For those who have sailed from childhood, like American Jesse Fielding, dreams of Olympic glory aren’t always forthcoming.
Growing up in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, Fielding fell in love with sailing from a young age and started to gain offshore experience in the Newport Bermuda race, naturally a popular event for sailors in the area.
But with the addition of the Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat Event at Paris 2024, Fielding is now daring to dream of that Olympic medal.
He’s teamed up with two-time Olympian Francesca Clapcich to form State Street Marathon Sailing Team, with the aim of qualifying the USA for the Games and, potentially, aiming for the podium.
And that passion for sailing that started as a 13 year old is something which still very much spurs him on to this day.
“For me, offshore sailing has been an adventure since I was 13 years old and my parents kicked me off the beach in a Sunfish by myself: lifejacket, water bottle, and a mission to come back before dinner was all I had,” Fielding said.
“I fell in love that day and I haven’t looked back since, really.
“I’ve been really lucky to cross some of the world’s oceans and sail with some great teams and some incredible sailors that I’ve always tried to learn as much as I can from.
“I just always remember that day when I was 13 and thinking I just want to cross oceans for the rest of my life and spend as much time as I can on the ocean.
“I’m really fortunate that growing up and sailing small boats, I met older sailors that passed on a tradition of ocean racing and ocean sailing to me and a lot of sailors my age.
“Now I’m lucky enough to be able to participate in a lot of double handed sailing adventures with State Street Marathon Sailing as a co skipper.”
Thoroughly enjoying the challenge of double handed sailing, Fielding has 2024 in his sights as both he and Clapcich continue their quest to improve as sailors and gain as much experience as they are able to before then.
“I think double handed sailing is the fastest-growing part of the sport right now for a host of reasons – the first being that it’s simple, good, clean fun,” he explained.
“It is much easier to get two people off a dock than 20, and at the end of the day, it’s you, your partner and the ocean, and that provides all the challenge we’ve ever needed as sailors.
“[Double handed sailing at Paris 2024] a really exciting proposition and it’s going to be an exciting race, there’s no doubt about that.
“Over the last year I’ve fallen in love with offshore sailing in the double handed format.
“I’ve always loved ocean racing and coastal racing, it’s always been really exciting for me to go point to point, change sails and try to figure out the answer to each small problem in the race.
“Being able to compete on a world stage for an Olympic medal in that genre, if one was so lucky to do so, is just an incredible opportunity for the sport and for lots of sailors that enjoy this discipline.
“Here at State Street Marathon Sailing, Francesca and I are really looking forward to 2021 and all the challenges that a new year brings.
“We’re super fortunate to have launched our team in 2020, and we are really looking forward to continuing sailing our Beneteau Figaro 3s and hopefully doing some sailing in-class in Europe.
“Another year brings a lot of opportunity and we’re excited for it.”