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A Fly On the Wall

An account of USA45’s practice session from Andy LaDow, proud father of wing trimmer Jake LaDow..
10 years. 10 years ago seems like yesterday. 10 years ago I was on the water watching Jake race his Sabot as a wide eyed 10 year old.  Yesterday, I was on San Francisco Bay on USA45’s tender watching Jake trim the wing on an AC45.  He has changed a lot in the past 10 years. I keep telling myself that I haven’t changed at all.
Yesterday, I was the wide eyed one as Jake and his team executed maneuver after maneuver in these high performance machines against the backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco city front.  Seven other international teams were on the water as well practicing and refining their play books for the upcoming Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. The common denominator however is the same.  Who is going to want it the most? Who is willing to sacrifice themselves for their team?  Which team can best handle the pressures of the America’s Cup on and off the water?  Across the board I am extremely impressed with this team.  They are all obviously exceptionally talented, yet it is the quiet confidence that I like the most.  I like the fact that they all truly like and respect each other. They understand the value of a team first mentality and I think it will pay them dividends when the you know what hits the fan during the event.
The practice session also showed me that all of the teams are strong. I believe any team will be capable of winning a race. This will be an incredible regatta. Amateurs competing for their country, their futures and their pride. These “kids” will show the world that they are more than ready for this opportunity. They are that good and I can’t wait to watch it all unfold.  For the young men on USA45, this experience will have an indelible impact on their future regardless of where their next path may take them. It was great to be a fly on the wall for one day.