Cubs visit the America’s Cup

Arran

Arran Goodman from 1st Tichfield Sea Scouts spent an amazing weekend boat racing at the America’s Cup in Portsmouth. He told us all about it.

On Thursday July 21st, I was one of over 200 lucky young people from Portsmouth and the surrounding areas to be invited to an exclusive preview. We were allowed into the Race Village at the America’s Cup World Series. 

This was organised by the 1851 Trust, which allows young people from all different backgrounds to try sailing. We were all split into different groups, each named after one of the sailing teams taking part in the racing this weekend. I was in the New Zealand team. We had to do three different activities, like taking a selfie, making a boat from recycled materials and doing a plastic treasure hunt to earn points for our team. Our recycled boat didn’t do very well, as it had a design fault from the start!

We learned about the technology used in the America’s Cup boats. For example, they generate their own energy, and can travel faster than the wind because the sails are fixed. We also learned about the environment and how plastic can pollute the sea. By 2050 the plastic in the ocean is going to outnumber the fish unless we start using reusable bottles and bags!

All the points were added up and we gathered in teams for the presentations. We didn’t win a medal, but we did get a photo with some of the teams. Also, the boy who won the competition to design the 2016 Victory Trophy came up and we saw the trophy he designed. 

Flags 

As if that wasn't enough, The 1851 Trust were looking for 12 young people to assist with the race on Saturday, and I was chosen! When I arrived, I was given an 1851 Trust t-shirt, which is also Ben Ainslie's sponsor. I was the flag bearer for a French team, and I had to stand at the side of the stage with the Tricolour when the team came up to the stage to be introduced. Each team came up separately and it was really exciting to see them all so close up. 

When the trophy was on stage I couldn't believe it was real! It was so much bigger than I thought it would be. The racing was really exciting too - it was very close, with boats overtaking each other every few seconds. My team won the first race, but then Ben Ainslie’s British team won the second and third races. We were all cheering like mad! I couldn't believe that earlier in the day I had been so close to these teams - it was amazing.

The whole experience was unbelievable and will be a memory I have for life. The day was full of surprises and I was so happy when we left. It was awesome! The only thing that could have been improved was if Ben Ainslie won the first race.

If you've been inspired by Ben Ainslie to get into sailing, have a look at our advice for gaining your Time on the Water Staged Activity Badge, or check out some more Olympic-themed activities you can try this summer.

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