Carrying the hopes and expectations of a team...and a nation. Find out more about the six skippers who are striving to bring home the 35th America's Cup from Bermuda
It is no easy task…being a skipper of an America’s Cup team.
Not only do they have to motivate their team constantly, but they also carry the weight of expectation on their shoulders…sometimes of a nation.
The six skippers preparing to start battle on Saturday (27 May) have decades of sailing experience between them.
Some, like ORACLE TEAM USA’s Jimmy Spithill know what it’s like to taste the sweetness of success – having won both the 2010 and 2013 America’s Cup.
Others, such as SoftBank Team Japan’s Dean Barker have had to deal with defeat, having got to the finals for New Zealand in 2003, 2007 and 2013 and walked away empty handed (although he did win for Team New Zealand in 2000).
Sir Ben Ainslie for Land Rover BAR certainly carries the hopes of Britain, which has never won the trophy in the 166 year history of the America’s Cup.
The pressure will certainly be mounting for all of the six skippers….and the next five weeks will decide who can keep their cool.
Meet the skippers
Sir Ben Ainslie: Land Rover BAR
Potted Sailing History: After becoming the most decorated Olympic sailor of all time, Sir Ben Ainslie turned his attention to the America’s Cup. After competing with Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) on the 2012/13 America’s Cup World Series, he joined ORACLE TEAM USA. Initially a tactician, he was on-board for their defence of the 34th Cup in 2013, helping the American team win the event, 9-8, against Emirates Team New Zealand. In doing so, he became the first British sailor to be on board a winning boat in the America’s Cup since Charlie Barr in 1903. As well his Olympic titles, he is am 11 times World Champion, nine times European Champion and Four times World Sailor of the Year.
Quirky fact: His favourite TV comedy is the British classic, Only Fools and Horses
Glenn Ashby: Emirates Team New Zealand
Potted Sailing History: Glenn Ashby is a multiple world multihull world champion. He won 10 Australian A Class championships and 15 world championships across three multihull classes before focusing on the America’s Cup. Initially, he was head coach for BMW Oracle Racing for the team’s successful defeat of Alinghi in Valencia in 2010, before moving to Emirates New Zealand. Unlike the other skippers, Ashby is a wing trimmer and not the helmsman on board, an honour he has handed to Olympic Gold medallist Peter Burling. Ashby has also raced and coached in the Extreme 40 class.
Quirky fact: When not racing, Glenn Ashby runs a sailmaking business with his wife, Mel.
Dean Barker: Softbank Team Japan
Nationality: New Zealander
Potted Sailing History: Arguably the skipper with the most America’s Cup experience, this will be Dean Barker’s 6th America’s Cup. He made his debut at 26, before taking Team New Zealand to America’s Cup victory in 2000, helming in the deciding race to beat the Italian racing syndicate, Prada Challenge, which challenged for the title. Barker has also raced in the 2003, 2007 and 2013 America’s Cup finals before moving over to SoftBank Team Japan. Barker has also won the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Trials in 2007 and 2013. In 2014, he was ISAF World Match Racing Champion.
Quirky fact: Dean Barker loves motor racing, competing in a 240-horsepowered Ford. He also admits to being a “bad golfer”.
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Franck Cammas: Groupama Team France
Potted Sailing History: One of France’s greatest sailors, Franck Cammas has vast experience in offshore, inshore, mono and multihull sailing and first shot to prominence after winning the Solitaire du Figaro at the age of 24.
Cammas has many sailing wins and records to his name including seven time World Champion on the 60 ft trimaran Groupama 2, winning the round the world Jules Verne Trophy and Route de Rhum and winner of the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of Groupama.
He has also been involved in previous America’s Cup campaigns, helping to train BMW Oracle Racing, which won in 2010 in Valencia.
Quirky fact: Franck Cammas is a classically trained pianist
Nathan Outteridge: Artemis Racing
Potted Sailing History: Like Sir Ben Ainslie, Nathan Outteridge turned his attention to the America’s Cup after taking Olympic gold. He won the 49er class alongside teammate Iain Jensen at London 2012, and went on to join Artemis Racing as a helmsman to challenge for the 34th America’s Cup. He has multiple 49er class World Championship titles under his belt (2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012) and won the International Moth Class World title in 2011 and 2014.
Quirky fact: Nathan Outteridge will never cut his hair during racing events for fear it will affect his performance
Jimmy Spithill: ORACLE TEAM USA
Potted sailing history: The youngest skipper to ever win the America’s Cup, Jimmy Spithill has taken the honour twice, leading his team to one of the greatest comebacks in 2013. With ORACLE TEAM USA down 8-1, he inspired his team to win eight consecutive wins to take the 2013 title 9-8 against Emirates Team New Zealand. For this, he was named the 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year. He is a multiple world champion in both fleet and match racing and in 2015, won line honours onboard the super-maxi Comanche in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
His goal now is to lead ORACLE TEAM USA to three consecutive America’s Cup wins.
Quirky fact: Jimmy Spithill likes to pick or catch his own food. Ideally it should be organic.