Meet Bleddyn Môn…
When Sir Ben Ainslie needed a mentor to lead a squad of talented young sailors in the Extreme Sailing Series™, the four-time Olympic gold medallist turned to his most trusted sailing team members.
Top of the list was Welshman Bleddyn Môn, a youthful but experienced member of Ainslie’s senior America’s Cup crew, who was duly charged with nurturing Land Rover BAR’s Academy team through the thrills and spills of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series.
Môn is just 24 years old but is no stranger to the Series – he made his first appearance as part of Leigh McMillan’s The Wave, Muscat crew in 2012 before joining Ainslie’s own J.P. Morgan BAR in 2014, all the while studying at university.
His sailing CV is further packed with impressive accolades including world and European silver medals and two national titles in the 29er dinghy class, two national wins in the Topper and even a national win in the Etchells keelboat fleet in 2014.
“I started sailing when I was about six or seven years old in Anglesey in North Wales and then from there things escalated a little bit,” Môn said. “I sailed Toppers and Mirrors and went up through the RYA programme. I did some 29er sailing and then moved into the Olympic 470s and 49ers.”
Môn was training with the British Olympic sailing squad when he got a call from Extreme Sailing Series legend Leigh McMillan. “I was lucky enough to be called up by Leigh to sail on the Extreme 40 with him back in 2012 and then that rolled into other stuff,” he said.
That ‘other stuff’ turned out to be his big break, when Ainslie called him into his elite squad of sailors in a bid to win the America’s Cup for Britain for the first time ever.
The perfect blend of athleticism, enthusiasm and raw talent, Môn was then chosen as the perfect candidate to lead Land Rover BAR’s Academy crew as they attempted to take on the world’s best in the Extreme Sailing Series.
Môn was partnered with McMillan, the Academy team’s helmsman, to foster Land Rover BAR’s handpicked young talent and develop them into top class sportsmen.
“We’re here as mentors to the youth we have so I guess my role fits in as skipper because I’m the youngest of the senior members,” Môn said. “It’s great to have a young British team and we’re obviously always learning at the moment – the boats are new, the team is new – but it’s very exciting.”
The shift from Extreme 40 catamarans to the GC32 provides Land Rover BAR with the perfect opportunity to get their sailors up to speed with the new foiling generation. And Môn will be looking to make the most of a home advantage when the Extreme Sailing Series resumes next month in Cardiff for Act 3. “I’ve sailed there on the Extreme Sailing Series three times previously and it’s a great Stadium venue,” he said. “Sailing inside Cardiff Bay, with all the crowds lining the shore, is an absolute buzz. In these new foiling boats it’s going to be very interesting indeed. We’re really looking forward to going there.”