Team Canada America’s Cup Update

Dec 13, 2023

Above: Isabella Bertold, Maura Dewey, Tate Howell – Women’s Foiling Gold Cup, Lake Garda

By Isabella Bertold, December 2023

It’s been a year since we first learned that Canada would be competing in the inaugural Women’s America’s Cup and the Youth America’s Cup in 2024. The interest from Canadian sailors nationwide has been incredible, with many seizing the opportunity to up their foiling skills and train with Team Canada camps and or individually since January.

Over the past year, our team training sessions have taken place in various locations, including Florida, Vancouver, Lake Garda, Toronto and Barcelona. Athletes have trained in many foiling classes showcasing the breadth of talent and dedication within our ranks.

Since September, our team candidates have been fine-tuning their skills in the AC40 Simulator based in Barcelona. Hailing from across Canada, our candidate athletes represent various Canadian yacht and sailing clubs across the country including:

  • Royal Vancouver Yacht Club
  • Royal Victoria Yacht Club
  • Royal Canadian Yacht Club
  • Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club
  • Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron
  • West Vancouver Yacht Club
  • Calgary Yacht Club
  • Chester Yacht Club
  • Hubbards Sailing Club
Team candidates (L-R): Siobhan Golonka, Madeline Gillis, Grace Poole, and Tara Golonka enjoying the sites of Barcelona while at Team Trials

Throughout the training period, the focus has been on evaluating on-water sailing ability, the capacity to contribute to a team environment, and the rate of improvement. While in Barcelona, athletes have maximized their time on the simulator alongside time on the water in Moths, Nacras, Waszp, and Wing Foiling (thanks to Nexen). And as the weather gets cooler—still much warmer than Canada—we’ve unpacked the 3mm Vaikobi wetsuits. They’ve also been keeping fit in the gym and cycling in the virtual world thanks to ZWIFT. 

As we transitioned into December, the evaluation process moved towards AC40-specific assessments on the simulator with athletes invited to Team Canada Simulator Trials. Sailors participated in two coaching camps leading up to the trials, where their skills were assessed based on a comprehensive rubric.

The Simulator Trials invitation selection process prioritized:

  • Athletes demonstrating commitment to foiling or high-performance sailing
  • Proven results in high-pressure scenarios
  • A progression in understanding AC40 foiling principles
  • Effective collaboration and communication within a team

In the Simulator Trials, each athlete was tested in both trim and helm positions. Noteworthy, many of our top-performing sailors have backgrounds in STEM or are pursuing relevant studies at the university level.

Looking ahead with anticipation, the Youth and Women team members will be announced early in the new year. The level of dedication and talent displayed throughout this year has been inspiring, and we are confident that Team Canada is well on its way to a podium finish in the Women’s America’s Cup and the Youth America’s Cup in 2024. Cheers to a year of progress and a new year of sailing excellence!

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