Inspire Careers Candidate Preston Anderson recounts his experience with the program, which he joined at San Francisco’s Season 3 Grand Final and at Season 4’s events in Chicago and Los Angeles. In San Francisco, Preston helped with the dock management of the Tech Site, while in Chicago and Los Angeles he assisted with SailGP’s on-water operations.

SailGP San Francisco marked the Grand Final of Season 3 and was my first event as an Inspire candidate. In San Francisco, I had the opportunity to work with SailGP’s Technical Site managers Jon Mulligan and Caroline Nazareno and took on a number of responsibilities, including helping with the coordination of the Tech Site and working with the Inspire STEM team to assist with Tech Site tours.

Season 4 // Inspire Careers Candidate Preston Anderson with ROCKWOOL Denmark team

The latter included giving middle school aged kids a tour around the Tech Site and showing them all of the team bases, as well as the wing and foil tents. As an Inspire candidate, I also had the opportunity to meet members of ROCKWOOL Denmark and ask them questions about what it takes to run and compete as a SailGP Team.

During the middle of the week, my supervisor told me that SailGP was looking for a photo boat driver and, because I had the proper certifications, I was able to fill that need. It was an incredible opportunity as I essentially had the best seat in the house for racing.

Being a photo boat driver meant I also helped transfer athletes after racing each day. I had the chance to meet some of the most iconic sailors in the world. After the final day of racing, we returned the boats across the bay and were graced with a gorgeous sunset.

Season 4 // Inspire Careers Candidate Preston Anderson with New Zealand team on chase boat

I also had the opportunity to attend the SailGP Chicago event at the start of Season 4. I am originally from Chicago and it was awesome to have an event on my home waters. For this event, I was purely working with the on-water operations and chase boat department. I was responsible for preparing our dinghies, which are called ‘flubbers’. These dinghies were specifically used to help attach and detach the F50 catamarans from their moorings.

I was also a photo boat and prize giving boat driver for the Chicago SailGP event - this included driving around two Chicago based photographers, including the legendary Barry Butler, during the first day of racing. On the second day of racing, I helped transfer the Kiwis, who were winners of the Chicago event from their F50 to the race village.

Season 4 // The F50 fleet prepare for racing in Los Angeles

My final SailGP event as an Inspire candidate was at the Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix. I was tasked with working in the on-the-water operations department and tasked with getting the flubbers ready for operation.

Additionally, I helped manage the docks that SailGP had over in Cabrillo Way Marina. On the final day of racing, we wrapped fairly late but the views from the Tech Site docks were incredible.

SailGP Inspire is the community, education and outreach initiative of the global racing league. The program delivery is supported by key partners, including global sponsor Mubadala, and WASZP, Rooster, MarkSetBot, Armstrong and Epropulsion.