GET TO KNOW: PETER KINNEY

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Hey Peter, What's up?!

Hey there, I've got a little bit of everything going on at the moment. Spending some time at home in Newport just working, a little travel for friends weddings, and just got back from a regatta out in Chicago.

So you’ve come along way since bobbing around Newport Harbor in a Sabot…can you reminisce on those days?

Those days were the best. They usually started with Junior Lifeguards in the morning, then I rode my bike or skateboard down to the yacht club to sail in the afternoons. I had (and still have) a great group of friends that loved to surf, sail, and be outside, so I was always excited to be out on the water each day. As I got older, the racing got a little more serious and I was fortunate enough to be apart of a solid youth program with a really good group of sailors who were all really into the sport. Without that group of friends, I probably wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today, 

Growing up did you think you’d be traveling the World sailing?

Back in my earliest days of being in a sailing program, we would always watch a video of professional sailors racing 18 foot Skiffs in Australia (also known as the Aussie 18). A couple of my buddies and I always loved watching that video, and decided that we were going to get into the Aussie 18's and race them one day. As I entered middle school, I started to play more team sports and do less sailing, so that dream got pushed to the side, and just about completely out of the picture as I focused on playing football in High School. Even after I finished the summer training for the Youth America's Cup in San Francisco, I had no idea or any thought of being able to travel the world and sail. I'm incredibly lucky and fortunate to have been given the opportunities I have. 

Your parents have always been very supportive of your sailing…can you elaborate?

They have always been supportive of just about everything I do or want to do. I couldn't have asked for better parents to be raised by. On top of that, they were also raised near, in and on the water, so it is somewhat genetic! But, at the end of the day, they know that I have some incredible opportunities in front of me that most people never get, so they push me to take advantage of as many of those as possible while I am young.  

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What is your favorite boat to race?

That is a tough question. I've gotten to sail on a lot of different boats and do all different kinds of racing. But I would have to say that racing Marstrom 32 (M32) catamarans is my favorite at the moment. They are relatively simple boats to put together and get ready to race, but they are tricky boats to keep performing at 100%, 100% of the time. These M32's can reach speeds in the low teen's upwind and high 20's downwind, so they are fast and fun. Races are short at about 20 minutes each, so we are able to get a lot of racing in each day. 

Any scary stories from your time on the water?

Fortunately, I haven't been apart of anything too scary on the water or been in dangerous weather. Back in 2013, when my sailing career was just starting, I hurt my hand and smashed up my finger pretty good. It is something that happens in the sport, and I am lucky to still have the ability to sail.

What is your proudest achievement in sailing?

Winning the Melges 32 World Championship with a really good group of sailors/people/friends in 2016. 

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As of late, what has been your main Sailing Focus?

My main focus has been to continue to improve my skills on the water, and to gain as much knowledge from the great coaches and sailors I have been fortunate to work with. There isn't a set rhyme, reason or plan to being a great sailor, but the common denominator is being able to take all of your previous experiences and knowledge, and apply them to the situation at hand.

Many sailors have been known to get a bit wild after winning a regatta or finishing a long crossing…got any good stories?

Haha, maybe...Most of them I can't tell you on the record, but what I can tell you is to watch out for the guy wearing the pancho and sombrero, blowing a whistle and pouring tequila down people's throats at the Office in Cabo.

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What do you do outside of sailing for fun and where’s your happy place?

One of my favorite hobbies ever since I was young has been bodysurfing. It let's me get out in the water, detach from anything extra curricular I have going on, and just focus on riding waves and having fun. Having grown up and lived near the Wedge, bodysurfing there is definitely makes it one of my happy places. The other is Moonstone Cove in Catalina, probably my favorite place on earth.

Okay, last question…what are your goals for the coming year?

I have a handful, but my biggest ones are to, first, win the J/70 World Championship in a year from now, and second, is to be apart of an America's Cup challenger team for the upcoming America's Cup cycle.

Taylor Cotton