Paul Standbridge, perhaps Britain’s most experienced big boat sailor, has joined Peter Harrison’s merry band in Auckland
Paul Standbridge, perhaps Britain’s most experienced big boat sailor, has joined Peter Harrison’s merry band in Auckland. Standbridge’s roll will be to assist Sailing Manager Ian Walker with team selections, to help out with coaching and generally to lend the authority and stature of a big boat legend.
GBR Challenge General manager David Barnes knows the importance of Standbridge’s experience. “As the organisation has evolved so to must the management resource,” said Barnes. “Paul was our number one target and we are very pleased that he has decided to join us.
“Paul’s immense experience will help in all areas of the project, but in particular he will assist Ian Walker in many of his day to day responsibilities, allowing Ian to spend more time on the water.”
Standbridge’s record shows a dedication to big boat campaigning. Most recently, he was skipper of Giovanni Agnelli’s 92ft black rocket Stealth when she won the UBS Round the Island Race at the ACJ. After that Stealth went on to secure line honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race, again with Standbridge as skipper.
This year’s Fastnet was Standbridge’s 13th – certainly not unlucky for him – and his career also encompasses five Whitbread Races, most recently as skipper of Toshiba in the 1997-98 race, replacing starting skipper Chris Dickson when he dropped out in Cape Town. In the 1993-94 Whitbread, he sailed on the Southern Ocean flyer Intrum Justitia under Lawrie Smith, also his skipper onboard Port Pendennis in the 1991 Admiral’s Cup, one of three he has contested.
Now aged 43, Standbridge also brings to the project experience of the America’s Cup. He raced as bowman on Crusader in Fremantle during Britain’s last foray into the America’s Cup in 1987. Poole-born Standbridge has now moved to Auckland with wife Nicky and son Max, aged two, and will relish the experience: “I was very excited to be approached by GBR Challenge. Having sailed with the last British Challenge, I know what’s involved and am looking forward to joining the team.”