Olympic bronze medalist in sailing and two-time winner of the America’s Cup Craig Monk spoke to JUCCCErs about his experiences as a world-class sailor in the Shanghai office on June 16th, 2015 . He shared with us the rigorous level of competition associated with high-level sailing, the ingenuity of modern boat design, and the potential for sailing to transform the culture of a city.
Did you know boats could fly? In high-level competitive races, 40 meter boats worth tens of millions of dollars soar two meters above the water at nearly 100 km an hour. The design, research, and expertise necessary to design and sail each boat requires tons of human capital. However, it is pure passion and skill overall, says Monk, that allowed his New Zealand team to rise to the top.
When New Zealand won its first America’s Cup 20 years ago, it changed the country. Monk remembered warmly the crowds that lined the streets, welcoming the champions home. He remarked that the coasts of New Zealand were completely transformed, as their America’s Cup title inspired billions of dollars of investment. New Zealand’s coastlines are now much more welcoming to tourism, sailing races, and leisure. The excitement has not died down after New Zealand’s first win. In fact, these coastal areas are still thriving.
Is this transformation possible for China? Craig Monk predicts that participating in the America’s Cup is well within China’s reach. With a relatively small investment in human capital, design, and technology, China has the ability to develop a sail team that could even win the America’s Cup and breathe new life into its coastal cities.