Team: Sentient Blue

Country: Spain 🇪🇸

Boat: Alpha (ESP8)

Principal: John Downey

The team was formed to build a smaller wing rig boat called the A+ as a research boat prior to moving forward to a full C Class challenge in 2015. This boat will be launched later this year.

The intention was to observe the Falmouth event, but when Alpha became available and following several seconds of careful consideration, we decided to purchase her. We now find ourselves competing with less than 1 month of preparation!

John Downey

Principal and Sailor

John’s involvement with the C Class goes back to the mid 80’s, when he helped design, build and sail the first British Challenger since the days of Lady Helmsman. This project was ultimately unsuccessful in itself, but inspired Norman Wijker to start Team Invictus, with John as one of the founder members.

Taking part in the revival of the C Class, instigated by Steve Clark in 2004 as a member of Team Invictus and culminating in this event with a new team ‘Sentient Blue’ has been an amazing journey.

Sito Avilés

Designer and Sailor

Sito (38) studied Yacht Design at Southampton and runs a Company in Spain dedicated to design and build boats in advanced composites. He’s been sailing since a child in different boat types, very attracted by high-efficiency boats. First contact with C Class was to watch a detailed picture of the multi-slot Yellow Pages wing on a magazine some 20 years ago, hooked since then…

Saïf-Deen Akanni 

Designer and Aerodynamicist 

Saïf has over twenty years’ experience in the field of fluid dynamics having worked for several teams in motorsports in the Formula 1, and the World Sports Car series. He has also spent a number of years at Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and Airbus. It is at Airbus where he first became involved in C Class with Team Invictus. His attraction to C Class is a natural fit, as he spent many years in the Flight Physics department at Airbus in the wing design group. This nascent effort with John and Sito represents the best chance to date to start on the road to doing something special in the years to come.

Luke Patience

Controls and Helmsman

Luke Patience got the bug for sailing at 7 years old in the west coast of Scotland. By the time he was watching the Olympic Games at Sydney 2000 (12 years old) he knew what route he would take. Addicted to the thought of winning Olympic Medals he chose his path in youth sailing to allow him to end up as a 470 helmsman.

Going full time in the class as soon as possible, he has been sailing the boat since 2005. Last year at the London 2012 Olympics, Luke won a Silver Medal with Stuart Bithell in the 470. He now sails with Joe Glanfield and is campaigning for Rio 2016 Gold.

Extremely excited by the opportunity to sail winged cats, he has joined the team and hopes to be part of the success that may follow and enter the other world of sailing!

Alpha [ESP-8]was built by Fred Eaton’s Team to challenge for the 2007 event, winning the event against Cogito.

She returned in 2010, when she sailed under the Aussie flag, crewed by Glen Ashby and Jimmy Spithill, coming second to Fred Eaton and Magnus Clarke on Canaan.

She was then sold to Team Groupama as their trial boat during the development of their new boat. Now this is completed, Alpha was put on the market…..

She certainly seems to enjoy sailing under different flags and with different owners!