Ken Read interview

madforsailing spoke to Kenny Read, the man on the helm of Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes
If Dennis Conner is considered one of the greatest America's Cup helmsman of all time, then spare a thought for the man who has inherited the spot at the wheel of Conner's latest America's Cup challenges. For a man with the responsibility of filling such big shoes, quite aside from his regular 9-5 job as Vice President of North Sails, Ken Read (above) seems remarkably relaxed. This New Englander is among the nicest people you could possibly meet to the extent that it is hard to concieve him going for the jugular on the race course. Yet Ken Read's race record speaks for itelf. He is widely regarded as one of the most talented helmsmen in the States since the days when he cleaned up on the Collegeate circuit, to an impressive six World Championship titles in the J/24 class - back in the pre-Mumm 30/36/sportsboat days when this was the hot keelboat class - not to mention two Corel 45 Worlds and skippering the top boat in the 1997 Admiral's Cup. In the America's Cup arena he was sailing coach and strategist for Young America in 1995 before getting the call to join Team Dennis Conner taking over from DC himself in the coveted helmsman's spot. Read clears up how his role fits in with Mr America's Cup himself in the campaign: "Dennis is the big boss and focusses on the fund raising and corporate and private fund raising. If it came down to it, which it never has, he would have the last word. He's who we all go to for advice. He's working his tail off trying to raise the money. In a perfect world Dennis would be doing what I'm doing, but he's the first one to realise that to run the sailing programme, skipper