Olivier Greber has SL16 sailing experience representing UK at ISAF Worlds and was selected to sail in the RB youth tour withEd Connellan,they finished in second place. Below Oli's view and experience on the Foiling Generation UK series 2015
- You've been sailing SL16 and  ISAF Youth Worlds, how was going form the SL to the FP? Have you sail F16 or F18 before?
Oli Greber: Yes going from the SL16 to FP would be a big step up but fortunately in the UK in youth we get the opportunity to train on the slightly more powerful Spitfire which gives us an advantage when moving into higher performance boats. Also more recently I have been sailing the F18 Nacra infusion which definitely helps the transition to the FP.

- How much time did you guys have to train or test the FPs before actual racing?
We had 2 days training In the boats prior to racing, we were on a rotation so got a chance to sail all 4 boats with all 4 coaches. It was great to have intensive coaching 1 to 1 on the boats by the Red Bull extreme sailing team this allowed us to get comfortable with foiling and the systems on the boat.

- Which was the toughest part of course racing these foilers? 
Hard to say the toughest part, the starts were always very tight due to tough competition and the acceleration of the boats, it was great to have stadium racing style starts it made starting a lot more exciting :) bear aways were surprisingly tame due to the lift from the boards which stops the typical bows down bear away.

- I saw you have some breeze during the races, did you felt overpowered beyond the handling or learning to foil in such short time? Which is your combined weight?
Yes we had up to 18 knots one day in the racing but we felt totally in control the boats have great control systems which make them a lot more controllable in the breeze. Our combined weight was 146 Kg and we were pretty happy putting the power down although more weight would be optimal if campaigning on these boats.

- You have previous Multihull experience, how about the others? All were Multi Youths ?
Yes my background is predominantly from multihulls so that gave us an advantage in these boats. We had a

mixture of different backgrounds within the competition from all the youth classes eg laser, 420, 29er, Spitfire/ SL16. There were also a couple of 49er teams in the British Olympic pathway who took to the boats very well and were very tough competition with one of them going on to win the event.

- How was the selection or registration process?
The selection process was mainly based on previous results also the RYA had an input with the selection for the event. The registration and organisation of the whole event was flawless from Red Bull UK and RB extreme sailing team.

- How the series continues? Only the winners will face a next challenge? Is there any further event beyond local ones?
Correct the winners go through to the world finals in 2016 for the rest of the competitors the event was hugely inspiring including a visit from the strength and conditioning guys from BAR! Red Bull also continue to support the youth with the Red Bull Youth Americas cup. The event was an incredible opportunity for us youth to prove ourselves and gain recognition. It would be very difficult to have the chance to sail these high performance boats if it wasn’t for Red Bull and I think everyone was hugely grateful for this opportunity.

- How do you see foilers to become high performance course racers for youths beyond RB events? 
Foiling is definitely the future in sailing and I think the UK stop of the RB foiling generation has proven the youth can handle these highly demanding boats with huge depth of talent in the UK youth. I believe the youth are more than capable to be racing these foiling cats given the right provision.

- By  the experience I'm having here, once airborne you don´t have that much options to save
x situation like on 'floaters', any dangerous or crash within the races?
Yes in these boats things happen a lot quicker due to the high speeds so this requires sailors to think ahead and anticipate situations even earlier with quick reaction times and good decision making. I believe in the UK these skills were evident by the sailors as there were no crashes, yes we had a few very close calls but nothing more.

- Overall feeling / sensations on sailing and racing the FPs? How the boat felt ? For us is pretty sensitive and reacts a lot to body trim.
Sailing the FP’s was unbelievable, they foil in as little as 5 knots down wind which is astonishing. They are so stable once up on the foil. Yes they are sensitive to body trim, the crew is constantly trimming the boat down wind and the more wind there is the further forward you go due to increased lift from the boards, this was a strange feeling as I’m used to getting back in the breeze in conventional cats. The platforms are incredibly well engineered very stiff and the systems work beautifully especially the board systems with the board rake adjustment and trapeze upf…… system with spin lock to lock them down. In the breeze the boats continue to go faster and faster, the speed is phenomenal! It’s great to sail boats which are so tuneable and react so well to good set up.

- You went from SL16 to the FP, how the new Nacra 15 fits between them in your opinion?
I love the Nacra 15, we did a bit of testing on the N15 and N16 both with curved boards earlier this year and I thoroughly enjoyed sailing both boats. In comparison to the SL16 the N15 is more high performance in regards to sail cut, hull shape, boards and systems around the boat. In regards to moving up to an FP the N15 is significantly less powerful but overall the N15 would definitely be a step up from the SL in regards to high performance and fitting with the recent developments on the cat scene.

- Next steps or goals in your sailing career?
I have a F18 programme planned including the Worlds and UK nationals for the remainder on 2015. Beyond this I’d love to show my potential in the professional sailing scene whether this is Nacra 17 or Red Bull Youth Americas Cup.

- Any other comment you want to make, or mention people & Orgs helping you
Yes I’d like to say a massive thank you to all the people involved in hosting the RB foiling Generation especially Hans-Peter, Roman and John the RO. It was a massively successful event which was very enjoyable for all parties and of course thanks to Ed Connellan for being a great skipper.
Also a huge thanks to Paul Wakelin who has provided UK Youth Cat Sailors with excellent coaching over the past couple of years and continues to do a fantastic job of promoting and coaching high performance cat sailing on the youth scene in the UK.

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