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Shirley Robertson Sailing Podcast: Ineos Team UK tactician Giles Scott

America's Cup

This month’s edition of Shirley Robertson’s Sailing Podcast sees the double Olympic gold medallist talking to one of the current stars of the 36th America’s Cup, as she chats with British Ineos Team UK tactician, Olympic gold medallist and multiple world champion in the Finn Class, Giles Scott.

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At just thirty four years old, Scott is already sailing in his third Cup Challenger Series campaign, and has become a pivotal part of Sir Ben Ainslie’s after guard. During racing, discussions between the pair on board the British boat ‘Britannia’ are available for all to hear on the live broadcasts of the event, and reveal an understanding and relationship that spans over two decades.

In the first part of this two part podcast, Scott discusses his early days of sailing, and how a move to the Finn Class saw him campaigning with Ainslie in the build up to the 2008 Olympics in China. Three years later, at just twenty four, Scott was a dominant force in the Finn, but describes the bitter disappointment of missing out on a London 2012, as Ainslie took the British Finn spot in their home Olympic Games.

It was a set back that would forge within Scott an even greater resolve. By Rio his domination of the Finn Class was absolute, and his relief at finally clinching the Olympic gold medal was there for all to see as he sailed to victory in Brazil with a day of racing to spare.

“I always got a lot of grief in the build up to Rio because I was a boring winner, I’d never celebrate, I’d never give them the amazing photo, or, you know, I’d always just give it the thumbs up but the reason I did that was because it wasn’t the one that I wanted. So the out roar of winning in Rio was, it was a big release of all that tension, emotion, I kind of, had done what I’d aimed at, yeah, it was a good moment.”

Road to Gold

Scott’s onboard relationship with Ainslie, the team’s crew set up and specifically Scott’s hybrid role as tactician – come – offside – pilot has so far proved successful in the shifty winds of this Auckland race course, but in discussion with Robertson, it’s a success that Scott is typically modest about…:

“Of course Ben wants the right information coming to him and is unforgiving because like me, he wants to win races, like all of us in the team, and racing these boats is pretty high pressured and it’s not the most relaxing thing to do, although at times, when things are going well, from the comms it almost does sound relaxing but it isn’t. So yeah, I think, I just want to nail every piece of information that I give, make sure it’s as fact based as I can make it and that we’re hedging the right way and responding to the competitor in the right way.”

Part 2 of the podcast turns to Scott’s America’s Cup career, as he talks though his early days in the Cup with the Luna Rossa team of the AC34 campaign, before moving on to his time with Ainslie’s AC35 LandRoverBAR team, and the campaign in Bermuda.

Much of the chat here though is of course about AC36, the Cup here and Auckland, as the pair talk through the problematic opening World Series races, the Team’s dramatic turn around in form and the up-coming Prada Cup Final match with Luna Rossa. Robertson and Scott discuss the Team’s unbeaten run in the Round Robins of the Prada Cup, but they also reflect on whether American Challenger, American Magic’s capsize has effected the approach of the other teams racing.

“These boats are extreme, they’re set up on a knife edge and if you want them to be faster you go closer to that knife edge, and that’s the way that we race them, we have to to because we want them to be as fast as they can be, so yeah, you’re never ever that far away from a bit of a ‘whoopsie’.”

Scott’s onboard relationship with Ainslie, the team’s crew set up and specifically Scott’s hybrid role as tactician – come – offside – pilot has so far proved successful in the shifty winds of this Auckland race course, but in discussion with Robertson, it’s a success that Scott is typically modest about.

“Of course Ben wants the right information coming to him and is unforgiving because like me, he wants to win races, like all of us in the team, and racing these boats is pretty high pressured and it’s not the most relaxing thing to do, although at times, when things are going well, from the comms it almost does sound relaxing but it isn’t. So yeah, I think, I just want to nail every piece of information that I give, make sure it’s as fact based as I can make it and that we’re hedging the right way and responding to the competitor in the right way.”

The Prada Cup Final kicks off on February 13th and will see Scott’s INEOS TEAM UK race against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli in a first-to-seven-wins final to decide the Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup.

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