The glamorous lifestyle of an Olympic campaigner is often described as “living the dream”, but if ever there were two people whose lives match up to that description it is British Olympic 49er pairing Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell.
As well as winning the 49er World Championship in 2017 and being one of the hot favourites to represent Great Britain at Tokyo 2020, this dynamic duo are also a key part of the British SailGP crew – with Dylan on the wheel and Stu in the role of flight controller.
Yacht Racing Podcast host Justin Chisholm caught up with the two of them on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca where they had just arrived for a month of training ahead of the Olympic Classes Princess Sofia Trophy regatta at the beginning of April.
British sailor Sir Ben Ainslie is the most successful Olympic yachtsman of all time and skipper and team principal at America’s Cup challenger Ineos Team UK.
Ainslie knows better than most what it is like to experience the highs and lows of the America’s Cup.
He was an integral part of Oracle Team USA’s amazing comeback victory at the 34th Cup in San Francisco, but came home from the 35th Cup in Bermuda a disappointed man after his Land Rover BAR syndicate failed to make it past the Louis Vuitton challenger series.
Now for the 36th edition Ainslie is back with a fully funded campaign bankrolled by patriotic British businessman Jim Ratcliffe and he is more determined than ever to bring the America’s Cup back to the UK.
As well as winning countless world championships in a long and illustrious career American yachtsman Terry Hutchinson has also been involved in four America’s Cup campaigns, but is perhaps best known recently for his leading roles in both Doug DeVos’ all-conquering Quantum Racing TP52 and Hap Fauth’s highly successful Maxi 70 Bella Mente campaign.
It’s hardly surprising then that when DeVos, Fauth and fellow business titan Roger Penske joined forces with the New York Yacht Club to mount a challenge for the America’s Cup – it was Hutchinson they turned to lead the all-new American Magic syndicate.
On this episode of the Yacht Racing Podcast we get an update on what’s been going on behind the scenes at The Ocean Race – the fully crewed around the world race formerly called the Volvo Ocean Race.
Speaking to Yacht Racing Podcast host Justin Chisholm from the race’s HQ in Alicante, Spain are: Ocean Race executive director Richard Mason; IMOCA 60 class president Antoine Mermod; and race director at the Ocean Race, Phil Lawrence.
Topics they discuss include:
– why rumours circulating recently of a 12-month delay to the next edition of the race are unfounded
– what the course for the next race might be and when it will be announced
– how many teams the race organisers are hoping for in both the VO65 and IMOCA 60 fleets
– what sort of budgets are being sought for by the IMOCA 60 teams
– the possibility of an Around Europe Race in 2023 to mark the-around-the-world race’s 50th anniversary
All that and very much more…
Our guest on this episode of the Yacht Racing Podcast is British Olympian and ocean race skipper, Ian Walker.
Walker has had a broad and illustrious career in professional sailing having won two Olympic silver medals – one as crew and one as helmsman – and having skippered Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing to victory in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race around the world.
Walker has also led America's Cup campaigns and coached fellow Brit Shirley Robertson and her Yngling crew to an Olympic gold medal – as well as successfully plying his trade as an inshore tactician for many years on the international Grand Prix racing circuit.
More recently Walker has taken on a new land-based challenge as director of racing at Britain's Royal Yachting Association where – amongst many other responsibilities – he is in charge of the British Sailing Team's Olympic prospects.
On this bumper episode of the Yacht Racing Podcast your host Justin Chisholm talks to:
– British solo skipper Will Harris who recently announced that he has secured a sponsorship deal with British clean energy company Hive Energy to compete on the French dominated Figaro circuit in 2019
– Emirates Team New Zealand sailor and coach Ray Davies about the current state of play as the current America’s Cup holders prepare to defend it on home waters in Auckland in 2021
– young American sailors Taylor Canfield and Mike Buckley, the co-founders of Stars and Stripes Team USA – the second American campaign to challenge for the 36th America’s Cup
The second episode of the Yacht Racing Podcast takes us to the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard facility in Lisbon, Portugal to meet Nick Bice – the race's director of boats and maintenance.
Image by Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race.
For the very first episode of the Yacht Racing Podcast we travel to New York for the finish of The Bridge transatlantic race to speak exclusively to French record breaking solo round the world multihull skipper Thomas Coville.