When and where did you start sailing?
I started at Brixham Junior Sailing Club at the beginning of 2012.
Why did you start sailing?
My friend Tom got a place in the Sailing club and got asked to bring someone else and I joined him.
Which club do you belong to?
Brixham Junior Sailing Club and Royal Torbay Yacht Club
How long have you been at the current club?
Do you have a history of sailing in your family?
Yes my Dad and his Dad have always had boats and done a lot of sailing.
What do you actually do?
A dinghy differs to a yacht as they are closer to the water where you are sat and there is no downstairs area or space to sleep while on a yacht you are raised above the water and generally have a space to sleep. In a dinghy you almost always have to wear a wet suit as the boat is a lot easier to capsize (turn upside down) than a yacht is as yachts have weights on the bottom (Keel) to stop them from capsizing, to stop it capsizing I have to lean my body weight out of the boat which requires lots of leg and ab strength. A yacht's mast (Vertical part that the sail goes on) is always up unless it is on a trailer whilst in a dinghy the mast comes up and down easily especially in a Laser as after every use it has to be de-rigged (put down). Most sailing dinghies are made for racing especially a Laser as they were invented solely for competition whilst yachts are generally made for leisure, but lots are made for racing as well. Dinghies sails are a lot smaller than a yachts but tend to go faster than yachts as they are lighter. Sailing dinghies are more manoeuvrable than yachts as yachts are heavier and therefore harder to turn. Dinghies are made for less people such as the Laser is a 1-man boat whilst most yachts are made for multiple people and require good teamwork. Most dinghies are a lot more physical than most yachts as you have to hike out (lean out of the boat) to keep it up right in strong winds and you have to move quickly to compensate for both wind and waves that would slow you down or give you a speed advantage.
How many times a week do you train on the water? And off the water?
In Brixham I train twice with the sailing club and once with the yacht club every week, I race in Torquay once a week and most weekends there is an event going on so I train or race then. Off the water I go to the gym most days, go for a cycle and go to tae-kwon-do where I am a Black Belt and going for my 2nd degree black belt in October.
What are your ambitions, what are you trying to achieve, in 1 year, 5 years?
In the next 1 year I hope to place well in the national events and move further up the national table and in many other races but this year is more of a training year for me to progress lots for international events next year. I am also trying to transition into the Radial sail so I am working hard at the gym to gain weight for this. I also want to get some professional coaching to move to the next level. In the next 5 years I also hope to get in the National squad and then the British Sailing team. I hope to have won the world championship multiple times.
Who is your role model/s? in the sailing world, other?
My main role model is Ben Ainslie as he has done extremely well in his sailing career, Nick Thompson as he is the current number 1 in Britain for the Laser dinghy.
What’s your favourite fish?
Any mishaps or funny stories from sailing/ on the boat?
In my 2nd year of sailing I was sailing an RS Feva and my friend unexpectedly capsized and I got trapped under the sail and couldn't find my way out for around 30 seconds. Also in my 3rd year of sailing I was sailing an RS Feva with the same friend and he undid one of the front bungs and didn't put it back on properly and when we capsized the bung fell off and the boat was flooded with water and when we finally got it back up the boat was fully submerged apart from the sail and we had to get towed back in and when we got back in and undid the bung it was like a water fountain.
In 2016 summer I went on a sailing trip on an old traditional sailing trawler and on the first night we set sail and there was 4 meter waves and everyone was scared and wanted to go back in but I wanted to stay out but we ended up going back in.
During a recent professional coaching in some video feedback there was a clip of me flicking my hair back and a comment was made that I should be sponsored by a certain hair product because "I'm worth it"!
Competition stats, info, what have you entered, won, achieved?
I have won joint Best overall sailor of 2014 with my friend in Brixham Junior sailing club, Best overall sailor 2016 in Brixham Junior sailing club. Joint 1st place in Peter Bartlett regatta in 2016, 2nd place in Brixham Regatta in 2016 and 71st place out of all Laser Radials in Bart's Bash 2016 against adults and professional sailors. 28th in the national Ladder series for the Laser 4.7. Won the winter series in Royal Torbay yacht club.
Currently studying in what year at which school?
Sports & Exercise Science Level 3 BTEC National Diploma
What will you do next in school (eg A’levels? Where?)
I hope to finish my Sports Science course and possibly take a gap year to tour Europe in a campervan or converted van.
Your sailing club website
Who is your coach?
Tim Corbett and Tim Hulse mainly
What competitions and training are coming up over the next 4 months?
Multiple ladder events in the Laser 4.7, youth nationals in July which are in Plymouth this year. Club racing in Brixham and Torquay, UKLA training in the laser 4.7 and T1 training in the Radial sail.
If someone wanted to see you training could they? Where/how?
Yes they could from April on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Brixham during the evening with the sailing club, some weekends either at Torquay, Exmouth, Brixham or Dartmouth or contact Rockfish and I can train in a certain place if needed.
What are your social media handles?
I have an instagram @sailingconnor which I use to promote my sailing, I also have a Facebook page @sailingconnor and my website is sailingconnor.com, I am also working on a youtube channel for my sailing and sports.
Why did you approach Mitch?
Because I really enjoy his restaurant Rockfish and I heard he enjoyed sailing so I was hoping he could help me on my journey to the Olympics and more. I knew Mitch and Rockfish do a lot for the local community and Rockfish was first on my list when we started to write letters looking for a sponsor.
What does the sponsorship with us mean to you? i.e. what real difference will it make? (you can work less and put more effort into training, you can show off your boat…etc!)
My family, whilst they can support me by giving me their time, encouragement, believing in me, and taking me to events etc, they could not help me achieve my dream financially. Having sponsorship will mean with my new boat I can get more professional training, enter more competitions and take my sailing to the next level. This I could not do on my own and with my old boat. Having Rockfish and Mitch believe in me and giving me this opportunity means the world to me. Having their support, help and other contacts I may need along the way. I can now make my dream a reality.
What’s your motto?
You can't get to the end of the race without first sailing the course.
I am extremely grateful for Rockfish giving me this opportunity and words aren't enough to express how I feel and for my family for the sacrifices they are making for me to take me around both the country and the world for both competitions and training. I am really excited about the future, I will work hard, I am fully committed to my sailing, It is something I love. I love being part of The Rockfish Red Sailing Team and the Rockfish Family.
In addition to Rockfish's support Connor received a grant from The John Merricks Sailing Trust in 2017 towards training.