Exclusive Talk To Stu Bannatyne, One Of The World’s Best Sailors, About Music And Life


Stu Bannatyne portrait. Dongfeng Race Team.  Photo by Jen Edney/Volvo Ocean Race. 24 November, 2017.
Photo by Jen Edney/Volvo Ocean Race

We spoke exclusively this week to Legendary New Zealand sailor Stu Bannatyne, dubbed the ‘King of the Southern Ocean’ who has spent a major part of the last two decades racing through that area of the world.

He is what I would descibe as the “Roger Federer” of Round the world Sailing.

He has competed in seven Volvo Ocean Races.

Bannatyne won the Volvo Ocean Race (then known as the Whitbread Round the World Race) in his first attempt, when he sailed on NZ Endeavour during the 1993–94 Whitbread Round the World Race.

He has also sailed in eight Fastnet Races, three Transpacific Yacht Races and in 11 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Races.

He admits that he’s addicted to the pull of the most remote areas of the planet.

I caught up with him this week in Cape Town on board the race yacht –Dongfeng Racing prior to departure to talk music.

You are from New Zealand so which band do you love is it:  Crowded House or Split Enz or Super Groove? 

Split Enz for sure. 

Split Enz was a rock band from New Zealand that was popular during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was founded 1973 by Tim Finn and Phil Judd.

I love songs like “I Got You” a number one hit for them, “One Step Ahead”, “History Never Repeats”, and “Six Months in a Leaky Boat”. Hopefully that won’t happen on leg three to Melbourne .In fact you will be reading this while we are deep in the Southern ocean on the way to Melbourne .It should take 18 days.

Leg 2. Arrivals from Lisbon to Cape Town. Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race. 24 November, 2017.
Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

When are you happiest?

I am happiest when spending time with my family 

What does sailing mean to you?

It is my whole world. 

Any funny moments on a Volvo65?

There are many funny moments and there are a lot of funny moments that I probably can’t or won’t tell you about either. 

Do you play music on board – what is on the play list?

No I don’t listen to music. If I did have a playlist though it would be George Thorogood for getting amped up. “Bad to the bone” for example is good to get you fired up if you need it.

Your heroes?

Don’t really have heroes as such but through sailing I certainly admire people like Peter Blake for what he has achieved in the sport. More recently I am a big fan of Peter Burling too. 

Which living person do you admire most and why?

My wife, definitely! She runs our household and our family when I am away (which is a lot!) and works full time as well. She is just an amazing person. 

What is your most treasured possession?

Not sure if it really counts as a possession but my family, for sure! Other than that, I am quite fond of my tractor. I got a tractor earlier this year to get on top of looking after the grass and doing a few odd jobs at home. 

What makes you stand out?

Normally my height makes me stand out. In terms of sailing, it would probably be my even temperament. 

If you were not a sailor what would you do?

I would probably be an engineer working in the marine industry. 

Pick five words to describe yourself?

Level headed, conservative (sometimes), family man – technically five words? 

5 favorite albums of all time 

So you want to be a rock and roll star –The Byrds

Back in Black  – AC/DC

The Wall  – Pink Floyd

Split Enz Greatest Hits for sure. 

Greatest Movie Ever Made?

Top Gun starring Tom Cruise

Who do you love?

Family of course! 

What is your favorite word?

I have never thought about that one. I wouldn’t have a clue! 

Your greatest achievement?

My family.

What is your fear?

Losing someone close to me.

Happiness is?

Spending time with the family. 

Whilst racing I tend to?

Focus pretty hard on just the racing. Nothing else. 

The best life lesson you have been taught

It is not a life lesson as such but just live by morals and standards that you believe in.

Where would you like to be right now?

There is nowhere else I would rather be than here. 

Leg 02, Lisbon to Cape Town, day 09, afternoon on board Dongfeng. fish eye shots. Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race. 13 November, 2017.
Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race.

Social media links

Website : https://www.dongfengraceteam.cn

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/DongfengRaceTeam

Twitter : https://twitter.com/DongfengRacing

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