Weight of the world on Kyle Langford’s (young) shoulders

Published on September 4th, 2013

By Roger McMillan, MySailing.com.au
When Dutchman Dirk de Ridder was banned from the 34th America’s Cup for his part in the AC45 scandal, young Australian Kyle Langford was elevated from Sir Ben Ainslie’s “chase” team to the starting 11 for the defender.

It’s a huge responsibility for Langford, who turned 24 only a month ago and is the youngest sailor among any of the four America’s Cup teams. His slight frame and baby face make him look even younger than he is.

De Ridder was on the Oracle trimaran that won the Cup from Switzerland, trimming the largest wing ever made. The wing trimmer is an essential part of the three-man afterguard and in my opinion is the third most-important man on the boat, after the helmsman and the tactician.

Losing your wing trimmer four days before the event is like losing your five-eighth four days before the NRL’s State-of-Origin or losing your halfback four days before a rugby union Bledisloe Cup match. He’s not the most important person in the team, but a good one is very, very hard to replace.

Having said that, Langford is no beginner and he’s sailed with helmsman Jimmy Spithill before. They teamed up to win the RC 44 World Championship and World Match Race Championship in 2010. He also has a good multihull pedigree, having won Gold at the 2005 ISAF Youth Worlds in the multihull class, a result that also earned him Yachting Australia’s Youth Sailor of the Year in 2006. And he’s been trimming the wing for Ainslie in Oracle’s intra-team match races for over a year. – Read on

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