Meet Canada SailGP founder Fred Pye a man on a mission to reinvigorate the sport of sailing in his home country using the same disruptive strategies that have served him so well in business.
Let’s start with an obvious question: How did you end up owning a SailGP team?
I pretty much came up backwards. I had started to create a one-man inspire team in Canada by donating Waszps to some of the sailing clubs to get younger kids up and foiling – because that’s the future of sailing.
Tyler Bjorn – one of our Canadian Olympians – was responsible for running the boats and teaching the kids. He said to me: You are doing exactly what SailGP does with their Inspire Programme. To which I replied: What’s SailGP?
So of course, then I binged watched SailGP and realised that it matched my passion and that I was built to be involved in it.
This is the legacy we hope to leave Canada.
How did you go about getting involved with the SailGP organisation?
I was introduced to them and I went to the SailGP event in Plymouth in the UK and I found the whole organisation was very warm and open. We spent a lot of time discussing where SailGP wanted to go in the future.
They were talking about franchising off the ownership of the teams and that resonated with me as I have been a lifelong entrepreneur. The way I look at it is that SailGP is using technology to disrupt the sailing world and my businesses use technology to disrupt the financial world. So we both have shared objectives.
Apart from that, our personal beliefs were aligned too: helping the environment, saving the planet, it’s inclusion, it’s diversity – you know they were really singing my song.
Tell me about your sailing background.
I grew up as a sailor. I sailed three world championships and won numerous national and regional championships. My father was English and we had a Flying Junior which was all wooden. From when I was four years old he would make me sand the boat every Spring and if I did a good job I was allowed to sail on it.
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