SAILOR Adam Lees is preparing for the challenge of a lifetime.
The Honley sailor is in contention to compete in one of the world’s toughest sailing race.
Adam is part of the GBR Youth Challenge and hopes to bring the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup back home.
It’s the youth version of the America’s Cup World Series, which Olympian Ben Ainslie is in training for.
Adam’s youth team will compete at the selection series in San Francisco between February 18 – 24 using the same AC45 catamarans as the America’s Cup World Series.
Adam, 23, said: “The America’s Cup is the greatest thing you can do in sailing.
“The youth version is about getting more people involved in the competition and making it more accessible to young sailors so the next generation of people are involved early on.”
Adam and his seven crewmates will be competing against 11 other nations for the chance to sail in the first Red Bull youth series.
After the selections, teams will go into an intensive training programme before the race gets underway in September.
Adam, a former Honley Junior School pupil, started sailing aged 11 with his father, Tim Lees, at Boshaw Whams reservoir at Hade Edge.
They started in a Graduate sailing dinghy before Adam began competing on the Yorkshire and Humberside circuit and then moving into yachting and extreme sailing.
“My background is in sailing dinghies and then on yachts on the south coast of England, near where I went to university in Plymouth,” he added.
“I’ve represented the country in racing but the America’s Cup in another level.”
Adam was picked for the British Keelboat Academy (BKA) squad for 2011, which developed his professional training.
September’s race is first time there has been a clear pathway for youth sailors to get experience to compete the most prestigious event in sailing.
America’s Cup factfile
The America’s Cup has a long history in Britain – the first race being sailed around the Isle of Wight in 1851.
Even though the boats currently used are modern racing machines, the essence of the races has not been lost – it is a test of skill and tactical calls with the only difference between the two teams competing is the people sailing the boats.
The team has had to raise around $12,000 to be able to compete. Follow the team at www.facebook.com/GBRYouthChallenge
The America’s Cup trophy was originally awarded in 1851 by the Royal Yacht Squadron regatta around the Isle of Wight.
It was won by a sailing yacht called America and the trophy was named thereafter the America’s Cup.
A British trophy of origin, it is regarded as the most difficult trophy in sailing to win – in 34 races over more than 150 years only America, New Zealand, Australia and Switzerland teams have won the Cup.
Boats used in the America’s Cup have varied from a schooner to the modern day AC45 catamarans.
It’s the first time the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup has taken place for young sailors to gain experience. It is for sailors aged 19-24 and they will race in the same wing-sailed AC45 catamarans as the America’s Cup World Series.
Four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie is skipper for the British JP Morgan BAR team in a bid to bring the America’s Cup home for the first time since 1851. It will be held in San Francisco in September.