Alex Sinclair was born in New Zealand but grew up in Antigua and learnt to sail in an Optimist at the age of 7 at Antigua Yacht Club. Now professional, he is currently an Americas Cup sailor for Team USA. Alex took time from his training to tell us about his achievements, his inspiration and give us his top tips for the World Championships.
Tell us a brief bit about your achievements to date and what you’re currently doing
After graduating high school in Antigua I sailed to Europe to get my Yachtmaster and perused the sailing circuit. I made my way through racing teams and have now joined NYYC American Magic the US Americas Cup team.
At what age did you learn to sail and what are your memories of it? Do any particular experiences stand out?
I starting sailing when I was 7-8 years old taught by Karl James at the Antigua Yacht Club. My earliest memories of sailing are learning in the after school activity club from my school (Island Academy). I remember racing with all my classmates and teaming up to try and capsize and sink each other’s boats to win the races, I think we gave Coach a lot of stress in those days!
Who has inspired you and why?
There are many people that inspired me to pursue sailing as a career but I guess the most would be the older Antiguan sailors before me like Shannon Falcone who won the Americas Cup in 2013, my brother Louis Sinclair who now sails with Emirates Team New Zealand and Karl James who taught each of us to sail optimist.
How important is Optimist sailing to young sailors?
Optimist sailing is the foundation for all young sailors. The basic skill you learn in an Optimist you will apply to all your sailing in the future.
What made you choose sailing as a professional career? Did you have any hard decisions to make or any other things you considered?
I always knew my profession would be on the sea so I also contemplated Free Diving and spent some time as a Fisherman. But the personal and team challenges of sailing appealed to me and I took up sailing.
You have sailed in many countries around the world. What makes Antigua special / unique?
With our Trade Winds, Antigua always provides great conditions for sailing. The coastline is beautiful and the waters are challenging so this makes for a great venue for competition.
What advice would you give to Optimist sailors entering the 2019 world championship?
My advice would be to keep your mind clear and focused on the water, if you make a mistake own it and move on, have fun.
Having grown up in Antigua, what are your top tips of things to do if competitors and spectators want to see a bit of the island?
My tips for the island; we have 365 beaches and I would recommend ‘Pigeon Beach’. For lunch ‘One Stone Ital Shack’ at Cobbs Cross and a nice drive is ‘Fig Tree Drive’ through the rainforest.
For news and updates on the 2019 Optiworlds, please visit the website – http://2019worlds.optiworld.org