Annabel Vose has become the first woman to be selected for the Land Rover BAR Academy, which aims to provide a pathway into the America's Cup.
The winner of four World Championships, Annabel Vose is the first female sailor to be accepted to the Land Rover BAR Academy.
The 22-year-old, who grew up in Southampton, will now be making a pitch for a place on the team’s race boat at the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup (RBYAC) in Bermuda in June 2017.
Vose learnt to sail at the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s Splash Week before competing in the Bursledon Regatta.
“I was racing against these guys who were in the national (Optimist) squad, and one of them recommended to me that I went and did the next open meeting. And from there it was always onto the next regatta, the next squad to join – it was quite an easy path for me to follow,” explained Vose.
She progressed through the RYA’s local squads, and then onto the national squad. She sailed and trained with them for three years before winning the national girl’s title at the age of 15; a trip to the Optimist World Championships in Rio followed.
After growing out of the Optimist, Vose settled into the two-handed 420. In that boat she won the Women’s 420 World and European Championships, before qualifying for the ISAF Youth Worlds, where she won a bronze medal.
The natural next move was into the Olympic class 470 dinghy, and for a year, Annabel tried to combine this with her four year undergraduate masters course in Ship Science.
Finding it too demanding, she decided to switch to match racing, where she became the first woman to beat the men and win the Youth Nationals in 2014 and subsequently the Student Match Racing Worlds.
“I think that every sailor knows what the America’s Cup is, and that’s always a goal in the back of their mind, no matter how far away it might seem – the academy bridged that gap. I would have kicked myself if I hadn’t applied and not tried. So I applied in April, completed the fitness test, and got a call back to come sailing,” explained Vose.
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“I was invited to the second training camp in July. Over the summer I continued to work on my fitness and gained more experience sailing GC32 catamarans in Cowes,” she continued.
“I competed in the Extreme Sailing Series with Magenta, the all-female team, and I learnt so much that week. The hard work paid off as I received the invite to join the Land Rover BAR Academy,” said Vose.
Her final design project for her university degree is a foiling catamaran, and this, said Vose, has helped her at the academy.
“I understand the dynamics and forces around rigs and wing sails and my current focus in my Masters is on foiling catamarans. So I bring both sailing and technical experience to the team, not necessarily brute strength but that won’t let me down either,” she stressed.
The America’s Cup had female and co-ed teams competing in 1995 and 2000, but this was well before Vose’s time.
“I know the academy didn’t get that many female applicants, and that’s because of the pedigree of the America’s Cup where you don’t really see females, but there is no reason why I shouldn’t be on the Land Rover BAR Academy programme and hopefully that will inspire other people to try as well,” she added.
The first intake into the Land Rover BAR Academy has been competing in the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2016.
The series now uses a foiling multihull, the GC32, and is the ideal training platform for the academy’s young sailors.
In addition, the ongoing selection programme will develop a team to compete in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in Bermuda.