Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Mat Belcher on the Road to Rio and being an America's Cup skipper

by Mat Belcher and Will Ryan on 30 Mar 2014
Mat Belcher onboard Team Australia © Victor Kovalenko
Aussie sailor Mat Belcher talks about becoming an America's Cup skipper and the Road to Rio whilst he and his sailing partner Will Ryan prepare for battle at the 45th Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma de Mallorca.

Hello friends!

Wow, the last couple of months have been super busy. As most of you will probably know by now, I have taken on the role of skipper for Team Australia, the Australian America's Cup Challenger. After so many years to finally have an Australian team competing for the America's Cup is a huge opportunity for Australian sailing, thanks to Hamilton Island Yacht Club and the Oatley family. Being involved and leading this sailing team is a great honour and I look forward to the many challenges and opportunities it presents. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and Team Australia on this journey so far.

One of the biggest challenges for me personally will be balancing my commitments within Team Australia with our Olympic campaign. We are receiving a lot of support, both from the Australian Sailing Team as well as Team Australia, to combine the two programs. And while at times it will certainly create added pressures, we are confident that both the Olympic and the America's Cup program will complement and benefit from each other.

Over the last few weeks I have been spending a lot of time on the America's Cup program. We have launched our AC45 catamaran and have taken it for a few spins against the Oracle guys on Sydney Harbour, as well as helping our team find its feet in the Extreme 40s Sailing Series. We have a long way to go, but it has been great to start building a team and identifying what needs to be done.


But now it is back to 470s. We have arrived in Palma for the first World Cup event of the European sailing season. While the weather has been quite chilly we have been working hard to make sure we are on our best game for the regatta ahead. 95 mens teams are entered in the 470s and most, if not all, the top guys are here so it will be very tough racing. We have launched our new boat 'Far and Away', christened by Olympic Gold Medallist Olivia Powrie, and so far she seems fast and solid. We are looking forward to the opportunity to stabilise our 470 program and to see if all the training with our Australian sailing partners has paid off. While racing here will be a good gauge of current progress, the main focus this year will be the ISAF world championships in Santander later this year. We have a busy program ahead of us, working hard to defend our World Champions title and to use this first opportunity to secure a spot for Australia at the Rio Olympics.


Coming to Palma brings back many memories for myself. This was the first ever 470 event that I competed in 14 years ago. I was at university during the time and Victor said I needed to trust myself and ability and come over to Europe to follow my sailing career. It was an interesting conversation with my parents as to why I needed to defer but what a ride it has been. To have my family with me here, and to think how our life's have developed over these years is incredible. With his support, we have achieved so much during this period. I cannot ever repay Victor for the opportunity he has given me. He is a great man.


You can follow us at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca here.

Southern Spars - 100T Clewring One DesignBarz Optics - Melanin Lenses

Related Articles

Jake Lilley bridges the experience gap as he prepares for Rio Olympics
Lilley is one of the tallest and heaviest Finn sailors in Rio, but also, at just 23 years old, one of the youngest. An intensely physical sailor Lilley stands head and shoulders over most of the fleet and is beginning to show some of his huge potential on the racecourse, with several top results in the past year.
Posted today at 12:40 pm
Scheidt to play leading Laser role at Rio 2016
The Rio 2016 One Person Dinghy fleet will welcome a bumper 46 boats, making it the largest fleet at the Olympic Games. The Rio 2016 One Person Dinghy (Laser) fleet will welcome a bumper 46 boats, making it the largest fleet at the Olympic Games.
Posted today at 4:38 am
Full focus for second Olympics in Finn for Giorgio Poggi
Giorgio Poggi (ITA), took an emphatic win in the Italian Olympic trials in the Finn, with a career best fifth place When it really mattered and there were no second chances, Giorgio Poggi (ITA), took an emphatic win in the Italian Olympic trials in the Finn, with a career best fifth place at the 2016 Finn Gold Cup in Gaeta, Italy, an event which he played a part in bringing to his home country.
Posted on 27 Jul
Men's RS:X experience in abundance - Santos aims to inspire
Experience in abundance will be prevalent in the Men's Windsurfer (RS:X) fleet at Rio competition with World Champions Experience in abundance will be prevalent in the Men's Windsurfer (RS:X) fleet at the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition with World Champions and Olympic appearances aplenty across the 36 strong fleet.
Posted on 27 Jul
World Sailing provisionally confirms participation of six Rio athletes
Following a conference call today with its Board of Directors, World Sailing confirms the participation of six athletes The World Sailing Board carefully reviewed the decision taken earlier this week by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which determined that decisions regarding the eligibility of athletes would be made by the International Federations
Posted on 26 Jul
Gstaad Yacht Club's Racing Team trio for Rio 2016
Pre-Olympic Brunch at the GYC clubhouse – members, guests and friends gave a Brazilian farewell to the GYC Racing Team. The Gstaad Yacht Clubs sport members are: the Nacra 17 team with Matías Bühler and Nathalie Brugger who qualified for Switzerland, the 470 sailor Will Ryan, who starts with his helmsman Matthew Belcher for Australia and Billy Besson, who starts in the Nacra 17 class too, together with his crew Marie Riou for France.
Posted on 26 Jul
RS:X - Alabau expects Picon and Shaw Rivalry in Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Rio 2016 will welcome Spain's Marina Alabau back into Olympic fold as she aims to defend Women's Windsurfer (RS:X) title Rio 2016 will welcome Spain's Marina Alabau back into the Olympic fold as she aims to defend the Women's Windsurfer (RS:X) title she won at London 2012.
Posted on 26 Jul
Anders Pedersen heads into Rio Olympics with high expectations
He is one of the youngest Finn sailors heading to Rio at 24 years old but has proved himself many times on the water. He is one of the youngest Finn sailors heading to Rio at just 24 years old but has proved himself many times on the water. Junior World Champion in 2014, later that same year he qualified Norway at the first opportunity at the Santander world championships. Since then he has bee a regular at the front of the fleet and showing some real potential.
Posted on 25 Jul
Smooth sailing for Max Salminen in quest to repeat Olympic success
Four years ago Max Salminen was on his way to gold medal in Weymouth Bay, sat in front of Freddy Lööf in Star class boat Four years ago Max Salminen (SWE) was on his way to a gold medal in Weymouth Bay, sat in front of Freddy Lööf (SWE) in their Star class boat. He is now trying again for Olympic glory in Rio, but this time will be in a boat by himself, sailing the Finn.
Posted on 23 Jul
Olympics 2016 - Brits fire first shots in the battle for the Likes
The British Sailing team have enlisted the services of Cricketing great Phil Tufnell to get Olympic Sailing fans support The British Sailing team have enlisted the services of Cricketing great Phil Tufnell to get fans support in this zany video, featuring all 15 team members. Even if you're not a Brit you can't help but like a top team that doesn't take themselves that seriously and can have a bit of fun
Posted on 22 Jul