Jono Mcbeth how a chance encounter turned into a six-Cup career

America’s Cup: Jono Mcbeth how a chance encounter turned into a six-Cup career

by Shirley Robertson Jan 20 01:09 UTC
January 20, 2022

A big crash for ORACLE TEAM USA as they cross the 1 mark in the deciding race of the 34th America’s Cup 19 © Ricardo Pinto / ACEA

Henr-Lloyd 2021 For the Love of Bad Weather MPU

Land Rover BAR Sailing Team Manager Jono Macbeth © Harry KH / Land Rover BAR

Shirley Robertson ACC © RYA

Sailing’s top international commentator, Shirley Robertson, speaks this month with a man who has been part of six remarkable America’s Cup campaigns. She sits down to chat with New Zealand grinder Jono Macbeth.

As the couple discuss, Macbeth’s career in sailing was by no means planned, beginning after a chance encounter with the legendary Sir Peter Blake. The New Zealand team had just won the 1995 America’s Cup in San Diego when Blake invited a young Macbeth to join an exciting new company in Auckland. The couple first met after a chance encounter at an Auckland kayak shop…

“I was in a squatting position and was about to try to pick up this fridge on my own and I hear this big booming voice behind me… ‘Do you need a hand?’ And without turning around I said “Yeah, that would be a good mate”, and I looked over my shoulder and down and behold there was (Sir Peter) Blake, standing above me , arms crossed.”

What followed is one of the sport’s most comprehensive Cup careers. Blake invited Macbeth to join the team, and since that first Cup defense by Team New Zealand in 2000, Macbeth has been a regular fixture competing for the illusory trophy and has enjoyed some of the most fascinating campaigns in history. the modern era.

Macbeth remained in the New Zealand team as Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth left the team to sail with eventual 2003 Cup winners Alinghi and then sailed again in the Cup match after New Zealand Zealand won the grueling Louis Vuitton Challenger Series 2007 in Valencia.

As the future of the Cup went through the courts and a Deed of Gift match seemed likely, Macbeth joined Russell Coutts at BMW Oracle and began sailing the monster 90ft trimaran that would ultimately win the Battle of Deed. of Gift in Valencia. It was a fascinating time, as the designers, sailing teams and shore crew all came to terms with the introduction of the fin sail. From 90ft, the Cup yachts dropped to 72ft for the 2013 edition in San Francisco, by which time Macbeth was a regular in the Cup world and an integral part of Oracle’s desperate sailing team to develop the foiling capabilities of exciting new multihulls. It was a period of development that did not always go as planned…:

“I remember Jimmy clear as day on comms ‘Watch out for the boys, watch out for all your homies here’, and I was thinking ‘what the hell is he talking about’, then ‘BANG’, the arcs went collapsed and I was second cockpit back with Rome Kirby and Joey Newton and we just went underwater…the boat kept going down!”

The team eventually of course overturned a huge deficit against Team New Zealand, winning the 2013 Cup in spectacular fashion, a moment which Macbeth reveals to be the highlight of his career on several occasions.

From San Francisco, Macbeth joined the newly formed Land Rover BAR, leading the British sailing team for Sir Ben Ainslie, leaving the Cup at the Challenger Series stage in Bermuda in 2017.

Now working in a sustainability role at North Sails, Jono Macbeth is one of the most experienced grinders in the game, and his behind-the-scenes revelations of life at the very heart of the fight for the oldest trophy in world sport are really fascinating.

This edition of the podcast is in two parts and can be listened to through Shirley’s website podcast page at or through popular podcast outlets including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast and aCast. The podcast is produced and written by Tim Butt – for more information please contact .

Part 1

Part 2

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