Terry Hutchinson is an American sailor, world champion in different classes like TP52, Farr 40, J/24 and others. He was named the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in 2008 and 2014. He participated in several years of the America’s Cup in different teams, such as the Emirates Team New Zealand, America One, Stars & Stripes and Artemis Racing.
Since 2014 Terry is the executive vice president for business development worldwide at Quantum Sails. He continues to be a tactician for Quantum Racing as well, besides his corporate responsibilities. Since 2008, he has been both the helmsman and tactician on the TP52 Quantum Racing and won three world championships and three circuit championships. We asked him several questions about the current America’s Cup, future of the sailing industry and his secret of victory. Enjoy!
We would like to talk about the future, but first of all, tell us about your current project.
My current projects are the Quantum Racing, the TP 52; Bella Mente, which is a Maxi72, Plenty which is a Farr 40, and Nika, which is RC44. So, lot’s of sailing!
Yes, indeed it is! And almost all your teams are winning, what is your secret?
What is our secret… honestly, I have no idea (laughs). The true is that the secret is the hard work. Also, I think a part of our secret is that we have very good people, who respect their roles and do not relax. We always keep pushing ourselves, constantly applying pressure and looking for competitive advantage. Also having good people inspires the creativity!
Winning is always great but what is losing for you? Russians have a saying that our losses make us stronger. What about you?
Oh well, there is a component of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” in it, and I have similar mentality. I also think it is important when you aren’t successful to learn out of it, understand why you did or did not win.
How did you start working with Quantum Sails? What is your position within the company and what do you do there?
Well, my relationship with Ed Reynolds, who is the CEO of Quantum Sails, is quite long. He hired me right after college when I was 22 years old, so our relationships are ongoing for a long time, almost 30 years! And as it was clear that the America’s Cup will stay in the multihull world, over the last 10 years I have developed the relationships with Doug DeVos, and with the brand, and it seemed like a natural fit for the time. It was and still is a project to work on and to make our sails better. I think my role within Quantum is to help facilitate introductions to customers and to help with sail development, and the feedback, and hopefully do a good job with the product on the water in sailboat races.
So what is your future in sailing? Do you want to come back to America’s Cup?
Yes! I’d love to see America’s Cup end up in monohull world, so we can take Quantum Racing and do the America’s Cup. How is that for a sales pitch or something (laughs)
That would be something, wouldn’t it! And what about the present, who will win this Cup in your opinion?
It’s a great question... I’m not sure. I know enough information about each team to say one way or another who is going to win or lose. If I had a force in the race, quietly, I’d love to see Team New Zealand win, because I think they return it back to some sense of normalcy. I’m still not sure what that means, but I think they will take it out of multihulls and bring it back to monohulls. I think that, but I don’t know for sure. Judging by the fact that they did not join all the challengers in their show of support of the America’s Cup every two years, which is a bit wonky because whoever wins is going to determine what they are going to do with it. And just because you agree to something right then and there, to see how it all goes… In the end, it is the America’s Cup, so the one thing you know for certain is that self-interest will win out.
And now the last question. Future of sailing industry: how boats and sails will look like in 10-20 years?
It’s a great question, but I don’t know! I think like all good engineering things continue evolving. So the structure of the sails will evolve, the materials of the sails will evolve, Quantum is continuously working on the side of it. I think we only scratching the surface here. We can always be pushing to get better and as we get more technology and people who understand that technology, the sails should get better. For me, very important is the understanding of the interaction between the mast and sails and how they work together. I don’t know if boats will actually physically look better in 10 years, if the triangles are going to look different, but I would suspect structurally they would look a lot different. And each sail designer will design the sails for the boat they are working on.