The Multigenerational

Few sailors are as genetically predisposed to sailing as Andrew Campbell, 26, of San Diego. Both sets of grandparents were E-scow sailors, and his parents—both active J/105 sailors—are highly encouraging of their son’s Olympic dreams. Andrew’s father, Bill Campbell, has sailed in three America’s Cups (1983 with Courageous, 1992 with America3 and 1995 with Nippon
Author:
Publish date:
campbell2

Few sailors are as genetically predisposed to sailing as Andrew Campbell, 26, of San Diego. Both sets of grandparents were E-scow sailors, and his parents—both active J/105 sailors—are highly encouraging of their son’s Olympic dreams. Andrew’s father, Bill Campbell, has sailed in three America’s Cups (1983 with Courageous, 1992 with America3 and 1995 with Nippon Challenge) and currently serves as the commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club. Because of this upbringing, the Cup and high-end sailing have been a part of Andrew’s life for as long as he can remember. Andrew started sailing when he was six and worked his way up through the ranks of junior sailing, winning the Youth World Championship in 2002. He then attended Georgetown University where his commitment was to the sailing team; his senior year, 2006, he was awarded College Sailor of the Year, as well as Georgetown’s prestigious Athlete of the Year. An Olympic campaign in the Laser was up next, perhaps peaking with the 2007 Olympic Team Trials, off of Newport, Rhode Island, where Campbell beat out Brad Funk in a tiebreaker for a berth on the 2008 US Olympic Team. Following the Games, Campbell matriculated to Stars, where, as a rookie, he’s been racing at an exceedingly high standard—5th in the 2009 Worlds and 11th in the 2010 Worlds—in arguably the world’s toughest class using a chartered boat. He has teamed up to campaign for the 2012 Olympics in Weymouth, UK, with veteran Star crew Brad Nichol. Campbell was recently honored with US Sailing’s inaugural Best Performance by a Newcomer award. I caught up with him to find out more.

Congratulations on recently winning the US Sailing Newcomer of the Year award. Did this surprise you, considering how long you’ve been involved with US Sailing?

I laughed at it at first as I’ve been on the team every year from 2001 to now, except 2004. But the reality is that I’m flattered by it. The awards are new and they’re a great way to get more eyes on the sailors and the team.

What drew you to Lasers instead of two-man boats when you were younger?

I was better suited to Lasers, size-wise. I was 6’ and growing. I started in Radials and then switched to Lasers. But the whole time I was sailing Lasers, I was also sailing two-man boats in high school and college. With Lasers I could practice as much as I wanted. I didn’t have to worry about wasting other people’s time. But I’ve always enjoyed double-handed sailing.

I’ve heard you call the 2007 Olympic Team Trials in Newport, RI your hardest regatta – not the 2008 Olympics?

Absolutely, [the Team Trials] were difficult. Sometimes regattas don’t shape up the way you want them to. The competition at the Olympics is thinner than at a world championship. The Olympic fleet is smaller, with a core of really good sailors. At Newport there was so much pressure, it was a long event, windy, and physically demanding. The mental aspects of it were draining.

After the 2008 Olympics you switched from Lasers to Stars. Can you tell me about the impetus behind this decision?

I can’t say enough about how good the Laser was for my sailing. I learned how to train there properly. But I was ready for a class that better suited my skills, which are tuning and tactical. Stars are a great choice. I’d seen other guys make the jump, so I knew it could be done. And, I wanted to switch to keel boats.

campbell.int

Lasers are certainly a tough class, but Stars are typically seen as the world’s hardest class — what’s the transition been like?

The Laser is the toughest class far and away! Think of the availability—this provides a huge pyramid base of sailors. The trouble with a career in the Laser is that physically, you can’t compete at a high level forever. Stars are different; you can sail there forever. There are a lot of pro sailors who race Stars, and it’s a lot of fun to race against those guys. Transitioning hasn’t been that hard because both classes are so hard. With Stars, no matter where you go, there are teams there who are capable of winning.

You have done really well in the last two Star Worlds for a rookie. How are these regattas different than high-end Laser events?

It’s really intimidating [in Stars] when you don’t know the people—when you’re not sure who to give credit to. Previous [World] winners fly a gold star on their sail. It’s intimidating to go race the world’s best. With Lasers, all the preparation is done as most big regattas provide boats. With Stars there is some training but you need [your boat] to be set up properly. You need to be patient and have a longer attention span. It suits my style of sailing.

With Lasers the class is strictly One Design. Has the transition to a more open class been hard?

It’s been really enjoyable. It’s fun to see the variations within the Star [one-design] rule. [When sailing,] it’s unbelievable to see how small an adjustment you can make to create a huge sailing difference.

What are the biggest differences between skippering a Laser and a Star?

Patience. The Laser is a much more physically orientated boat. You move your body and the boat reacts. With a Star it takes more time for it to react to what you want it to do. The feel is the same [between the two boats], but I find it more rewarding to use my brain and not my brawn [on a Star]. Upwind on a Star, the boat is the limiting factor; on a Laser your body is the limiting factor. Downwind, the boats perform quite the same. But it’s a cool experience to work with a great crew on the Star.

Related

2019BestBoatsPromo-04

Best Boats 2019

Some years ago, the book Aak to Zumbra catalogued—and celebrated—the incredible diversity of watercraft that has evolved over the centuries, a diversity that remains evident to this day in the 11 winners comprising the “Class of 2019” in SAIL’s Best Boats contest. Indeed, it ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comGuaranteed result What you see on the end of this halyard isn’t a beautiful Flemish Eye worked by a rigger, but it will make a big difference when you have to “mouse” a line through the mast. If the ...read more

dometicadler-700x

How to: Upgrading Your Icebox

The time has come when the prospect of cold drinks and long-term food storage has you thinking about upgrading your icebox to DC-powered refrigeration. Duncan Kent has been there and done that, and has some adviceFresh food must be kept at a refrigerated temperature of 40 degrees ...read more

Jet-in-Belize

Cruising: Evolution of a Dream

There’s a time to go cruising and a time to stop. As Chris DiCroce found, you don’t always get to choose those timesAlbert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, ...read more

01a-rosemary-anchored-at-Qooqqut,-inland-from-Nuuk

Cruising: A Passage to Greenland

When a former winner of the Whitbread Round the World Race invites you to sail the Northwest Passage, there is only one sensible answer. No.More adventurous types might disagree, but they weren’t the ones facing frostbite of the lungs or the possibility of having the yacht’s hull ...read more

Allures-459-2018

Boat Review: Allures 45.9

Allures is not a name on the tip of many American sailors’ tongues, but it should be. After the debut of its 39-footer last year, the French company has made another significant entry into the U.S. midrange market with the Allures 45.9, an aluminum-hulled cruiser-voyager with ...read more