Catergories: HampshirePeople

We caught up Olympic gold medallist sailor and member of Land Rover BAR, Giles Scott.

Giles is part of Land Rover BAR, the British Challenger for the 35th America’s Cup with the aim of bringing home Cup. Land Rover BAR HQ is based in Portsmouth.

Giles took time away from his busy training schedule with Land Rover BAR to chat about the Rio Olympics, America’s Cup and what he gets up to when he’s not racing.

Expectations of you winning Gold leading into the Rio Olympics were extremely high, did you feel this pressure and if so how did you manage it?

There was absolutely pressure [on me] but the expectations came for a reason, namely because of the results I’d achieved in the build-up to the Games. I knew I just needed to sail consistently and do the same things that I had been doing to earn that reputation, luckily I didn’t let the pressure get to me so I could focus on the sailing – and winning on the water.

How difficult was the training for you in the lead up to the Games focusing on both the Finn class and BAR’s AC45 catamaran?

It was surprisingly easy as I did the all the America’s Cup World Series events up until Oman in early 2016 - before Oman all events had tied really nicely into my Olympic sailing calendar.

In 2016 we focused on a calendar purely for the Olympic Games - as a number of the Olympic sailing events clashed with all the ACWS events but there was a great support and understanding from everyone at Land Rover BAR that I was going to focus purely on Rio until it was done.

How did you celebrate your Gold Medal in Brazil?

The way I expect all the medallists did – with a big night out in Rio! Then I came back home and it was nice to catch up with friends and family before getting fully stuck back into things at Land Rover BAR – and getting ready to compete at the ACWS Toulon event in mid September.

Will you be looking to defend your Olympic medal in Tokyo, if so when will your focus turn towards that Olympic cycle?

Right now I don’t know if I will or will now - the focus for the next year is with Land Rover BAR and the America’s Cup in Bermuda in 2017.

From the two America’s Cup World Series event held in Portsmouth, the public interest in sailing is growing. How would you describe the boats and the America’s Cup World Series racing to someone who has never seen it before?

It’s not sailing as people know it – the America’s Cup is sailed in foiling catamarans which effectively fly on the water. The boats do close to 40 knots in the right wind - which is close enough to 50mph! Its fast paced and exciting for viewers and probably even more so for the sailors.

So, if there’s any sailing that non-sailors are most likely to like and find exciting – it’s America’s Cup racing!

With a number of wins on the board for Land Rover BAR, including two from the Portsmouth events, how happy are you with the progress the team is making?

The team are really, really happy. As a new team it’s always hard to gel and I think we’ve proved that we are able to do that.

We’re leading the ACWS now – by 14 points - with just one event left, the final event of the 2015/16 series in November. 

Alongside racing in the ACWS we are running a testing and development programme at our Portsmouth base, we train 3-4 times a week on the Solent and will launch our final race boat, the boat we will race in the 35th America’s Cup, in Bermuda in January 2017.

Your role in the Land Rover BAR Team is strategist, can you explain what your roll entails?

My role is ultimately split because it’s a mix between being a strategist and a tactician. Because of how dynamic the racing is we have our heads down to be sailing the boat, it doesn’t provide a great deal of time for me to have as good a view of the racing as Ben does. So the tactics and the strategy gets split up between Ben and myself and a lot of the time I become a sounding board for Ben who effectively has a bigger picture view.

Next year the America’s Cup will be held in Bermuda, if you were to win the cup with Land Rover BAR how do you think that will compare to you winning Gold at the Olympics?

It will be completely different - the amazing thing is there’s not many people who get to win an Olympic Gold medal and then nine months down the line have a shot at the America’s Cup as well!

Hopefully, over the next nine months we can get everything in place that we need to as a team to build the fastest boat that’s capable of winning the Cup. If we manage to do it, then as a team it would be pretty cool to bring the America’s Cup back to the UK that’s for sure.

What do you love most about sailing on the Solent?

It’s a very challenging place to sail – but that’s why we love it. On a Summer’s day the South West sea breeze is awesome. There’s always a huge mix of boats out there from day cruisers to racers and foiling catamarans. I suppose it’s ultimately the yachting hub of the South Coast really. It’s not really like any other venue in the world, its hugely tidal and the way the island effects the waters is quite unique really.

When you are not training and racing what do you get up to in Hampshire?

I kitesurf when I can and I play a little bit of golf, I’ve only just recently moved to Hampshire from Dorset so I need to get out and explore the area! 

What are your must do recommendations for anyone making a trip to Hampshire?

Just to get down to the coast and get on the water somehow.

What’s your favourite Hampshire restaurant and why?

There’s some great pubs in Old Portsmouth near the team base and the Southsea Beach Café on the water front is a great spot to eat outside – especially when the sun is shining.

What’s your favourite Hampshire pub and why?

The Spice Island Inn located in Old Portsmouth, it’s the team’s local!

Have you done any team building with Land Rover BAR in Hampshire if so, what did you do?

The team have done some – and not surprisingly it involved sailing!  

Visit the Land Rover BAR Tech Deck

Land Rover BAR is at the cutting edge of sailing, discover and learn more about the technology behind the boat and the team at the Tech Deck located in Land Rover BAR’s HQ in Portsmouth.

The centre has been developed for Key Stage 3 of the National Curriculum. The aim is to foster and ignite young people’s interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and aims to inspire students to continue on to careers in these essential fields.

All ages can visit the Tech Deck, please note that the Tech Deck is open on a specific days throughout the year and must be booked in advance.

Book your trip to the Tech Deck

Image Copyright © Richard Langdon




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