Matt Cassidy is a professional sailor crewing on the America's Cup Team "American Magic." Host Alli Bell and Cassidy talk about his start to sailing, the College of Charleston team, and a lot of great America's Cup topics including the boats, the preparation, and the progression in technology.
Matt begins by telling us a little bit about his start into sailing including growing up in Michigan with the Junior Program on Boston Whaler Harpoons and his transition into 420s and FJs. Eventually, Matt made his way to the College of Charleston, joined their sailing team, and began the journey of becoming a professional sailor. He talks about meeting life-long friends, the steps to pro sailing and the great four years of success that college sailing gave him.
Continuing after school, Matt found himself in Harbor Springs, where he got wind of a family friend who worked for J/World in San Diego. He found the transition to J/World and San Diego easy and fell in love with the city. He talks about meeting Vince Brun and a handful of other guys who got him on local, bigger boats.
Matt then transitions into joining the Club and tells stories about World Championships and experiences on a variety of boats. Matt was a member of Team Oracle for the 35th Americas Cup. He explains how he got onto the team, stories of his travels to Sydney and how personality counts with a team that spends so much time together. He continues to discuss training in Australia and what it felt like the first time on the boat.
“It’s always been a dream to do the Cup,” he said.
Matt talked about what sailing on a Foiling Catamaran is like and tells stories of his first time out in the Bay, breaking his speed records and experiencing the other roles on the boat. He goes on to talk about how he got started on the America’s Cup team and the process of getting recruited. He stresses the importance of learning as much as you can before launching the boat and describes the process of building test boats and choosing the boat.
“This boat, there’s no playbook. We’re figuring stuff out as we go,” Matt said to describe what it was like sailing the boat.
Alli and Matt discuss progression in sailing in the America’s Cup, the number one venue for technological advances in sailing. “Things need to progress so they don’t get boring,” he said.
“You’re pushing the boundaries. We’re sailing cutting edge boats that go faster than anything out there,” he continued.
They end by putting emphasis on the safety training that goes with sailing in the America’s Cup including extensive safety training, rescue divers, gear, exercise and help from sponsors like Red Bull.
“The day you’re not learning when you’re out there, you’re probably dead.”