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Mo Gets Sentinel Love


  • Mo Gets Sentinel Love

    The Santa Cruz Sentinal Just published a nice piece on Morgan Larson and his mad sailing skills:

    Morgan Larson doesn’t make a very compelling argument that he’s getting too old to be at the top of his game.

    At 43, the Santa Cruz native just guided the Swiss vessel Alinghi to victory in the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series, positioning himself at least at the fringes — if not near the center — of the discussion of the top sailors in the world.

    Over the course of 11 months, he skippered the 40-foot ship and its three-person crew in nearly 230 races at eight international venues. When the final race concluded in Sydney, Australia, in December, the Alinghi had beaten out 10 teams chocked with Olympic and America’s Cup royalty. Among those left in his wake were double Olympic gold medalist and Red Bull skipper Roman Hagara, British Olympic legend and J.P. Morgan BAR skipper Ben Ainslie and Leigh McMillan, skipper of The Wave, Muscat, who has dominated the Extreme Sailing Series over its eight-year history.

    Larson called the win the pinnacle, thus far, of a career that also includes two America’s Cups.

    “It’s the highlight because of the level of competition,” he said in a phone interview from Hood River, Ore., where he lives with his wife and two toddlers when he isn’t in Capitola or out racing. “Two of the top four sailors in the world right now — well, two or three of them — were in that series. It was a big deal.”

    In turn, winning the Extreme Series makes Larson a big deal.

    “Morgan’s domination of the series shows his extreme level as a pro sailor,” David Ullman, a four-time world champion and former coach of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team, wrote in an email to the Sentinel. “He is one of the best in the world.”

    Larson expected America’s Cup teams to come knocking on his hatch after the win. They did at first, but none picked him up for their 2015 campaign. It’s a slight Larson attributes to his age and a movement in sailing toward younger skippers.

    “A couple different people were interested and there were opportunities that slipped through the cracks and didn’t materialize,” he said. “It was kind of disappointing.”

    “Ten years ago, I would think I was in the prime age of the top guys doing the job I would do on a boat. But boats have changed and the successful guys are now in their mid-30s,” he added. “If I was 30 years old and had the season I had, I would have several teams offering me multi-million-dollar contracts. But I’m not, and that’s just the reality.”
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