Taylor Canfield – Pretty good day at the office

Published on February 27th, 2013

taylorAs teams ramped up for the 33rd St Maarten Heineken Regatta on Mar 1-3, they were entertained this past Tuesday by the opening act: The Budget Marine Match Racing Cup.

With a flawless performance from start to finish, 24-year-old Virgin Islands sailor Taylor Canfield did not lose a race today en route to a dominating victory over seven other teams in the fifth edition of the event.

Canfield and his stellar crew – four-time Canadian Olympian Richard Clarke, and accomplished Caribbean sailor Mark Plaxton – went undefeated in seven races during the early round-robin qualifying tournament, and then dispatched fellow Virgin Islander Cy Thompson in two straight races in the best-of-three finals to earn the winner’s purse of $5,000. — Full story

On assignment at the event for Scuttlebutt is Leighton O’Connor, who files this interview:

LO: You are haven’t lost a step from last year. Give us a quick recap.

TC: The year started well with a third at the Congressional Cup, and then we won the US Sailing Match Racing Championship. But the big highlights were on the World Match Racing Tour, where we posted a fourth at the Chicago Match Cup, and a first at the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda, and then won the finale – The Monsoon Cup in Malaysia.

LO: Any big secrets for your success here?

TC: No big secrets. Really just focused on always sailing in the most pressure possible. The boats get very sluggish in the light air so keeping them rumbling was the name of the game. Also, we did a nice job transitioning from playing the strong right at the beginning of the day to playing the strong left at the end. While we won most of the starts, the races were far from over with the shifty conditions in the lagoon.

LO: Who were the coaches that have influenced you the most?

TC: Anthony Kotoun worked with us early on in the Opti days. I had two great training partners in Cy Thompson and Thomas Barrow, and then my Boston College sailing coach Greg Wilkinson also made a huge impact on my sailing as well.

LO: Who are you sailing idols?

TC: I would have to say guys like Anthony Kotoun and Peter Holmberg from the US Virgin Islands are my idols. Seeing those guys do so well as I was growing up was pretty inspirational.

LO: Any long term goals for your sailing career?

TC: Long term goals would probably be to sail on the World Match Racing Tour for a few years and hopefully get into some catamaran racing such as Extreme 40 Sailing Series. Also the America’s Cup is hopefully something I will get to sail in my lifetime.

LO: Have you done much offshore racing?

TC: I just finished the Pineapple Cup (Fort Lauderdale to Jamaica), getting second on the TP52 Icefire. I also was on the Farr 40 Flash Gordon in last year’s Chicago to Mackinac Race, where we won the Farr 40 Class. I definitely would love to do some more offshore sailing as opportunities arise.

LO: What’s coming up for you this year?

TC: I am hoping to get a tour card which will give us 7 events on the World Match Racing Tour and then sail the Ficker Cup Grade 2, Congressional Cup Grade 1, and a few Chicago March Race Center match race events. I am also looking to sail more Melges 32’s and Melges 20’s this year.
Leighton attached his camera to the mast on Taylor’s Jeanneau 20 and produced this 2:09 minute video of the team in action: http://youtu.be/oa2q6DHqTVg

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