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Dennis Conner, often referred to as Mr. America's Cup, is one of the world's most famous and successful racing sailors, having competed and been successful in Olympic events, the America's Cup, many different offshore races, and having won the Star Worlds on two occasions - once winning every race.
Conner won the America's Cup four times, in 1974, 1980, 1987 and 1988, but was also the first man to ever lose the famed cup to a challenger, Alan Bond's Australia II in 1983 (the America's Cup always previously being won by the American team defending the Cup for the New York Yacht Club), as well as the first man to lose it twice. The first loss and subsequent win allowed Conner to claim the Cup for his home yacht club, the San Diego Yacht Club.
From 1987 through to 2003 Conner was skipper of the legendary Stars & Stripes boats. He also owns a shop, named Team Dennis Conner Team Shop. 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. Before the 1980 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.
Dennis Conner co-authored "The America's Cup: The History of Sailing's Greatest Competition in the Twentieth Century".
He is the author of "Learn to Sail", "No Excuse To Lose", "Comeback", "The Art of Winning", "The Official Record of Stars & Stripes 1987", "The Official Record of Stars & Stripes 1988", "The Official Record of Stars & Stripes 1992", "Sail Like a Champion" and "Life's Winning Tips".
Sponsored by software company Computer Associates among others, Conner was a rare non-billionaire fielding a team to compete in the 2003 America's Cup, held in New Zealand, 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.