Talented sailor, and Explore NZ Skipper , Shaun Mason is currently in San Francisco competing in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup selection series with his team Full Metal Jacket Racing.
The selection series runs until February 24th from which the top teams will be picked to race in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in September. Six independent teams are participating including teams from Australia, Austria, Denmark, Germany and South Africa and competition is fierce.
The Full Metal Jacket Racing team is made up of a group of talented young New Zealand sailors who have sailed together for two seasons. Competing on the international sailing scene the team has already had great success including 2nd at the World Tour Regatta Match Race in France 2012, and the top spot in several 2012 races including New Zealand Keelboat Nationals (NZ), Korea Match Cup Q (Korea), Sail Of White Nights (Estonia), Parnu Sailing Week (Finland).
As well as sailing on the match racing circuit with FMJ, Shaun competes in offshore racing such as the Rolex Sydney to Hobart. He also manages and sails for the Living Doll campaign out of Melbourne, Australia and worked in stopovers for Team Sanya in the last Volvo Ocean Race.
Shaun took some time out of his busy schedule in San Francisco to answer some questions about his racing career.
How did you get involved in racing yachts?
I started sailing with my father when I was about 7 on a mirror dinghy in England. I used to just sit there and swap sides when I was told. From there I just started doing more and more racing in dinghies and eventually progressed on.
What are your top achievements to date?
- Sydney to Hobart 2nd 2011
- 2nd Match Race France 2012, World Tour Regatta
- Our team (FMJ) being selected for 2013 Extreme Sailing Series
- Our team being selected for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Selection Series
How do you feel about racing in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Selection Series?
Excited! It’s a whole new style of sailing that is faster, physically harder and more fun. The boats we are sailing are the AC45’s and you struggle to wipe the grin of your face even hours after getting off the water.
How does working for Explore NZ compliment or challenge your racing activities?
Apart from the obvious links with sailing and running boats, Explore NZ has helped me hugely with my sailing career by being a great platform for learning and refining the way you interact with and meet new people in a professional and friendly manner. This helps a lot in the yachting world to find sponsorship and network with owners and other professional yachties.
What is your ultimate career goal?
The ultimate goal, which I share with the majority of sailors, is to compete in and win the Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup!
For more info about Shaun and his team see Full Metal Jacket Racing’s website http://www.fmjracing.com/