Jamie Lea


13th April 1973

Sailing Career


I grew up in Exmouth on the river Exe and at the age of 6 had the opportunity to crew in an International Cadet, this gave me the ‘bug’ and by the age of 10 was helming my own boat.
I was a member of Exe sailing club and at the time was blessed with having the benefit and expertise of several world class sailors, boatbuilders and designers amongst the members, including Mike Mcnamara, Peter “Spud” Rowsell and Phil Morrison to name but a few. It was their input to my continued sailing education that proved invaluable.


As I progressed I was taught that consistency is one of the keys to winning Championships. This advice helped me win back to back National Championships in the International Cadet, represent my country 4 times and win Silver and Gold medals at World Championships in 1988 (India) and 1990 (Poland). In 1991 and as reigning Cadet World Champion, I won the Endeavour trophy the UK’s premier dinghy event where National and World Champions from the major dinghy classes race to find the Champion of Champions for that year.
After the Cadet, I moved briefly into the 420 class and then the 470, before my physique and weight dictated a move to more suitable classes. During this time however, I was able to achieve 4th place at the 420 World Championships and runner up in the National Championships. In the 470 I won the National title and finished 3rd in the trials for the 1996 Olympic Games.


By this time my employers were North Sails (One Design) in Southampton and it was here that I learned the rudiments of sail making, both in manufacture and design. My brief at North Sails was to promote certain classes, which meant much of my time was spent sailing in a semi-professional capacity, something I was always keen to do.
I spent time in the Enterprise and the Solo classes with some success, before committing myself to a 3 year campaign in the Finn class in the hope of qualifying for the 2000 Olympic Games.
During this time I was fortunate to receive lottery funding through the RYA having met goals at World and European events and I finished 2nd to the eventual Olympic Gold medallist at the UK trials.

2001–2005 THE MELGES 24 YEARS

I gained valuable experiences of competing in big International fleets during my time in the Finn which I used to great effect when I was asked to helm in the high performance Melges 24 keelboat class. I attended most of the major Melges 24 Ranking events on the USA and European circuit over a 3 year period, winning 8 ranking events, finishing 2001 and 2002 top of the World rankings, 2002 top of the European rankings as well as capturing a Bronze Medal at the 2002 World Championships.

2005 - CURRENT (One design specialist)

With the success I had achieved to this point, particularly in the Melges 24 class, it encouraged me to make the step into becoming a full time professional sailor; a step I took in 2005.
Since turning professional, I have concentrated on racing in one design keelboats, mainly the Melges 24, Melges 32, Dragon, Etchells and J80 . In this time I have developed and refined my sailing skills in order to offer a more complete package for any prospective clients either as Helmsman, Tactician or trimmer.