All you need to know about Debrett's 7 most influential sailors

Sir Ben Ainslie, CBE

Who: British sailor and found of America’s Cup team Land Rover BAR

Yachting connection: The most successful Olympic sailor in history

Need to know: Ainslie discovered sailing on a family holiday in Cornwall aged 8 and won his first Olympic sailing medal at 19. He went on to win medals in five consecutive Olympic Games and is now leading his own team into what he hopes will be America’s Cup victory.

However, it has not all been plain sailing for the Boat International contributor. During his honeymoon in 2015 Ainslie and his new wife Georgie Thompson were forced to call on Richard Branson for aid after the mainsail furling unit broke on his yacht close to Necker Island.

Lewis Hamilton, MBE

Who: Formula 1 racing driver

Yachting connection: Serial charterer

Need to know: Perhaps it is no surprise that a man whose talents are best showcased at the Monaco Grand Prix should be seduced by the luxury yachting lifestyle. British F1 champion Lewis Hamilton is rarely off a superyacht during the summer months and is certainly one of the most prolific sports stars spotted on luxury yacht vacations. In 2015 alone he joined Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid on board Axioma before hopping on to Amadeus as a guest of Magic Johnson in the Med and enjoyed numerous yacht trips while holidaying in Barbados.

Dame Zaha Hadid, DBE

Who: Architect and designer

Yachting connection: Designer of the Unique Circle Yachts concept line

Need to know: Renowned Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid has been responsible for some of the world’s most iconic buildings, including the Serpentine Pavilion, London Aquatics Centre and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Stadium, which is currently in build. However, it was her work with Blohm + Voss on inspiring yacht concept Unique Circle Yachts which really brought her to the attention of the yachting community. Unveiled in 2013, the five yachts ranging from 90–128 metres were unlike anything seen before.

Sir Richard Branson

Who: Entrepreneur and philanthropist

Yachting connection: Owner of 32 metre catamaran Necker Belle

Need to know: Along with Roman Abramovich and Paul Allen, Richard Branson is undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous superyacht owners. However, unlike his more secretive counterparts, Branson’s CMN yacht Necker Belle is available year-round for charter for up to 12 guests and is often used by those staying on Branson’s private Caribbean island Necker Island. Recently offered for sale, Necker Belle is now also available to those wishing to invest in part of Branson’s luxury lifestyle permanently.

Nick Rogers

Who: Director of group engineering at Jaguar Land Rover

Yachting connection: Oversees Land Rover partnership with BAR America’s Cup team

Need to know: Rogers has worked for Jaguar Land Rover for over 30 years, working his way up from technician apprentice to the top spot as director of group engineering. Although his background is mostly in vehicles — he helped develop the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport lines — his job will also require him to oversee Land Rover’s partnership with Team BAR during the America’s Cup with the hope of using the company’s technical expertise to take the British team to victory.

HRH The Duchess Catherine of Cambridge

Who: Member of the British royal family

Yachting connection: Patron of the 1851 Trust

Need to know:  The Duchess of Cambridge (AKA Kate Middleton) is famously a fan of sailing and, alongside chartering a luxury yacht in the Seychelles for part of her honeymoon and becoming a fashion icon for her nautical outfits, she is often found challenging her husband Prince William to boat races during official state visits.

The Duchess of Cambridge recently renewed her commitment to sailing by becoming a patron of the 1851 Trust, the official charity of Land Rover BAR. The Trust, which is also supported by Sir Richard Ottaway MP, yacht owner and philanthropist Wendy Schmidt and Sir Keith Mills, aims to allow children in deprived or hard-to-reach areas access to sailing and inspire a new generation of yacht lovers.

J. K. Rowling

Who: Author

Yachting connection: Owner of Amphitrite

Need to know: What do you do when you’ve earned millions creating what is possibly the most popular children’s book series of all time? Buy a superyacht of course. Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling recently joined the superyacht set when she reportedly bought modern classic yacht Amphitrite from fellow celebrity sailor Johnny Depp in January 2016.

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