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Ed BAIRD (USA)

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© Ivo Rovira/Alinghi
Ed BAIRD was announced as the helmsman of Alinghi, winners of the 32nd America's Cup, just one day before the first match. Clinching victory at both of the UBS Defender Trials in Dubai, UAE, BAIRD staked his claim on the position early in 2007. He was selected again for the Louis Vuitton Act 13 in April, the last time Alinghi would face any of the Challengers before the America's Cup and duly picked up another victory for the team. A truly professional sportsman, BAIRD is an America's Cup veteran and a formidable match racer who always strives to improve. BAIRD's focus and exceptional talent on the helm steered Alinghi to an outstanding victory in some incredibly close racing against Louis Vuitton Cup winners, Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ).

The first match went to Alinghi but with ETNZ picking up the next two, Alinghi dug deep to win three on the bounce bringing the score to four-two and needing just one more win. The seventh, potentially deciding, match was another nail biter. ETNZ spent much of the race ahead but never quite gained a solid advantage. With just a few metres separating the two as they approached the final upwind mark, the crucial position of Alinghi and a perfect dial down from BAIRD forced Emirates Team New Zealand to concede a penalty. It looked like Alinghi had secured the win but an enormous wind shift put the finish line upwind leaving ETNZ able to lay it and Alinghi struggling to drop their spinnaker. Down on speed as they completed their penalty, ETNZ could only watch as BAIRD steered Alinghi across the line just one second ahead and winning the America's Cup.

2 - Allianz Cup, San Francisco, USA - ISAF Grade WC - Oct 2006
1 - UBS Defender Trials, Dubai, UAE - Jan-Feb 2007
1 - UBS Defender Trials, Dubai, UAE - Feb 2007
1 - Louis Vuitton Act 13, Valencia, ESP - Apr 2007
1 - 32nd America's Cup, Valencia, ESP - Jun-Jul 2007

Name Ed BAIRD
Place of birth St. Petersburg, FL
Date of birth 17 May 1958
Profession Sailor
ISAF Sailor ID USAEB3
What inspired you to take up sailing? I was always in one kind of boat or another, from when I was a kid. Luckily, the sport opened up in front of me to become a professional.
What was the first boat you sailed and how old were you? Clearwater Pram (forrunner to the Optimist). I took the summer sailing lessons at St. Petersburg Yacht Club when I was 9.
How did you buy your first boat and what was it? My parents bought me a new Opti when I was 12. The first boat I bought was a 470, when I was 16. I split the cost with my dad.
Name your first sailing club St. Petersburg Yacht Club
What was the first event you competed in and when? The 1968 ( I think) Thanksgiving Regatta at Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, Florida.
What was the first event you won and when? I won my age group at the Thanksgiving Regatta. BUT, I think there was only one other kid my age…
What are your personal highlights of your career to date? The America's Cup was by far the most difficult event to win. It was also the most exciting. I'm lucky that there have been many special moments in my career, but it's also been great to see all three of my sons sail their first regattas and start to enjoy the sport.
What are your future sailing goals? To defend the America's Cup! To learn how to kiteboard.
Who has had the greatest impact on your sailing career and why? My parents and their friends who showed me how to use boats and made it possible to have boats in my life.
Who is your sailing hero? I am not the kind of person who dwells on individual heros. I enjoy challenges and I respect those who achieve great things. People who push themselves to do things they weren't sure they could do will always be the ones I enjoy learning from.
What other sports do you enjoy? Golf and fishing, as well as watching professional team sports like baseball, basketball and football.
What does being nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards mean to you? There is no greater recognition in the sport. Thank you for including me with the great sailors of our time.
If you were voted as the winner, what would this mean to you? It would be an honor to be recognized for achieving special things, especially when they involve such significant commitments and teamwork.

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