Chesapeake Racer Profile: Terry Hutchinson

 Before Terry Hutchinson was a world-renowned skipper onboard America’s Cup sailboats, he was a part of Ed Reynolds’ original Quantum Sails loft in Traverse City, MI. Since 2008, Hutchinson has served as both the helmsman and tactician with Quantum’s TP52 racing program, and now he returns to the company as Executive Vice President for business development worldwide. We caught up with Terry and asked what made him decide to return to Bay country.
You’ve worked for Quantum before, and now you’re back. What changes do you see in the company, and what do you want to bring to them now?
It is completely different, from product to personnel. While I am just getting my feet wet on the inner workings, the most noticeable difference is the evolution of the product, design through IQ technology, and construction process. Certainly, on the water the sails are proving to be successful (as evident with our most recent win at the Farr 40 North American Championship) and yet there is unlimited work to do to get better, which is great.
Do you envision your new position as a desk job? Or will you be sailing just as much as usual?
Both. The plan is to continue to help in developing grand prix sails and assist in developing business on and off the water. There is a lot of work to do in both arenas and I am incredibly excited by this opportunity.
What racing do you have on the 2014 schedule that you’re particularly excited about?
TP 52 Events in Europe for the TP 52 Super Series, RC 44 Circuit in Europe, Farr 40 World Championship in San Francisco, J/70 sailing with my kids and Scott Nixon’s kids, and if I am allowed back, some Wednesday night racing on Mirage with Fredrik and crew. As far as excitement levels, well, all of it is exciting!
What have you missed about the Annapolis area?
Too much for this particular space!!!! But if I narrow it down to just a few, I would start with my family and the space that my parents have created for Shelley and me to raise our kids (Elias, Katherine, and Aden) down in Harwood. Funny how I spent the first 21 years of my life trying to get away, and now I just cannot wait to get back! Morning coffee at the Boatyard and catching up with Dick Franyo and Dave Gendell. Both have been great advisors and friends over the years, and as I went through a tough time in early 2013, Dave was a great friend and advisor. Crab cakes from the Edgewater Inn and the hot summer nights of picking crabs at Mike’s on the South River. Wednesday night racing. The simplicity and fun of the Wednesday night racing out of AYC is something that I always missed. Having seen a lot of different areas in the world, I can say that we live in a very special spot.Finally, the whipping sessions that Harry Legum gives me at Annapolis Sailing Fitness. He has a unique way of making me suffer and I go back day after day!
Your kids have grown up quite a bit since leaving. Are they interested in sailing? What kind of sailing do you do with your family?
All three have a love for the water. We have never pushed them to the competitive side of the sport, as it seems at the young age they just need to enjoy it and be comfortable on the water before they take it on in another manner. But we are the proud owners of a J/70 with the Nixon family, so I look forward to Thursday night sailing and crewing.
Any advice for parents who want their kids to get into competitive sailing?
I would let the kids develop a love for the sport and water before pushing. There are so many distractions in the world that the simplicity of the water and the freedom it can provide to a 12-year old is over the top in developing individuality and responsibility. My personal opinion is pushing too hard at an early age will run the risk of making it not fun.
When you’re not working with a client or pursuing a professional goal, what’s your favorite boat to take out on the water?
That is a tough question! I have some great moments and memories of family sails on the Alerion 28 Juice. Inevitably the boys are asleep on the bow as we sail back and forth between the Eastern Shore and Back Creek. Unlike a lot of other areas in the world, you can go from point A to point B on the Chesapeake in a few hours, anchor, swim and have a good evening sail home. The Chesapeake is a special place!