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Dennis Conner (born September 16, 1942) is a famous racing skipper, with a bronze medal in the 1976 Olympics, four wins of the America's Cup, many offshore prizes, and two Star World Championships. He is known as "Mr. America's Cup"

America's Cup

Conner successfully defended the America's Cup in 1974, 1980, 1987marker and in the 1988 America's Cup, but he was also the first man to unsuccessfully defend 'the cup' for the NYYCmarker in its 132 year history, losing in 1983 to Alan Bond's challenger Australia II 4 races to 3. Conner won the cup back in 1987, retaining the United States' (diluted) claim as the only sucessful defending 'country' in the Cup's now 135 year history.

The Big Boat Challenge - And the Beginning of Multihulls in America's Cup

After taking the cup back to American soil, this time for the San Diego Yacht Clubmarker in 1987, Conner defeated a controversial challenge by a New Zealand team fielding a 90' super-sloop (KZ1), by fielding a catameran in a surprise defence; the use of a catameran earned Conner the nickname "Dirty Dennis" to the New Zealand team, due to the unfairly matched contest that Stars & Stripes won in a white wash; but his innovative response to the short notice challenge was perhaps years ahead of its time - with the modern, and again controversial 33rd Americas cup being contested in enormous multihulls in February 2010; while returning to the pre-war style of exclusive, billionare backed campaigns of Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing.

Leadership and Management

Conner was also the defender in 1995 when 'the cup' was again taken outside the United States for the second of two occasions Americans have "lost" 'the auld mug' - this time to New Zealand.From 1987 through to 2003, Conner was skipper of the celebrated Stars & Stripes boats. Within the Yachting community, Conner is most famous for fundamentally changing the America's Cup, and racing in general, from an amateur to professional status. These accomplishments led to the nickname "Mister America's Cup".

Before the 1980s, America's Cup competitors were mostly volunteers who took time off to compete. Mr. Conner insisted on year round training with a new focus on physical fitness and on-the-water practice. This change in approach led to a return to professional crews in sailing, which had hardly been seen since the 1930s.

Funding and Setbacks

Conner was a rare non-billionaire fielding a team to compete in the 2003 America's Cup, held in New Zealandmarker, receiving funding of up to USD $40 million from his sponsors. His syndicate, Stars & Stripes, suffered a severe setback before they departed California when one of the two Stars & Stripes boats (USA-77) sank when its rudder post failed during training. Raised from 55 feet of water and eventually repaired, they were unable to recover the valuable testing time lost and they were defeated in the quarter-finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup. 2003 marked Conner's last participation in the America's Cup.

Professional Experience

  • North Cove Marina, Battery Park, New York City, New York
Business Owner: 2007 - PresentGuest marina in the financial district of New York City, services include three 53-foot Sloops for Corporate Team Building.

  • Dennis Conner America's Cup Experience
Business Owner: 2007 - PresentFleet of three vessels, offers corporate sailing ventures for social and educational voyages. Expeditions vary from whale watching to yachting aboard The America, a replica of the first winner of the America's Cup Race won in 1851.

  • Team Dennis Conner: America's Cup Sailing
Owner and Chief Executive Officer: 1985 - Present

  • Dennis Conner Sports
Business Owner: 1983 - Present

  • San Diego Yacht Club
Board of Directors: 1977 - 1984Commodore: 1984

  • Retail and Manufacturing: Vera's Draperies, Carpet and Drapery Manufactory
Owner: 1965 - 1983

Yachting Accomplishments

  • 4 time winner, America's Cup Race, 1974, 1980, 1987 and 1988
  • Inductee, America's Cup Hall of Fame
  • Captain, two Whitbread Round-the-World races (see Volvo Ocean Race
  • 28 World Championships
  • Four-time winner, U.S. Yachtsman of the Year
  • Seven-time winner, San Diego Yachtsman of the Year
  • Olympic Bronze Medal winner, 1976
  • 4 Southern Ocean Racing Cups
  • 2 Congressional Cups
  • 1987 ABC Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year
  • U.S. Sailing Hall of Fame
  • Maxi yacht racing, including Condor

Honors and Activities

  • Commencement Speaker, United States Naval Academy
  • Cover, Time Magazine, February 9, 1987 [24828]
  • Cover Sports Illustrated with President Ronald Reagan, February 1987 [24829]
  • Artist, Sales of artwork in the several millions of dollars
  • Motivational Speaker
  • Member of the San Diego Yacht Clubmarker, New York Yacht Clubmarker, Yacht Club de Monaco in Monaco
  • San Diego Rotary


  • Honorary Doctorate, Green Mountain College, 1987
  • Honorary Doctorate, Medical College, University of South Carolina, 1987
  • San Diego State University


  • No Excuse to Lose, 1987
  • Comeback: My Race for the America's Cup, 1987
  • The Art of Winning, 1990
  • Sail Like a Champion, 1992
  • America's Cup Cookbook, 1992
  • Life's Winning Tips, 1997
  • The America's Cup: The History of Sailings Greatest Competition in the Twentieth Century, 1998
  • Learn to Sail: A Beginner's Guide to the Art, Equipment and Language of Sailing on a Lake or Ocean, 1998
  • 3 Volumes, Stars and Stripes



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