Biography

DENNIS CONNER, an American Yachtsman

From the day of Dennis's birth in San Diego California on September 16, 1942, his whole life has revolved around the water. He was born just one block from the San Diego yacht club and his father, a fisherman, was based just two blocks away. He began sailing at a very young age. He was a likable youngster, which gained him the fortune of being mentored by many of the local yachting heroes. He sailed in his free time and attended public schools. Dennis went on to study at San Diego State University.

Dennis is best known for his participation in the America’s Cup. He competed in 1974, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1995, 2000 and 2003. He has won the cup four times and lost it twice. Because of his 30 years of America’s Cup experience he is known to many as ‘Mr. America’s Cup’. He is the only person to be pictured on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the President of The United States, Ronald Regan (February 1987 issue). Conner was also pictured on the cover of Time Magazine (Feb. 9, 1987).

While he has achieved great feats with the America’s Cup, Dennis is also regarded as one of the best all-around sailors on the water. He has filled every position from bowman to helmsman and has competed in all sizes of boats, from the smallest one man dinghies, through two man Olympic classes to the largest ocean racing Maxi-Yachts.

Below is a list of Dennis’s most notable sailing accomplishments:
  • Four time winner, America’s Cup; 1974, 1980, 1987, 1988
  • 28 World Championships
  • Olympic Bronze Medal winner, 1976
  • 4 Southern Ocean Racing Cups
  • 2 Congressional Cups
  • Maxi-Yacht racing, including “Condor”
  • Captain, two Whitbread Round–the-World races (now the Volvo Ocean Race).
  • 1987 ABC Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year
  • Seven time winner, San Diego Yachtsman of the Year
  • Three time winner, U.S. Yachtsman of the Year; 1975, 1980, 1986
  • Inductee, America’s Cup Hall of Fame
  • Inductee, U.S. Sailing Hall of Fame
Conner served on the board of directors at the San Diego Yacht Club. In 1985, after 9 years on the board, Dennis was elected Commodore. He is currently a member of the San Diego Yacht Club, Silvergate Yacht Club, Southwestern Yacht Club, Cortez Racing Association, The New York Yacht Club, The Yacht Club de Monaco and the San Diego Rotary. As a noted motivational speaker, he has given the commencement address at the United States Naval Academy. Dennis Conner is still very active in the sailing community, putting on and speaking at fund raisers for good causes, as well as racing yachts almost every weekend.

Along with being a sailor, Dennis is a renowned artist. He has created and sold several million dollars worth of art, currently on display in various galleries around the world. While many people would find a life of sailing and painting to be enough, Dennis went a step farther, writing many books on Sailing and on Winning. Below is a list of his most notable:
  • No Excuse To Lose (1987)
  • Comeback, My Race for the America’s Cup (1987)
  • The Art Of Winning (1990)
  • Sail Like a Champion (1992)
  • America’s Cup Cookbook (1992)
  • Life’s Winning Tips (1987)
  • The America’s Cup (1998)
  • Learn to Sail (1998)
  • The Official Record of Stars & Stripes (1988)
  • The Official Record of Stars & Stripes (1995)
  • The Official Record of Stars & Stripes (2000)
  • The Official Record of Stars & Stripes (2003)
Conner has recently opened the ‘Dennis Conner Store’, a tribute to all things America’s Cup and an art gallery featuring many famous nautical paintings including Dennis’s personal collection.  Conner is also involved in other business ventures, including a partnership of North Cove Marina in New York City and his very own ‘Dennis Conner Sports’, which he founded in 1987.

Accompanying this theme is another of his companies, the ‘Dennis Conner America’s Cup Experience’, which gives people the opportunity to experience a bit of the America’s Cup for themselves. The company’s centerpiece is the yacht that started it all, “America”, which is available to take guests out for a sail. Berthed alongside “America” are two IACC yachts which give guests a more modern sailing experience.

Dennis Conner has been awarded Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Green Mountain College and the Medical College of the University of South Carolina.