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Ben Saxton likes making any sailboat go faster, whether the end result is winning the 2017 Nacra World Championship or helping the brand new 52-foot Oystercatcher get around Fastnet Rock. Now that this 2016 Olympian is part of the North Sails team, he’s looking forward to applying all of his catamaran and one design experience to the Grand Prix scene.
“My time racing in the competitive Olympic class fleets has taught me how to optimize and tweak boat settings to your advantage. Another big part of success in these tightly-packed fleets is knowing how to perform well under pressure. Now that I am becoming more involved in Grand Prix racing, I am loving working as a bigger team and being able to share victories with all the crew onboard.” Ben explains.
“To win in a fast boat, you’ve got to have a speed edge,” Ben continues, “so you do a lot of work trying to get more speed out of the boat. And you have to be better at planning ahead and communicating. All that thinking under pressure transfers really well to Grand Prix sailing.”
Ben was attracted to North because he was impressed with the company and its products, especially 3Di and Helix. He usually trims main and calls tactics, but when asked for a favorite class, he shrugs. “I sail everything, from dinghies to keelboats to catamarans. I’m really enjoying helping the Cape 31 fleet develop even faster sails. And it was really good to sail the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race because that only comes around every two years. I knew I wouldn’t get seasick sailing, but I didn’t know how it would be sleeping!” He laughs. “I was fine, even with that really rough start.”
Sailing several evenings a week and almost every weekend, Ben doesn’t have a lot of time for other sports. But “I like keeping fit, so I love biking, surfing, mountain biking, wing foiling. And walking the dog—that’s a big one these days.” Ben and his fiancée recently adopted a cocker spaniel.
His favorite activity is, of course, sailing. “It’s easy to go to work when I get to talk to people about sailing on the hour’s drive to the loft. And then I get here, and I’m still talking about sailing with everyone I work with. I’m good at making boats go fast, so I’m very happy to be in a place where everyone else appreciates that and wants to do that too.”
Gosport, United Kingdom
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