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Sitting down with Jason Carrington

Published on March 14th, 2022

Shirley Robertson

In this edition of Shirley Robertson’s Sailing Podcast, the double Olympic gold medalist Robertson features one of the most respected names in boat building, as Jason Carrington takes to the mic to discuss his phenomenal career in the sport.

Carrington has been at the forefront of high performance boat building for several decades, but as his chat with Robertson reveals, his achievements in the boat shed are more than matched by an impressive career offshore.

Carrington reveals how a childhood spent on the water in Lymington (UK) led to an apprenticeship at the groundbreaking Green Marine, under the tutelage of the pioneering Bill Green himself. It wasn’t long before Carrington was impressing as a bow man, and was soon setting off on his first Whitbread attempt on the 1993-94 Fortuna campaign with British Whitbread stalwart Lawrie Smith.

It was the first of four Whitbred/ Volvo campaigns for Carrington, his second seeing him again take on the Round the World race with Smith onboard Silk Cut….:

“Sailing with Lawrie was wonderful, I remember my first glimpse of the Southern Ocean, I’ve never been with anyone that sailed so hard in the Southern Ocean…I was on the handles on deck….Lawrie was in the hatch and I looked and said, “This is crazy” to which Lawrie responded, “This is when you make the miles!”

Carrington’s tales of sailing the 1993-94 and 1997-98 Whitbread are told with a very obvious enthusiasm that hides nothing of his love for the camaraderie and hardships of round the world sailing. As the Whitbread transitioned to the Volvo Ocean Race, it’s Carrington’s memories of building Volvo 60 Assa Abloy that then begin to reveal a glimpse of the attention to detail he’s since become famous for…:

“(Our sponsor) wanted the coach roof to be red and I caused such a fuss about ‘why are we putting this paint on the boat, it’s heavier, we don’t need that paint’ and I worked out per square metre what that was gonna weigh and I said ‘No, we’re not painting it red’, I even phoned the sponsor…there was no compromise!”

From a lap of the planet on Assa Abloy, tales from Carrington’s sailing career take in another Volvo, onboard Ericsson, one of the first Volvo 70s, again built under the watchful eye of Carrington, as well as his memories of a Jules Verne attempt with Ellen MacArthur onboard catamaran Kingfisher 2, before the chat turns to life inside the boat shed, and the formation in 2017 of the now world renowned Carrington Boats.

Jason Carrington

Based in Hythe, on the UK’s south coast, Carrington Boats have recently been responsible for the build of some of sailing’s most talked about race machines, most notably the latest iteration of Alex Thomson’s Hugo Boss and Ben Ainslie’s 2021 America’s Cup AC75 Britannia.

Carrington talks passionately about the difficulties of building foiling yachts at the very cutting edge of the sport, and does not shy away from the responsibilities that such complex projects bring. Carrington’s interview reveals a modest character, keen to remind Robertson that the men and women of the boat shed are often the unsung heroes of a successful campaign…:

“There’s building boats and there’s building boats, but these type of boats, you’ve got to be very good at what you do, they’re not in the spotlight, but they should be really.”

Robertson’s two part podcast with Jason Carrington is a fascinating glimpse into the career of a man that has played a pivotal role in the progression of the sport of sailing, and reveals a passionate character driven by a very obvious and deep rooted love of the sport of competitive yacht racing.

This edition of the podcast is in two parts:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Shirley Robertson OBE made history by becoming the first British woman to win Olympic Gold Medals at two consecutive Olympic Games. Shirley Robertson’s Sailing Podcast, produced and edited by Tim Butt of Vertigo Films, is available to listen on her website or via most popular podcast outlets, including iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcast, and aCast.

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