Meet Land Rover BAR's Bleddyn Môn
Bleddyn Môn has made a remarkable transition from keen dinghy sailor to America’s Cup campaigner, racing alongside his childhood hero, Sir Ben Ainslie. The young Welshman explains how he got there and why he is grateful to his parents for making sure he went to university.
Sail Racing Magazine: Talk us through your career path from young dinghy sailor in North Wales to becoming a member of Ben Ainslie’s challenge for the America’s Cup.
Bleddyn Môn: I first started sailing competitively at the age of eight in a Mirror; initially it was with my dad and then my brother. At the age of 10, I followed in the footsteps of my two older brothers and moved into a Topper. After a year in the Welsh squad I was selected for the British squad.
I won two national championships, one European championship and finished second at the worlds by the time I came to the end of my junior sailing. At that point I was 15 and I veered away from my brothers’ path of Laser sailing and switched into the 29er. The main reason for this was that at 55kg I was far too light for a Laser Radial!
Sailing the 29er was great fun and massively enhanced my skill set. In my three years of 29er sailing I won two national championships, finished third at the Europeans and was second youth at the Worlds.
After that I did a short stint in the Radial before moving into a 49er and at the same time started at the University of Southampton. Whilst I was a student I helmed the 49er for two years, training alongside the Olympic Development Squad and competing on the European circuit, before spending six months crewing a 470.
Alongside the Olympic class sailing, I received a call from British sailor Leigh McMillan - who was then skipper of the Extreme Sailing Series team ‘The Wave Muscat’ - inviting me to sail with them. I snapped up the offer and competed with them for three events on the circuit in 2012.
The following year I sailed at two further Extreme Sailing Series events with local invitational teams whilst also competing in Etchells and several other IRC boats in the Solent.
In the summer of 2014 I took a year out of University and started a 12-month internship with Red Bull F1 as part of their Aerodynamic Development group. I also bought a Moth which I sailed throughout the year on Grafham Water while I was based in Milton Keynes.
Towards the end of my internship I was approached by the JP Morgan BAR Extreme 40 team - skippered by Ben Ainslie - and completed the second half of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series with them. Sailing with the team in the 40, along with my experience at Red Bull and my degree put me in a strong position... READ THE FULL ARTICLE