New concept hands Stokes Bay pair huge chance

Josh Belben and Alex Ewart are competing in the Red Bull Foiling Generation
Josh Belben and Alex Ewart are competing in the Red Bull Foiling Generation
Alex Alley, from Gosport.

Picture: Sarah Standing (151832-9304) PPP-151030-175051001

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STOKES BAY Sailing Club’s Josh Belben and Alex Ewart are preparing to compete in the Red Bull Foiling Generation.

Belben and Ewart have been selected ahead of hundreds of applicants to take part in the brand new international racing event, open to sailors aged between 16 and 20.

It is a huge opportunity but the learning curve will be a steep one.

Alex Ewart

The duo, who currently compete in the 29er skiff class, are set to make their foiling debut in the UK event, which starts next Wednesday, at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy

Alongside the UK event, races will take place in Japan, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Russia and France, with the global grand finale to be held at the start of 2016.

Ewart believes the event offers the pair a unique opportunity to learn and develop as sailors in a brand-new format.

He said: ‘We are obviously extremely excited to be selected.

‘It is a huge opportunity but the learning curve will be a steep one.

‘With foiling being such a new addition to the sport we are trying to draw upon as much expertise as possible in order to give ourselves the best chance we can.

‘The guys who will do well out there are the guys who will soak it all in and learn the fastest.’

The UK’s top youth sailing teams will be pitted against each other racing Flying Phantoms – a revolutionary new hydro foiling catamaran capable of reaching speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Belben, 17, is confident of the pair’s chances, but know they will face stiff competition as they bid to reach the world stage.

‘A good result would be great, but we will have to wait and see how it all plays out,’ he said.

‘It’ll be a totally new experience for all of us with no-one having sailed the boat before, so it really is too early to tell.’

Coaching expertise before each event will be provided by double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher.

Steinacher said: ‘We are offering outstanding young sailors a unique career path starting on foiling catamarans with Foiling Generation, the Youth America’s Cup and then the Extreme Sailing Series.’