The drive and desire to win the Auld Mug, the oldest international trophy in the sporting world, has become a high-powered game of speed, technology, and athleticism for America’s Cup athletes who hail from around the world. For the sailors, the on water odyssey of the America’s Cup pushes each athlete to perform at their best in six World Series events around the globe in the lead up to a playoff series and a final event in Bermuda.
Training day in and day out, sailors from six different teams are vying for a spot at the top of the podium in Bermuda, but before they can get there, their years of experience and skill will be put to the test. Apart from a shared competitive spirit and love of sailing, the common connection amongst these athletes is their love of the water and sea-based adventure.
Our team met with ORACLE TEAM USA and SoftBank Team Japan athletes to talk about how on water odysseys have helped the team prepare in their pursuit of the Cup.
When speaking with ORACLE TEAM USA’s sailing team manager and helmsman Tom Slingsby, he told us that he lives for adventure and for the thrill of being around the sea. “Everyday I have to be on the water. If I had to be in a land locked country or city, I’d go nuts,” Slingsby said.
As a former Red Bull Youth America’s Cup competitor and US Sailing Development Team athlete, ORACLE TEAM USA’s rookie grinder Cooper Dressler also shared a similar sentiment around his passion and drive for being on the water. “My personal odyssey on the water includes spear fishing and to go really fast on any type of sailing craft,” the young Southern California native told our team.
While meeting with the athletes of ORACLE TEAM USA, our Product Team spoke with Graeme Spence about how the America’s Cup has developed and changed over the years. “All the equipment on the boat […] has to be the best it can possibly be,” Spence said. “We’re constantly searching for excellence in every single area, so having Sperry to understand this and […] listen to our feedback is priceless.”
As the current Defenders of the Cup, ORACLE TEAM USA meets stiff competition from other athletes from around the globe who share the same passion and drive.
Dean Barker, the New Zealand-born Skipper and CEO of SoftBank Team Japan, has spent years training on the water in various forms of watersport and has been a part of several efforts to win the Cup. Barker leads the SoftBank crew with a tremendous amount of experience, having sailed on some of the fastest boats known to the sailing world.
Barker told us during a recent training and innovation exercise, “The sensation of a foiling boat is just something you can’t explain to anyone. You’ve got this adrenaline, acceleration, power, knowing that you are right on the edge most of the time, one mistake and you are going to end up upside down, it’s just shear exhilaration.”
Sperry is an Official Partner of the 35th America’s Cup, the exclusive Official Footwear Supplier of ORACLE TEAM USA and the Official Supplier of SoftBank Team Japan.