SHOWCASING Jonathan Francis (Class of 2014). Jono was approached by Emirates Team New Zealand in 2019 to be one of their two Sail Makers for the 36th America’s Cup! A fantastic opportunity so early in his career and a chance to be part of this very successful professional sailing team.
Jono's story began when he left HIBS at the end of 2014 for Queensland where he worked for a yacht charter company taking tour groups out sailing on ex-'Around the World' Race yachts.
He was also involved in yacht deliveries from Fiji to Auckland, and regularly crewed with a racing team based out of Sydney. At the end of the year he competed in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Returning to Auckland in 2016 he commenced a three year Sail Making apprenticeship. This included working in the North Sails Loft in Nevada USA, where he was part of the sail making team for the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Auckland, and racing and working in both Europe and Asia. In conjunction with this apprenticeship, Jono also gained a qualification as a PADI Scuba Dive Instructor, and also ran a small business providing marine maintenance and race preparation services to yachts in Auckland.
Yacht racing continues to be a big part of his life. Over the last few years he has competed in Hong Kong and China, Cowes Week, The Heineken Regatta in the
Caribbean, The Fastnet Race, The Round Great Britain and Ireland Race, Australian Etchells Championships, a large number of local coastal races, and a range of other racing on TP52's, Young 88's and Etchells.
Fast forward to now and Jono is thoroughly enjoying working at ETNZ - being at the cutting edge of world sailing, sail design, and technology. We hold our breath for March 2021, when they will compete to retain/defend the America's Cup.
(P.S. Since publishing
, Emirates Team New Zealand did in deed go on to Americas Cup VICTORY!!)