Sitges, 10 April 2024.

Photo Jordi Play

  • The sailors, eight young people between 18 and 26 years old, are Albert Torres, Neus Ballester, Marcos Fernández, Martín Wizner, Conrad Konitzer, Nico Martin, Jaime Framis, and Antonio Torrado.
  • The names of the crew members were made public at the Club Náutico de Sitges by CaixaBank, sponsor of the team, and Port de Sitges, the team’s training base.

April 10, 2024.

Sail Team BCN has presented the crew members who will compete in the upcoming Youth America’s Cup. The team representing Spain in the Youth America’s Cup, under the banner of the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona, will be formed by Albert Torres, Neus Ballester, Marcos Fernández, Martín Wizner, Conrad Konitzer, Nico Martin, Jaime Framis, and Antonio Torrado.

The public presentation event, which took place this Wednesday at the Club Náutico de Sitges, was organized by CaixaBank, as the team’s sponsor, and Port de Sitges, as the training base of the Sail Team BCN. It was attended by Florenci Almunia, president of the hosting club; Albert Bertran, president of Port de Sitges; Benjamí Puigdevall, CEO of imagin; Aurora Carbonell, mayor of Sitges, and, of course, the youth crew of the Sail Team BCN. Although the America’s Cup is the oldest tournament in the world of sports, first held in 1851, the youth category is only in its third edition, following those of 2013 and 2017. A total of 12 teams will compete in Barcelona, from September 17 to 26, including the six competing in the America’s Cup Sailing (New Zealand, Great Britain, United States, Italy, Switzerland, and France), plus six additional teams: Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Sweden, and Australia.

Before introducing the crew, the president of the Club Náutico de Sitges, Florenci Almunia, emphasized that it was “a historic day.” “I am very grateful, as part of the Nautic, that you have thought of us and to be part of this presentation event of the team that will represent us in the America’s Cup.”

Next, Albert Bertrán, president of Port de Sitges, addressed the sailors to assure them that he counts on them “as the present of sailing and as the future.” “We want this event not to end here but, once the America’s Cup is over, in which we are sure you will perform greatly, we want this to continue being your home.”

Benjamí Puigdevall, CEO of imagin, a digital services and lifestyle platform for young people driven by CaixaBank, pointed out that “at imagin, we feel very close to young people, so it is an honor to accompany this brilliant team of athletes who, despite their youth, have an impressive track record and face a new challenge of great importance. We share with them the desire for improvement, the ability to work hard, and the aspiration to become the best.” “At imagin, in addition, we promote many projects for the conservation of seas and oceans, so we have a very direct link with the marine ecosystem,” he stated.

The event was closed by the mayor of Sitges, Aurora Carbonell, who thanked the team “for the time you have spent with us and which has served us not only to promote Sitges as a tourist destination but as a municipality that loves sports, healthy living, and above all, the sea.”

A crew with clear ideas, the eight crew members took the stage, who, despite their youth, demonstrated their motivation. Albert Torres (Palma de Mallorca, June 12, 1999), 420 World Championship runner-up, highlighted that he feels “very happy, it’s a unique opportunity, we dreamed of this since we were kids. It’s an important stage towards professionalism, where we want to reach.”

Marcos Fernandez (Santiago de Compostela, April 21, 1999), Nacra17 youth bronze medalist, explained that, during the previous selection process, they were receiving “news that they could include us, so I am very happy to have made it here and be part of the chosen ones.”

Martin Wizner (Vigo, January 1, 2001), 420 World Champion and 420 European Champion, expressed that he feels “very happy to represent my surname, with the aim of one day stop being known as my father’s son and start leaving my own legacy.”

Conrad Konitzer (Vancouver, Canada, June 16, 2001), 420 European Champion, also wanted to publicly express his joy for “being here in Barcelona and in Sitges, and with a lot of eagerness to see what we can do in the Cup this summer.”

Nico Martin (Washington, USA, December 22, 2000), North American Champion in Nacra15-Spokane, explained the importance of the simulator in preparing for the competition: “people see it and are amazed, on land, it’s the closest thing to the boat one can get. I’m delighted to bring the boat and the America’s Cup to the public.”

Jaime Framis (San Sebastian, September 5, 2002), Waszp slalom world champion, responding to a simile about his numerous flights and the feeling of flying that comes from the competition boat, pointed out that “it’s a world I really like, it’s a lot of fun and it transmits a lot of adrenaline. I keep trying to spend the maximum training hours and keep learning every day.”

Antonio Torrado (Torrevieja, April 1, 1999), youth European bronze medalist 49er, said that being part of the team “is an honor and a pleasure, something we all dream of, being able to represent our country in the America’s Cup. Now we are waiting to have the boat to be able to train, improve as a team, and make the best possible performance.”

Finally, Neus Ballester (Palma de Mallorca, December 16, 2003), 420 World Champion, also a member of the women’s team and the only female sailor in the youth group, precisely highlighted that “together we make a team, including the sponsors; we believe that working as a team is the best way to achieve objectives and we have to learn a lot from everyone.”

Sail Team BCN’s main sponsors are Foundation 0 and CaixaBank, with Port de Sitges, Highfield, Musto, BWA Yachting, Sailproof, and Team Out as collaborators.