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Debating with your friends who’s the best Sailing coach?

Rod Davis, Grant Simmer or Russell Coutts?

Here is our list of the best Sailing coaches of all time.

Do you agree with our picks?

Best Sailing Coaches:

  1. Rod Davis
  2. Grant Simmer
  3. Russell Coutts
  4. Iain Percy
  5. Ian Walker
  6. Tom Whidden
  7. Peter Gilmour
  8. Glenn Bourke
  9. Torben Grael
  10. Dennis Conner
  11. John Bertrand

#1 Rod Davis

  • 🌐 Nationality: American-New Zealander

Rod Davis is recognized for his impressive dual career as both a sailor and sailing coach. As a competitor, Davis has succeeded in multiple sailing classes, including the Olympics.

His coaching career has been marked by a commitment to developing sailors and contributing to teams that are competitive on the international stage, fostering teamwork and imparting his extensive knowledge of the sport.

Although specific achievements, years active, and teams coached cannot be stated definitively without further information, Davis’s commitment to the sport is echoed by the talent and competitiveness of the sailors he mentors.

#2 Grant Simmer

  • 🏆 Achievements: Multiple America’s Cup victories
  • 🌐 Nationality: Australian

Grant Simmer has an extensive career in competitive sailing, with several America’s Cup victories under his belt. He is widely respected and has leveraged his experience as a sailor to excel in coaching and management within the sport.

As a coach, his keen understanding of the technical and strategic aspects of sailing, combined with his hands-on experience, has contributed to the success of countless teams and individual sailors.

Simmer’s insight into the nuances of America’s Cup racing makes him a valuable asset to any sailing team looking to perform at the highest levels of the sport.

#3 Russell Coutts

  • 🏆 Achievements: Multiple America’s Cup wins
  • 🌐 Nationality: New Zealander

Russell Coutts stands as a legend in the realm of sailing, with multiple America’s Cup wins both as a skipper and executive. His reputation in the sport is unparalleled, with achievements that cement his status as one of the greatest sailors in history.

Transitioning into a role beyond competing, Coutts has applied his wealth of knowledge to coaching, supporting teams to achieve competitive excellence, and pushing the boundaries of the sport.

While specific years and teams coached are unavailable in this context, his influence and contributions to the sport as a mentor and leader are evident through the continued success and innovation of the sailors and teams he has been associated with.

#4 Iain Percy

  • 🏆 Achievements: Olympic medals
  • 👕 Teams Coached: Artemis Racing
  • 🌐 Nationality: British

Iain Percy is a celebrated Olympic sailor, known for securing multiple medals in his athletic career. His commitment to excellence on the water has served as a sturdy foundation for his transition into coaching.

As a coach, Percy has been affiliated with Artemis Racing, where he has contributed to the team’s development and successes. His expertise, competitive spirit and ability to lead have been invaluable to his sailors.

Percy’s contributions to sailing extend beyond his own achievements; his dedication to coaching the next generation of sailors ensures the sport’s continued growth and the cultivation of new talent.

#5 Ian Walker

  • 🏆 Achievements: Olympic medals, Volvo Ocean Race victory
  • 👕 Teams Coached: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
  • 🌐 Nationality: British

Ian Walker has made a name for himself not only as an Olympic medalist but also as a successful coach, leading teams such as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing to victory in events like the Volvo Ocean Race.

His coaching approach is characterized by a robust blend of leadership, strategic planning, and fostering a culture of resilience and teamwork among his sailors.

His ability to translate his extensive experience into actionable advice for his teams has made him a sought-after figure in the world of sailing coaching.

#6 Tom Whidden

  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Tom Whidden is highly regarded in the sailing community for his experience and success in the sport.

While detailed achievements as a coach are not readily available, Whidden’s expertise in the industry is well-documented through his tenure in prominent roles.

His contribution to sailing transcends competition, as Whidden has played a significant part in coaching and mentoring sailors, through which he shares his vast knowledge and passion for maritime excellence.

#7 Peter Gilmour

  • 🏆 Achievements: Multiple match racing titles
  • 🌐 Nationality: Australian

Peter Gilmour has secured his legacy within the world of sailing as a multi-time match racing champion. His analytical approach to sailing strategy and tactics has placed him among the greats of the sport.

In his capacity as a coach, Gilmour has imparted his extensive match racing wisdom upon the teams and individuals he has mentored, enriching their skillsets and competitive mindset.

Though the specific details of his coaching career are not provided here, his impact on sailing as a strategist and educator is notable and contributes significantly to the sport’s development.

#8 Glenn Bourke

  • 🌐 Nationality: Australian

Glenn Bourke’s insights and experiences as a successful sailor have undoubtedly influenced his approach to coaching.

His exact coaching achievements are not specified here; however, his reputation in the sailing world is well established.

Bourke’s commitment to the sport, through whatever contributions he has made in coaching, showcases his dedication to fostering talent and promoting sailing excellence.

#9 Torben Grael

  • 🏆 Achievements: Olympic medals, Volvo Ocean Race victory
  • 🌐 Nationality: Brazilian

Torben Grael, an iconic figure in sailing, boasts multiple Olympic medals and a Volvo Ocean Race victory, attesting to his sailing prowess and deep understanding of the sport.

His transition into coaching was a natural progression, wherein he puts his experience to work by guiding teams and sailors to achieve their full potential.

Though this entry lacks specifics about teams coached or active years, Grael’s reputation as a skilled coach is secured through the achievements and improvements seen by those who have had the opportunity to learn from him.

#10 Dennis Conner

  • 🏆 Achievements: Four-time America’s Cup winner
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Dennis Conner is known predominantly for his successful sailing career, which includes four America’s Cup victories.

His involvement in sailing goes beyond competition, assuming coaching roles where he applies his extensive knowledge and experience in the sport.

Conner’s contributions as a coach, although not detailed in this entry, have undeniably had a significant impact on American sailing and the careers of many sailors influenced by his expertise.

#11 John Bertrand

  • 🏆 Achievements: America’s Cup victory
  • 🌐 Nationality: Australian

John Bertrand is celebrated for his historic America’s Cup victory, forever etched into the annals of sailing history.

While his coaching specifics may not be outlined, the strategic and psychological edge that Bertrand demonstrated as a competitor has undoubtedly permeated his coaching philosophy, influencing those he advises.

Bertrand’s legacy in sailing is not only based on his victory as a sailor but also on his potential contributions to the sport through his acumen as a sailing coach, shaping the next generation of champions.


Who is the greatest sailing coach of all time?

Victor Kovalenko is often considered the greatest sailing coach, having led teams to multiple Olympic medals.

Who was the most successful sailing coach?

Victor Kovalenko is the most successful sailing coach, renowned for guiding athletes to 10 Olympic medals, including six golds.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning ‘real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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