I am about to wrap up another good year of professional sailing. It has been a busy year, having done the full Caribbean circuit, followed by a packed summer of racing in the Newport area, and finally some big events in Europe at the end of summer.
My goal for 2017 is quality, not quantity. And I am very excited about my two new projects, driving the TP52 PROVEZZA and the J Class yacht TOPAZ. It is interesting that after 10 years of being back on the Pro Sailing circuit following my 10 year stint in the Americas Cup that I have finally found myself back in the driving role, as opposed to the tactical role. The fact is that on the pro tour most of the available jobs are as tactician. And it’s a great role, basically leading the team, coaching an owner-driver, and playing the tricky tactical game. But the fact is that I spent 99% of my racing career as a driver, and making boats go fast is what i do best, and enjoy most, so I am super keen to be driving again.
And the two circuits that I will be racing in are the best two you could ask for- the 52 Super Series and the J Class. The 52 Super Series is the highest level of monohull racing in our sport, on par with the incredible racing we had in the Americas Cup before they switched to multihulls. The campaigns are totally professional and filled with the best talent in the sport. And the racing is razor close, with heaps of action. I will be sailing on PROVEZZA, a Turkish team, with Tony Rey as my tactician. We start training this week, and our first event will be Quantum Key West Race Week in mid January.
My other project is with the new J Class yacht TOPAZ. The J Class for those not aware, is the type of boats that were raced in the early 1900’s in the Americas Cup, huge 140 foot majestic beauties. Well there is now a revival taking place, where owners are either rebuilding an original, or building to the original plans, but with modern technology, particularly in the rig and sails. There are currently about 6 or 7 of these J boats sailing, and another 2 or 3 in build. And the racing is awesome. A mixture of history, grace, extreme loads, power, complex team work, and exciting racing. And this year is a big one, with a series of events planned to coincide with the Americas Cup in Bermuda, and then a World Championship in Newport.
So all good, really thrilled to have these wonderful programs lined up. Hoping to have a great year of racing, travel to some beautiful places, meet new people, and share good times with friends and competitors.
Wishing everyone a great 2017.