Sailor of the Week: April 1 -7
In January, offshore sailing guru John Kilroy (Los Angeles, Calif.) added another feather to his cap when his Samba Pa Ti team won the 2010 Key West Race Week Melges 32 Championship. Following John’s unprecedented 18-point win, Samba Pa Ti was named Boat of the Week, a prestigious award presented at Key West Race Week.
John appreciates the challenges of sailing a Melges 32 against elite competition. “This fleet is a little like the game Chutes and Ladders,” mentioned John. “It’s hard to win and really easy for a good team to do poorly. It’s a real tribute to this class and to the competition that you can never take anything for granted.”
John looks forward to competing at the Melges 32 World Championships (July 30 – Aug. 1) in one of his favorite cities – San Francisco. He met his wife, Catherine, in San Francisco after winning the Farr 40 World Championship in 1999. They have a home there and sail for St. Francis Yacht Club. “San Francisco has a great place in my heart,” added John. “We’ve done very well there over the years. It’s an ideal venue for the Melges 32 fleet with lots of breeze and lots of energy.” He also looks forward to competing at the Melges 32 European Championships and Melges 32 National Championships.
John’s success on the water includes inshore and offshore racing. At the 2009 Transpac Ocean Race, his team placed first to finish, first place in division one and first overall. John has also won the World Maxi Award on numerous occasions while setting many records in the process. Beyond 2011, he plans to make another run at the Sydney-Hobart, Fastnet, Pineapple Cup, and Transpac races with a new ocean racer.
Recently, John and Catherine donated their Transpac 52 to the US Naval Academy. John realized that he wouldn’t be sailing his 52’ much in 2010 and possibly into 2011. “What better way to give something back to the sport and to the people of the military than to donate a world class racer at the top of its game to the Naval Academy,” explained John.
John started sailing at the age of three with his father, Jim Kilroy, aboard his various boats in Newport Beach, Calif. John’s sister, Trice, is a standout sailor and her daughter, Jamie Haines, was a member of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. Catherine was captain of the sailing team at Brown University. Their 9-year-old, Chloë, and their 6-year-old, Liam are both active Opti sailors.
“Sailing is an endeavor that teaches you a lot about yourself, teamwork, goals, setbacks and how to move forward,” added John. “It’s a sport that really mimics life.”