Sir Keith Mills back on the water

James Boyd Photography /
The TeamOrigin boss tells of his TP52 campaign for 2013
While TP52 racing in the UK may be on the wane, bucking this trend is Sir Keith Mills, who last weekend sailed his first regatta as an ‘owner driver’ at the RORC Easter Challenge. His Juan K-designed TP52 remains an asset from TeamOrigin, initially launched for Ben Ainslie and the British all-star crew to train aboard during the 2010 Audi MedCup as preparation for the America’s Cup. After Mills pulled the plug on TeamOrigin in October 2010 the boat was used at Cowes Week by Carphone Warehouse boss Charles Dunstone and then chartered to American Hap Fauth who sailed it at Key West last year as his new Bella Mente Mini Maxi was in build. Significant for Mills is that having been bitten by the sailing bug as long ago as the 1998 Clipper Round the World Race in which he raced aboard the Alex Thomson-skippered winner Ariel, since then he has had little opportunity to go sailing for his own personal enjoyment. And this is despite his significant contributions the sport for more than a decade now, be it through his long term, unerring support of Alex Thomson’s occasionally rocky IMOCA campaign or his three year long run with TeamOrigin. Taking the TP52 as a case, Mills says that they previously sailed the boat in the Round the Island Race, when he shared helming duties with Iain Percy, and on occasional moments down in the Mediterranean, but otherwise that was it. “Now the Olympics are over I have a bit more time and I thought I’d take on the season with the TP52 here and give it a go.” In addition to having created Air Miles and the Nectar loyalty schemes, Mills was also instrumental in Britain winning the bid to host the London 2012 Olympic Games, for which he was awarded