Meet Harry Leask and Ryan Todhunter, two new signings to the INEOS Britannia sailing team. For both, this is their debut in the world of professional sailing, as they set their professional careers in Rowing to one side to compete in the Americas Cup.
Tokyo 2020 Silver Medalist, Harry Leask explains how he was first introduced to rowing. “I started rowing by accident. My brother had started rowing and after school I would have to go and wait for my brother to finish rowing to go home. After a few months of doing that, someone said why are you waiting around here? You should just go rowing. I was like no I don’t want to do that. But I got forced into it. And then I really enjoyed it!”
“It went from there I rowed a bit at school and then I moved to a club in Glasgow then I made the big move south. At this point I decided to take rowing seriously and see what I do. So, I was seventeen at that point, I managed to get signed for the worlds for three years and then eventually got into the senior squad in 2018 I got my first international senior medal at the European champs. In 2019 I didn’t really race that much due to injury. Then in 2020 I got selected for Tokyo and de-selected for Tokyo thanks to covid. Got re-selected again! And then went and got silver in Tokyo then the following year I got silver in the world champs and then here we are now.”
Ryan was first introduced to Rowing when he went to watch the rowers in the London 2012 Olympics. “Rowing was the only thing we could get tickets for and I didn’t really know anything about it at the time – but I enjoyed it. Then I saw an article about a rowing course at my uni so I joined that and did a learning to row course. I progressed through that and got offered a scholarship at Durham two years into the sport. So, I did my masters at Durham and then moved to Leander Club, where we won Henley did a world cup for GB and then I moved into the senior squad.”
“It was all pretty quick actually, as I started in 2016 so when I was 21, most people start when they are around 14. If you come from an athletic background rowing is something you can definitely get into, you have to be committed though, it is definitely full on."
Ryan is looking forward to being a part of the team “It meant a lot to me to be selected for the team, to represent my country and getting the opportunity to win the Americas Cup for Great Britain with INEOS Britannia. It is an opportunity that really inspires and motivates me, I think I can add a lot to the team.”
Harry is also excited about this new challenge. "Britain never having won the America's Cup, it is obviously a huge challenge. I am so pleased to be a part of that opportunity to make us win.”
"It will be completely different to rowing. We will all be training remotely, which is hugely different from the centralized rowing program.”
Over the last week Harry and Ryan have been training hard and getting to know the team down in Palma. “It was great to see T6 in action. It is one thing to see it in images, but up close it is twice as impressive. It is easy to think that the process of going sailing is simple, but the amount of crew involved to go sailing is incredible. Everyone has got their specific roles and seeing them come together to get this boat out on the water is awesome.” said Harry after his first experience with T6.
“Getting to know the team down in Palma is really nice because obviously they have got a huge variation of stories and backgrounds as to how they have got to be here and hearing their passion for the Cup is fantastic.”
“Also, a lot of them are really into cycling so they are really interested in our cycling side as cyclors which is nice. I got to go out on the chase boat, it was amazing watching T6 fly. I don’t really know how to describe it. You are in this chase launch getting battered around but T6 is effortlessly flying along it is amazing."