Harken Derm

Catching up with Taylor Canfield

Published on September 3rd, 2019

Taylor Canfield, 30, is a U.S. Virgin Islands native and Boston College All-American, a five-time winner of the Congressional Cup, and the 2013 World Match Racing Tour champion. He is the flight controller and tactician for the SailGP Team USA, and a member of the Stars & Stripes USA team challenging for the 2021 America’s Cup. Sail Magazine’s Laurie Fullerton caught up with Canfield.

Now that Stars & Stripes USA has reaffirmed its commitment to the Cup, what are the next steps for the team?

We are excited that Stars & Stripes USA is committed to moving forward. It has been a long road and, as expected, not an easy one. Our next steps are to continue to seek support and try to bring on some corporate partners. In addition to securing funding for the team, the boat build is by far the most important action item for the team to continue with.

We have had a great group of American designers and builders involved from the beginning. We hope to fill out the rest of our management team and get a few sailors committed to foiling as much as possible in many other platforms until our boat is ready to hit the water.

As you begin training for the America’s Cup boats, how difficult will it be to transition from a foiling catamaran to a foiling monohull?

I don’t believe the monohull will be much different from the catamaran while it’s actually foiling, but the displacement-mode sailing in monohulls with no keel will, I believe, be a challenge for all of the teams.

You’ve been fully involved in the Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts-backed Sail GP, a series of stadium-style events that winds up in Marseille, France this month. What has it been like?

The series has been an awesome opportunity to sail and compete on the F50 cats, which I consider to be the fastest racing boats in the world right now. I am part of a great young team pushing hard. We always want more, and it is really cool and a great environment to be in. The team has been growing and evolving constantly and we have made some huge progress so far. We are involved with the innovation and development side of these machines, and this has been really cool.

Speaking of innovation, you are the flight controller and co-skipper with Rome Kirby. How does that work on a high-speed boat like the F50?

Rome and I have been switching back and forth, where I am sometimes the flight controller and sometimes the driver. Everyone has different skills and there is a lot of time where we are simply trying what works. Between the two of us we are spearheading both jobs together. Each team does things differently, but Rome and I are taking it on and doing it together.

Professional sailing has always been male-dominated, but with the growth of foiling boats, do you see more opportunity for women sailors?Full story

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