“Being outside, being on the water and being powered by the wind, by nature, it’s an incredible feeling.”
Gloucestershire-born Matt Gotrel has spent his entire career on the water.
With two World Championship Gold medals, as well as an Olympic Gold to boot, crammed into three years of Rowing, you’d forgive him if he were to hang up his oars.
However, after claiming six medals between 2014 and 2016, including a gold in the Men’s Eight at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Gotrel is after more success; this time, in the open water.
The 31-year-old is taking part in sailing’s 36th America’s Cup for INEOS TEAM UK. The British challenger must first progress out of the PRADA Cup semi-final, with the winner earning a spot against Emirates Team New Zealand in the March finale.
The America’s Cup is sport’s oldest international trophy, and despite starting with a race around the Isle of Wight in 1851, 170 years ago, Britain has never won it.
Gotrel is a grinder onboard the British boat, BRITANNIA, one of the powerhouses responsible for turning the grinding pedestals to generate as much power as possible to help control the mainsail and headsail.
It’s a physical role, but one Gotrel’s background in rowing has him well-prepared for.
He grew up in Gloucestershire – Chipping Camden to be precise – and found a love of being on water at a young age. Despite not living particularly close to the water, he started sailing aged 8, honing his skills on the lake with his father.
“When I was about 17, in the British Youth Sailing team, I just wanted to go full time sailing and dreamt of going to the Olympic Games one day,” Gotrel explained.
Matt began rowing in his first year at Loughborough University, and quickly found his physique suited the sport. He went on to compete in various European and World Championships, as well as the 2016 Olympics, where he claimed Gold in the Men’s Eight.
Now back in the sailing scene, he’ll be hoping to help Britain to their first-ever America’s Cup title.