Sean Herbert has sailed in plenty of big regattas before but few with as many carrots as what's being offered at the first Inspire WASZP Grand Final this weekend.
The 20-year-old will be one of nine males and nine females competing in the Championship of Champions regatta being sailed alongside the final round of SailGP season two in San Francisco on March 27-28. He earned the chance to sail in the event by winning the Sydney round of SailGP Inspire in early 2020.
The winner in San Francisco will receive a cash prize to support their professional sailing development as well as the chance to join the New Zealand SailGP Team's training and tech session, including a chance to sail onboard the F50 catamarans.
"Going to a worlds is a pretty big deal but this is definitely the most major regatta I will have done," Herbert said. "It’s about the competition but the experience is huge as well. It’s an opportunity to make a name and the goal is definitely to go over there and win.
"My goal is to go pro. I’m really interested in the high performance foiling route. That’s why I have chosen the moth as the pathway. I’m keen to get on a circuit, whether that be something like the 69F or SailGP. I’m fizzing to get over there and get amongst it."
Herbert will go there with a good sailing pedigree. In 2019 he created history by becoming the first person to win three Starling national titles, eclipsing the record set by Rohan Cooke (1992-93), Tim Christiansen (1999-2000) and Peter Burling (2005-06) who all won two.
He's also won national titles in a WASZP and RS Feva, as well as team racing, and sailed at various major regattas overseas.
His main sailing these days is done in a Moth - he's having to borrow a WASZP to get some training in ahead of the Inspire grand final - which he does around his work at Mackay Boats.
"In Sydney it was really impressive to see the operations of SailGP, not only on the water," he said. "I definitely have more of an appreciation for the work they put in after all the boat building I have done. It’s incredibly impressive."
Brook Wilson (18) and Jack Ferguson (18) - winners from Australia Sail Grand Prix
Emilie Bouchet (18) and Eliott Savelon (20) - winners from France Sail Grand Prix
Sofia Caputo (16) and Zeno Marchesini (16) - winners from Italy Sail Grand Prix
Hattie Rogers (21) and Zac Blomeley (20) - winners from Great Britain Sail Grand Prix
Mathilde Robertstad (18) and Lennart Frohmann (17) - winners from Denmark Sail Grand Prix
Neus Bover (18) and Jaime Harguindey (19) - winners from Spain Sail Grand Prix
Sean Herbert (20) - qualifier from New Zealand
Rinko Goto (16) and Teruaki Shimakura (17) - qualifiers from Japan
The winners from the WASZP Americas Championship event will complete the lineup and represent the United States