For the first time in nearly 100 years, the world’s oldest sporting trophy returned to NY Harbor. The Louis Vuitton World Series New York brought back that big, shiny trophy, the America’s Cup, to local waters. High performance AC45 catamarans flew (literally) up and down the Hudson, amid ferries, powerboats and monohulls of all sizes. But, those foiling machines were not the only multi-hulls racing on the river May 7-8. Eight smaller, simpler – but still pretty fast – Hobie Wave catamarans, with sail designs reminiscent of the classic New York taxi-cab, buzzed about. While the AC45s were manned by world class champion sailors, the Waves were crewed by teams of junior sailors, three of which sail here at WFC. The AC Endeavor program is the youth outreach arm of the America’s Cup. 10 teams from the NYC area were asked to compete in the backdrop of the big cats, WFC among them. Rebecca Keller and James Willis comprised Team WFC, while Elliot Trester sailed with Sail Ahead, one of WFC’s partner organizations. These youth sailors had the chance of a lifetime to sail as part of the World Series. Rebecca started sailing at WFC as a Sound Swashbuckler, learning to sail Optis and Sonars. As a First Mate, she was promptly recruited to join Opti Race Team and continued her race development by joining High School Sailing last fall as a seventh grader. Rebecca’s enthusiasm for sailing is obvious. She lights up at the sign of breeze and the talk of boats. Always eager to learn new tips and tricks, she’s keen to go fast and was a standout recruit for the Endeavor Program. James began sailing at WFC last fall in high school sailing as a freshman as part of the St Dominic Sailing Team, managed by WFC. Quickly becoming an integral member of his sailing team, his focus, calm and steady hand on the tiller landed him a spot on the AC Endeavor team, as well. Upon arrival to the America’s Cup Event Village at Brookfield Place, team Keller/Willis received their accreditation and were ushered into the mix of the AC teams. They met the pro sailors and high-fived the skippers as they prepared to launch for dock out. Outfitted in full Magic Marine kit (a term used for really cool sailing gear!), Rebecca and James followed close behind the AC45s as they left North Cove Marina in front of thousands of fans. While the breeze was light on Saturday, Team WFC held their own in demonstration races on the west side of the Hudson, their course just outside the AC45 boundaries. Sunday’s conditions brought big breeze, too much for the youth sailors, in fact. In lieu of racing, the Endeavor sailors were treated to VIP viewing of the big cats on the course. Riding on-board official race boats, inside boundary marks, James and Rebecca were able to see the action up close. WFC is proud to have participated as part of the AC Endeavor Youth Racing Program. Rebecca and James couldn’t have been more thrilled to sail in the lee of the world’s most prestigious race teams. Looking forward, they have their work cut out for them, but it all starts in small boats at WFC.