This week News 13 Sports has been following the America’s Cup in Bermuda – the largest competitive sailing event on Earth.
This year, there were two local tie ins to the annual event.
The first was Mosley High School Alum Matthew Whitehead, who was part of the Red Bull US Youth Team, competing in the youth portion (18-24) of the America’s Cup.
Whitehead was the team’s wing trimmer.
Monday and Tuesday, the youth team raced against Bermuda, New Zealand, Great Britain, Spain, and Australia in six different races.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Team was eliminated after finishing tied for 5th place – only the top four teams advanced.
However, it was great experience for Whitehead, who is still deciding on whether or not to go out for the 2020 Olympic Games.
The other local aspect was the Columbia racing in the America’s Cup Superyaht portion.
The nearly 150 ft long ship was built at Eastern Ship Building, and it’s captain, Karl Joyner, is a Panama City native.
It was first launched in 2014, and is a replica of the original Columbia that was made in 1923.
This week the boat held it's own, coming in 3rd, 5th, and 5th place in its three races, each one 13.1 miles long.
This is an impressive feat considering it's an exact replica of a much older ship, and it's opponents are made of more modern materials.
This huge boat travels all around the world to compete, most recently in Antigua, and is now heading to Rhode Island for a while before going to Canada.
The Columbia expects to be back in Panama City sometime in October.
Captain Joyner says he's proud to represent panama city on such a beautiful ship.
"It feels great,” Capt. Joyner says, “Very proud of the vessel. Very proud of the accomplishments at Eastern Shipbuilding on this particular vessel. The vision of Brian D’Isernia and his effort to recreate this vessel as originally as possible and obviously all the hard work that went into it at Eastern. It's not their typical vessel so it took a lot of different train of thought."
We would also like to extend a huge thank you to Bay County native Susanna Russell. All pictures, video, and interviews were shot by her.
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