Dennis Conner Speaker Profile
Born on September 16, 1942, Dennis Conner is an American yachtsman. He was known as the Mr. Americas Cup. He voted in recent times as the Americas Greatest Sailor by his peers at US Sailing. He was also noted for being a bronze medalist during the 1976 Olympics, two Star World Championships and four wins in the America's Cup.
Dennis Conner is a four-time America's Cup winner, successfully defending the America's Cup in 1974, 1980, and 1988 and winning as the challenger in 1987. He was helmsman of the first defender to be defeated in the 132 year history of the cup, also ending 132 years of successful defense by the New York Yacht Club with their loss in 1983 to Alan Bond's wing-keeled challenger Australia II 4 races to 3. Following the loss Conner formed his own syndicate, the Sail America Foundation, through which he raised funds to mount a challenge. Representing the San Diego Yacht Club, he embarked upon a three year campaign, which culminated in his winning the Cup back from Australia in 1987.
After taking The Cup back to American soil, this time for the San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC) in 1987, Conner defeated the controversial "Big Boat Challenge" of New Zealand banker Michael Fay. Fay's team challenged with a 90' super-sloop (KZ1). Conner's SDYC responded with a 60' wing-sailed catamaran, US-1, designed by Morrelli, Chance & Hubbart & MacLane in a surprise defense. Fay's challenge and legal case based on the Deed foreshadowed the controversial 33rd America's Cup, whose legal wrangling resulted in the contest being decided in enormous multihulls in February 2010, while returning to the pre-war style of exclusive, billionaire backed campaigns of Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing.
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