Leo Takahashi is making the move from grinder to flight controller on the Japan SailGP Team for the global championship’s second season. Despite being the youngest member on any of the national teams, he’ll be responsible for piloting the record-breaking F50 catamaran around the race course at speeds up to 50 knots / 60 mph.
Takahashi spent most of the team’s runner-up campaign as grinder alongside Yuki Kasatani, providing the power to trim the 24 meter wingsail, but the up-and-comer has a big year ahead as he campaigns for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Born in Atami, a seaside town in Japan, Takahashi started sailing at 9. Encouraged or maybe forced by his father, who was a member of the first Japanese America’s Cup Challenger, he quickly began to show talent.
Takahashi has been a member of the Japanese National Team since 2015 and following success at the junior level, was part of the 2017 Youth America’s Cup, representing Japan.
In 2018, Takahashi competed at his first senior-level world championship.
In February 2020, he and partner Ibuki Koizumi qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in their home country in the 49er class.
His hobbies include flying airplanes and basketball, but not much takes him away from getting as much sailing experience as possible in as many different types of boat.