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GreenComm's Ed Wright

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Ed Wright
GreenComm Racing Crew

November 17, 2011

GreenComm crew hangs out together. Photo:©2011 ACEA/Pierrick Contin
GreenComm crew hangs out together. Photo:©2011 ACEA/Pierrick Contin



Ed Wright.
Photo:©2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget

Bursting onto the British sailing scene in 2006 with a Gold Medal performance at the Finn Europeans, Ed Wright had to think the coast was clear for a slot on the British Olympic team heading into the 2008 games in Beijing.  After all, Athens Gold medalist Ben Ainslie was busy driving the Emirates Team New Zealand trial horse in preparation for the 2007 America’s Cup.
Not so fast.  Ainslie returned to the Finn class after the 2007 America’s Cup Match and took the sole British Finn spot away from Wright.  But along the road to the London Olympics in 2012, the 2010 Finn World Champion decided to take out something of an insurance policy, should he not be named to next year’s Olympic team -- Wright signed with GreenComm Racing as tactician.  And as it turns out, last month Ainslie was named as the Finn representative in London in 2012, leaving Wright as the beneficiary of a very good career move.
Wright has not abandoned the Finn entirely, as he will be joining Ainslie and three other British Finn sailors at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth come December, but for this week he sails under the Spanish flag of the GreenComm effort.  Given the intense winds during the recent America’s Cup World Series event in Plymouth, England, and the fickle conditions thus far in San Diego, it’s no surprise that he terms the AC45 “perfect conditioning for the Finn.”  He also appreciates the opportunity the AC45 has turned out to be for younger multihull sailors.
“It is quite an opportunity for a lot more youth in the America’s Cup,” said Wright.  “The guys have to be strong and it’s really a nice thing to see, all this energy.  The racing is fast and furious, and it’s so much fun for us on the boats!  It’s not a situation where you’re on one tack for a long time, just slowly edging out the next boat.  You’re really involved as the decisions are made -- very quick decisions!  You can receive results instantly, so it’s great coming from Olympic sailing, where it’s like that all the time.”
Like Ainslie, Wright has had to get used to being part of a team.  While the extensive British sailing program ensures that no one is alone for very long, the racing aspect in that situation is a solitary experience.  Though the AC45 does not have the large complement of sailors the old America’s Cup Class Version 5 had, it has a bit of a learning curve even when it comes to a small crew sailing as one whole.
“The whole Olympic sailing concept is working as a team, to make you perform the best you can.  But I do have to understand the communication, and we’re still working on that.  It’s quite difficult on our boat communication is half Spanish and half English! Working as a team is very important for us to go forward.  It’s different, but it’s enjoyable having someone there all the time to tag you out or to help you if you’re getting tired.”
Wright was originally listed as tactician, but now shares the more egalitarian “sailing team member” title, as do all the rest of the sailors.  He acknowledges that they are all still figuring things out.
“I suppose ‘floater and bowman’ is my job description, but we’re all really multitasking and freestyling.  We’ve been doing a lot of crew changing in this regatta, bringing in a whole bunch of guys who haven’t been on the boat.  We’re all relearning the process -- just replacing one guy makes such a big difference so we’re taking it step by step.”

GreenComm took a hit literally and figuratively at the previous America’s Cup World Series event in Plymouth, in a collision with Artemis Racing that damaged the port ama.  The team was only able to work on the boat for a short time before having to put it in the container and onto a ship headed for San Diego, so GreenComm lost time the first week after arrival in San Diego as boat repairs continued.  Time in the shed is time on the water lost.
“Luckily the major event wasn’t until this weekend, so we have time to train.  Last week was pretty much about fixing the boat.
“On these boats, it’s pure multitasking.  You have to be able to pick up one second and put it down the next second, do it very quickly, and have your head both inside and outside the boat.  So it’s very physical and you have to be very aware.  I admire the guys at the top at the moment, it’s just incredible how they’ve been able to test everything so quickly and we’re still learning how to get these techniques down.  Hopefully it will come!

--Diane Swintal for CupInfo/©2011

Photo:©2011 ACEA/Pierrick Contin
Angle of attack, GreenComm in Plymouth. Photo:©2011 ACEA/Pierrick Contin

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