Talent, passion, ability, success. All qualities that spring to mind with regard to Luke Patience, the 28 year old 470 Class silver medallist from London 2012. SSL is delighted to announce that Luke has now accepted the Star Sailors League invitation to participate in our 2014 Finals, becoming the second UK special guest star, alongside newly-crowned Finn World Champion Giles Scott.
His mission is an important one: to tackle a top-flight international regatta (Nassau, the Bahamas, December 2nd to 7th) which will give the winner the highest points of all. In fact, the skipper and bowman that top the rankings, as happened to Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada almost a year ago, will be awarded 4,000 ranking points in the Star Sailors League. They will also take home the biggest slice of the $200,000 prize money to be split between the 20 teams competing.
Luke has devoted most of his career to the 470, one of the toughest and most competitive classes of all: â€œI have just finished my 9th season competing in the 470 class. The boat has been difficult to master and the Olympic Games have always been the focus for me. In London 2012, I won a silver medal in the class with team-mate Stuart Bithell. I now sail with another good friend, Elliot Willis, in a bid to take home a gold medal in Rio 2016. We have been working hard since London to become the best we can be, come August 2016. Although 9 years in, I learn so much everyday about the 470. Itâ€™s a truly wonderful boat to sail and very rewarding due to how difficult it is to master. I never get bored of the class and I hope to sail it for many more years to come!â€
A fiercely competitive instinct is one of Patienceâ€™s greatest strengths: â€œI am never satisfied and I always want to better everything I do. I don’t know where the sport will take me next, but what I do want is an Olympic gold medal. And I hope that medal represents how hard we wanted the outcome and how hard we worked for it. For now, my sights are set on Rio, and I have so much unfinished business hereâ€¦”
Patienceâ€™s phone is constantly ringing and so heâ€™s keeping a close eye on all the top sailing events: â€œI would love to be part of an Americaâ€™s Cup team one day and help the cause to win the trophy. Alongside the 470, I am also part of a C-Class catamaran team that sail with foils and wing sails. Very much like mini AC boats. I am the skipper for the team, Sentient Blue. I hope these skills will support me as the sport changes ever more towards this style. The Volvo Ocean Race really interests me too. The thought of being cold/wet/tired and having to pull together with all your mates onboard to squeeze out any bit of fear, and all the boat speed you can sounds awesome!”
He is thrilled with this surprise invitation from the Star Sailors League because it will give him the chance to pit himself against some very big names, not least his old pal Giles: â€œBeing asked to sail at the SSL was a shock! Obviously being a 470 helm, I am not very big so I did not expect it. However, it is still just a boat with two sails and foils so I hope I can find its sweet spot and go quick. I will need a big guy helping me out along the way. I am really excited to race. There are some great people coming to compete and I am honoured to race them. I am good friends with Giles Scott and we spend a lot of time together so it will be great to get a chance to race him. Being so small I think I might have a hard time, but I hope perhaps in the downwinds there might be some metres to gain back if thereâ€™s is some steering to do in the waves – I love that”.