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Story Contributors: Ben Saxton

THE NORTH SAILS YOUNG GUNS SERIES: BEN SAXTON

Get To Know Your Local Sail Experts 

Young Guns North Sails Ben Saxton

North Sails are very proud to not only be one of the industry’s leading brands but also having some of the world’s best sailors working in the team. The Gosport loft prides itself in having several of these sailors working and sailing at a high level. The “Young Guns” series will introduce you all to the team over the next few months. We begin with Ben Saxton – Olympian, World Champion and North Sails Sail Expert.

How long have you been sailing, and how did you get started? 

I’ve been sailing all my life. My grandad was a water engineer, and he built the dam at Grafham Water, which is where I learned to sail. All my family loves sailing.

Since then, I progressed through the British Sailing Team and have raced 470’s and Nacra 17’s in the Olympic fleets. I have won European medals in both classes, including winning the Nacra Worlds and the Europeans twice. I have sailed many yachts and sportsboat classes from 52 ft’ers Farr 45’s Cape 31’s and many sportsboat classes.

What boats/classes do you sail? 

Mainly the Cape 31, it is a great boat, and the fleet is epic! This year I also won the Bacardi Series in Miami in the J70 and won the Nationals back in the UK. I have also been trimming main and doing tactics for the legend that is Lawrie Smith in an Etchells; we came third at the Etchells World Championships in Cowes in September.

I really enjoyed the Fastnet race on the CF-520 Oystercatcher last year too. 

I enjoy match racing, team racing, and fleet racing. I have raced most sports boats, medaling at the worlds and winning four national titles. I still jump in a dinghy occasionally but love the teamwork on bigger boats.

What’s your favorite thing about sailing? 

I really like the racing and the comradery; I like making boats go fast and seeing people enjoying it. My time racing in the competitive Olympic class fleets has taught me how to develop, 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’m becoming more involved in Grand Prix racing, I love working as part of a bigger team and being able to share victories with all the crew onboard.

What’s your best sailing achievement?

I won the Foiling Nacra 17 World Championships and the Europeans a few times. I also went to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

What made you want to join North Sails? 

They’re professional and the best. I love the sport, and North Sails is the place everyone wants to be. With 3Di, North Sails scientifically has the best product.

I really enjoy racing and performing on the day, but I really enjoy developing sail packages and making boats go faster. I now have the opportunity to make the boats I race on and our customer’s race go faster.

What do you like most about being part of the North Sails team? 

Everyone that I get to work with. I enjoy learning and sharing knowledge in order to make North Sails more and more dominant. Individually I am 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. It is a dream come true to work within the sailing industry. It is what I have the best expertise in, so it makes sense. After Olympic sailing, I did work in a Tier 1 Bank for a while, but I quickly realized that I was happier around boats.

Where will we see you sailing next?

Inshore and offshore. Miami in sports boats, the Cape 31 in the solent, and hopefully all over the world soon!

Favorite place to sail? 

That’s a hard one, either Hamilton Island or Porto Cervo. I have been lucky enough to race in World Championships in both venues. They both have great wide areas of wild water to race in, but they also have difficult local tactics too. They are both great places onshore too. 

Best person to sail with? 

My twin brother, Tim. There is something special about racing with your family, and racing with your twin is even better. Tim is really good too. When I raced the Moth, I quickly worked out that I prefer building and performing as part of a team rather than experiencing all the highs and lows as an individual.

What is your favorite sail? 

3Di RAW 870 – subtly seeing the structure and tape layouts in the smooth sail look so smart. North Sails 3D one piece racing sails do not need any covers over them to stop the wind blowing through them because, uniquely, we split the tapes down into individual filaments. This also makes the sails stronger and lighter. These are the tape structures that you can see. 

Ben Saxton North Sails
Ben Saxton (far right) winning Round 2 of the Cape 31 Race Circuit at the RORC Vice Admirals Cup 2022. 📸 RORC/Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.co

Story Contributors

The North Sails Young Guns Series: Ben Saxton headshot
Ben Saxton

Sail Expert — Gosport, United Kingdom

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...

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