Thomas A. Whidden is one of the most-acclaimed sailors of all-time. He is a member of both the America's Cup Hall of Fameand the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Whidden joined North Sails, the world's largest sailmaker, in 1986, just before being part of the crew of the yacht Stars & Stripes in the victory over Australia in the 1987 America's Cup. He became CEO and co-owner of North Technology Group, formerly known as North Marine Group, parent company to North Sails, when it was established several years later.
Whidden, who began sailing at age ten at the Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport, Connecticut, is one of the most experienced sailors in the history of the sport. "When I was 16, my dream was to become a sailmaker and race in the America's Cup," said Whidden of his years as a junior sailor on Long Island Sound. He sailed with Dennis Conner in a total of eight campaigns, beginning in 1979 as Conner's trial horse skipper. He has raced as tactician in five series races and has won three times (1980, 1987, 1988). Whidden was given a key to New York City from Mayor Ed Koch in 1987 after bringing the America's Cup back to the United States from Australia.
Whidden's leadership in the design and manufacturing of technologically advanced sails is unparalleled. Since Whidden has led North Sails, every America's Cup winner since 1992 and every Volvo Ocean Race winner since 1993 has raced with North Sails. Emirates Team New Zealand's recent win over Oracle Team USA in the 2017 America's Cup is largely credited to North, as the company designed and built ETNZ's boat, wings, sails, and spars.
A graduate of Colby College in Waterville, Maine, Whidden has earned many accolades throughout his sailing career including Colby's "Carl Nelson Award" for Athletic Achievement in 1989, and the University Club "Man of the Year" award in 1987. In 2006, Whidden received the prestigious "A Life for Sailing" Award at the Trofeo Ermenegildo Zegna Regatta in Portofino, Italy, which is given biennially to a person who has devoted their life and career to sailing.
Outside the America's Cup arena, Whidden has won the Newport-Bermuda Race (Class A) five times and has won his class at Miami SORC five times and twice overall. Additionally, he's had repeated wins on the European racing circuit, including the Palma Superyacht Regatta, Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, St Barths Bucket Regatta, and the Trofeo Zegna Regatta. In 2001, he steered Gianni Agnelli's 92-foot yacht Stealth to victory over 200 competitors at the America's Cup Jubilee in Cowes, England.
Whidden is the publisher and co-author of two best-selling books: The Art & Science of Sails and Championship Tactics.He serves on the board of trustees for Colby College and the New York Yacht Club. In 2005, he was featured in an article titled CEO Sailing on Forbes.com.
Tom and his wife Betsy, co-founder of Connecticut Magazine, reside in Essex, Connecticut, New York City, and Newport, Rhode Island. They have one son, Avery, and one daughter, Holly Whidden.
Dennis Walter Conner is an American yachtsman. He is noted for winning a bronze medal at the 1976 Olympics, two Star World Championships, and three wins in the America's Cup.
Stars & Stripes is the name of an America's Cup syndicate operated by Dennis Conner and its racing yachts. The name "Stars & Stripes" refers to the nickname often used for the flag of the United States. TDC was registered under the flag of the San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC).
Bradley William Butterworth is a New Zealand yachtsman known for the role he played as tactician and skipper in the America's Cup for Team New Zealand and the Alinghi team of Switzerland.
San Diego Yacht Club is a yacht club located in San Diego Bay. It is located in Point Loma across from a spit of land known as Shelter Island.
Wind is a 1992 film directed by Carroll Ballard and starring Matthew Modine, Jennifer Grey and Cliff Robertson.
The Royal Perth Yacht Club (RPYC) is an Australian yacht club in Perth, Western Australia. it is the third oldest yacht club in Australia after the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. It is based at the Crawley Marina on Pelican Point and at the Fremantle Annexe in Challenger Harbour.
Paul Pierre Cayard is an American yachtsman and professional sailor. He has competed at multiple world championship level sailing events, including the America's Cup, the Whitbread Round the World Race, the Volvo Ocean Race and the Olympic Games. In 1998 he was selected as the US Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year. He has won seven world championships, twice participated in the Olympic Games and seven times in the America's Cup. In 2011 he was elected into the US Sailing Hall of Fame.
Christopher Stuart Dickson is a sailor from New Zealand. He was world youth champion three years in succession and later became world match race champion three times. He also skippered several yachts in America's Cup racing, and for New Zealand at the 2000 Summer Olympics, and in numerous other sailing competitions.
New Zealand "Kiwi Magic" was the America's Cup challenge boat sailed by Chris Dickson in the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger series held in Gage Roads off Fremantle, Australia during the summer months of 1986 through 1987. She was New Zealand's first America's Cup entry and was the premier boat in the New Zealand Challenge syndicate.
The 1983 America's Cup was the occasion of the first winning challenge to the New York Yacht Club, which had successfully defended the cup over a period of 132 years. An Australian syndicate representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club fielded the Australia II, skippered by John Bertrand, against defender Liberty, skippered by Dennis Conner. Australia II won the match races after fighting back from a 3–1 deficit to win the America's Cup, ending the longest winning streak in sporting history and ending U.S. domination of the racing series.
Iain Murray is an Australian sailor. He is most noted for his appearances in 12-Metre Class yachts in the 1983 and 1987 America's Cup regattas and his management of the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco, California.
Gary Jobson is a sailor, television commentator and author based in Annapolis, Maryland. He is a Vice President of the International Sailing Federation. Gary has authored 19 sailing books and is Editor at Large of Sailing World and Cruising World magazines. He is President of the National Sailing Hall of Fame.
The 1988 America's Cup was the 27th America's Cup regatta, and was contested between the defender, San Diego Yacht Club represented by Stars & Stripes H3, and the challenger, the Mercury Bay Boating Club represented by New Zealand Challenge's KZ-1. Run under strict Deed of Gift rules, the regatta was won by the San Diego Yacht club, in a two-race sweep.
Thomas David Blackaller, Jr. was a world-champion American yachtsman, America's Cup helmsman, sailmaker, and racecar competitor. He was a two-time world champion in the Star class keelboat, a world champion in the international Six metre class, raced in three separate America's Cup campaigns, and influenced the careers of many other sailors.
John Rousmaniere is an American writer and author of 30 historical. technical, and instructional books on sailing, yachting history, New York history, business history, and the histories of clubs, businesses, and other organizations. An authority on seamanship and boating safety, he has conducted tests of equipment and sailing skills, and led or participated in fact-finding inquiries into boating accidents. He has been presented with several awards for his writing and his contributions to boating safety and seamanship.
The 1962 America's Cup, the second to be sailed in 12-metre yachts, marked the first challenge for the Cup from a country other than Great Britain or Canada, and was the first challenge from a country in the southern hemisphere. An Australian syndicate headed by Sir Frank Packer, representing the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, challenged with their yacht Gretel. Although the New York Yacht Club won the regatta four races to one represented by the yacht Weatherly, the challenger, Gretel won the second race, beating the Americans for the first time since the 1930s, and only lost the fourth race by twenty-six seconds. The NYYC was so shocked at the closeness of the contest that they immediately changed the rules to ban the use of American design and technology by Cup challengers.
North Sails is an international sailmaker with operations in 29 countries. The company designs, engineers and manufactures sails for racing and cruising sailboats from 8 feet (2.5m) to more-than 200 feet (60m) in length. Licensees manufacture clothing and windsurfing sails. North Sails is the world’s largest sailmaker, with annual sales of $150 million in 2011. Sails by North Sails are used by the majority of competitors in the Volvo Ocean Race and the America’s Cup.
Ross "Rosco" Halcrow is a New Zealand sailor who has won both the America's Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race.
Richard Meacham is a New Zealand sailor who has competed in multiple America's Cups.
Joe English, was an Irish yachtsman, professional sailor and sailmaker. He competed at multiple world championship level sailing events, including the America's Cup, the Whitbread Round The World Race and Admiral's Cup race series. In 1989, English skippered Ireland's first entry to take part in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race.