British AC72 helmsman

Chris Draper tells us about driving the Luna Rossa AC72
Chris Draper has ‘done well for himself’. Since bringing home the 49er bronze medal from Athens, Draper has continued his Olympic skiff campaign, while also turning his attentions to catamarans. On two hulls his record has been consistently good - he cleaned up in the 2009 Extreme Sailing Series as helmsman of The Wave, Muscat before being signed to skipper the Team Korea AC45 for the first America’s Cup World Series events in 2011. In this Draper and his largely British crew punched above their weight, regularly nipping at the heels of the bigger teams and as a result, at the end of 2011 he was chosen by Luna Rossa to trial as one of their AC helmsmen. Also joining this race was double Extreme Sailing Series winner Paul Campbell-James, who steered the Luna Rossa X40 to victory in 2011. Then, last year, following a torrid Volvo Ocean Race and Olympic Games, Spain’s Iker Martinez also became a contender. As Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena mentioned in our interview with him, most of the trialling for the helmsman’s role took place in the team’s two AC45s and at the end of last year it was Draper who finally got the nod. “Four or five years ago it wasn’t something I would have expected to have happened,” admits Draper. “I was expecting to be at the top of a rig or something like that. But the decisions I’ve made along the way, the stars have aligned nicely and I am very grateful for where I’ve ended up. I feel I have got here through doing well over the last 18 months when it has really counted. I feel very lucky to get to do it and I am looking forward to giving it everything I’ve got.” This is obviously good news for British