Dennis Conner

World Champion American Yachtsman, Author, and Publisher

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Dennis Conner Speaker Biography

Four-Time Winner of the America’s Cup Four-Time Winner of the America’s Cup, U.S. Yachtsman of the Year, Author and Publisher

Dennis Conner, also know as “Mr. America’s Cup” is the world’s most successful Americas Cup Skipper, a four time winner of the America’s Cup. Winner of more than 100 America’s Cup Trial races, Conner raced in and won the America’s Cup in 1974, 1980, 1987 and 1988. He also made it to the America’s Cup finals in 1983 and 1995. Conner is actively involved in the planning, organizing, fund-raising, design, staffing and public relations of his America’s Cup Campaigns. No skipper has been more successful in the modern America’s Cup in putting together his own campaigns. In his most recent challenge in 2003 he led his team thorough an unprecedented Ninth America’s Cup campaign. He challenged for America’s Cup 2003 through the prestigious New York Yacht Club.


Though the Cup is the symbol of his victories, Conner has captured many other awards. He has won world championships in boats from 11-feet to 80-feet. Having represented the United States in international events since 1963, he has been selected United States Yachtsman of the Year four times and San Diego Yachtsman of the Year seven times. Conner has won two Star World Championships, two Etchells World Championships, two Congressional Cups and four Southern Ocean Racing Conference (SORC) victories. In Kiel, West Germany, in 1977, he established a Star class record that has never been equaled, scoring five consecutive first place finishes against 89 boats. Dennis Conner regards this record in particular as one of his greatest sailing accomplishments.


In the 1976 Olympic Games, Conner won a bronze medal for the United States in the Tempest class. He has also been twice a member of the U.S. Admiral’s Cup Team and participated in the historic 1979 Fastnet Race that met with disaster in a Force 10 storm.

Honors and Awards

Conner’s most recent accolades include being inducted as a member of the inaugural class of the Americas Cup Hall Of Fame and the US National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2011. In 2012 US Sailing named him America’s Greatest Sailor based on public vote.


Conner has led two entries in the Whitbread Round The World Race, now called the Volvo Ocean race, in 1993-94 with Winston and in 1997-98 with Toshiba. Prior to the Whitbread In 1993, Conner set a new Trans-Atlantic record with Winston. Conner also won the Australian National Etchells-22 Championship that same year.


As an author and publisher, Conner has recounted the motivation, teamwork and commitment to winning on and off the water in his books Learn to Sail, No Excuse To Lose, Comeback, The Art of Winning, The Official Record of Stars & Stripes 1987, The Official Record of Stars & Stripes 1988, The Official Record of Stars & Stripes 1992, 1995, 2003, Sail Like a Champion and Life’s Wining Tips. He is also the co-author of The America’s Cup: The History of Sailing’s Greatest Competition in the Twentieth Century, published in July 1998.

Dennis Conner Sports, Inc.

In 1987, Conner combined his passion for sailing with his talent for business by starting Dennis Conner Sports, Inc. Over the years, he has worked with hundreds of major corporate clients on product endorsements, sailing events, personal appearances and sponsorships.

San Diego Yacht Club

While serving as Commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club, Conner formed the successful Stars & Stripes Challenge in 1984 and also served on the original board of the Sail America Foundation. He was responsible for the tactical game-plan which led to his victory in the 1987 America’s Cup returning the America’s Cup back to the United States.


His most recent endeavors, or more a passion, was the restoration of a 1925 “Q” class boat Cotton Blossom II which he raced on as a very young man. He spent 17 painstaking months on the restoration. The boat is a jewel and he competed in the Mediterranean Classic Yacht series winning his class in all  of the regattas sailed, as well as winning the Concourse de Elegance, Judged by Prince Albert of Monaco for the most beautiful boat at Monaco Race week. He has also recently finished a restoration of the 1910 Crowninshield Schooner “Fame” which he has successfully raced winning the 2011 McNish trophy and the 2012 San Diego Yesteryear regatta. Conner again won the McNish trophy in 2016 aboard his new passion, a 48 foot wood classic named “Splendor”. Conner still races competitively in San Diego and internationally, most recently competing in the 6 meter World Championships in Vancouver BC.

Conner grew up in San Diego, raised near the San Diego Yacht Club which he joined at age 11. He has been a member of the SDYC for over fifty years and has served on the SDYC Board of Directors for nine years. He studied business at San Diego State University and lives with his wife Daintry in San Diego, California.

Dennis Conner Speaking Topics

The Art of Winning

Conner is a master on the subject of motivation, focus and the determination to win. In this presentation, based on his book, The Art of Winning, Conner reveals the specific, practical tips he has learned in a lifetime of achievement, both on the water and off. Whatever your goal in the game of life - to succeed in business, get along with others, be a better manager, salesman, athlete--you will benefit from Dennis Conner's five key principles.

Teamwork on The Water

Spend a day on the water with Dennis Conner as he ties-in the multifaceted, professional yacht racing campaign with the many similarities of today's competitive business environment. His highly motivational and entertaining speech is enhanced with an afternoon of sailing aboard the 53' Stars & Stripes sailboat. Conner demonstrates how the team-building skills of a racing crew can lead to success in business.

Dennis Conner's World Of Sailing

An entertaining discussion about the sport of sailing today including the America's Cup, The Olympics, the Around the world races, with stories and anecdotes from Dennis.

Dennis Conner Books

Comeback: My Race for the America’s Cup
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Sail Like a Champion
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Learn to Sail
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Dennis Conner Videos

Dennis Conner Speaker Testimonials

"The Art of Winning" sets a logical, highly readable course to success. Sage advice from Dennis Conner, America's consummate competitor.


His achievements on the water and in board rooms taught him principles for success that anyone can use. if you want to be a winner—read his book.


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Recent Books

Comeback: My Race for the America’s Cup
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Sail Like a Champion
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