Kiwi offshore star ‘Trae’ joins NZ Extreme Sailing Team
Extreme Sailing Series™ young guns NZ Extreme Sailing Team have further bolstered their squad with the addition of round the world sailor Tony Rae.
Rae, known in the sailing world by his nickname Trae, is one of New Zealand’s most respected and successful yachtsmen with seven America’s Cups and five Volvo Ocean Races to his name.
The 55-year-old has been drafted into NZ Extreme Sailing Team by co-skippers Chris Steele and Graeme Sutherland to pass on his wealth of top level sailing knowledge as they get to grips with their first season in the Extreme Sailing Series.
Fitness fanatic Trae has also been charged with whipping the crew into shape physically with a demanding training schedule to develop the sailors’ strength and agility, vital traits needed to tame the Series’ super-fast foiling GC32 catamarans.
Rae’s signing comes after the rookie crew brought in world famous coach Rod Davis to help develop them into a force to be reckoned with on the global Stadium Racing tour, capable of taking down any of the Series heavyweights.
“The benefit of New Zealand is it’s such a resource of top sailors,” said Sutherland. “Guys of Trae’s and Rod’s generation are so enthusiastic about helping out the youth and always have so much time for the young guys.
“Trae was talking with Mike Mahoney, our principal backer, over a rum and when he heard what we were doing he asked how he could get involved.
“I jumped at the chance to bring Trae on board the team – he’s an awesome guy to get on the team.
“He’s a great advisor, helping us to give the programme some long-term vision and structure.
“Fitness-wise he’s a machine – you’ve got to admire the guy for that. We’re really happy to have him on board.”
Rae will make his debut with the team as the Extreme Sailing Series heads to Europe.
Initially he will coach the team from the support boat but there’s a chance he could step on board the foiling GC32 later in the season.
Steele said: “We’re so early in our development as a team and we understand that it’s not about trying to perform at every single event, it’s about getting better as a team and setting the bar as high as possible.
“Any involvement from the likes of Rod and Tony is massive for us young guys who are pretty new to this kind of thing. Their involvement is only going to bring good things I’m sure,” added Steele.
“This is the start of an exciting new team out of New Zealand and credit to Mike Mahoney for making this happen. I am happy to be involved and to help in any way I can,” said Rae. “These are smart young sailors and for myself and Rod it’s more about hopefully steering them in the right direction and at different times bringing in expertise in different areas to help these guys win regattas.
“I really hope I can pass on some of my experience to let this team grow and be successful. As we all now, there’s a lot more to these programs than just sailing the boat. They all have a great future which is exciting.”