“Being one of only two athletes qualified to represent Canada next fall in Morocco is exciting and a little intimidating too,” Fair comments with a genuine excitement in his voice, “the world championships will be the top 100 Olympic class sailors under 21 years of age from all over the world.”
Fair has been sailing “’his’ whole life” according to him and competing in solo racing since he was eight years old. “He was sailing out in the middle of Lake Ontario in his own boat before he was allowed to cross the street,” his mother, Lindsey Fair, recalls, “sailing really taught James important skills from a very early age like problem solving, critical thinking and confidence.” Last year, Fair won gold at the Canada Summer Games.
Outside of sailing, Fair is an engineering student at Queen’s University – a path he says is popular for many sailors such as current Canadian Sailing Team member and Tokyo 2020 Olympian Ali ten Hove. Fair was lucky enough to grow up around ten Hove in Kingston and was inspired by her commitment to sailing, family and school.
“Kingston Ontario was a great place to grow up, known as the fresh water sailing capital of the world, it’s not too surprising that it has a successful history of producing Olympic and Canadian Sailing Team athletes,” Fair shares, “sailors like Ali ten Hove, Dannie Boyd, Robert Davis and John Curtis were often around the Kingston Yacht Club – inspiring me and cheering me on.”
Looking forward to representing Canada in Morocco next fall, the only thing left to do is raise the funds needed to compete on the international circuit. But Fair has a plan in motion – fundraisers, part-time jobs and hopefully some sponsorship opportunities too. It takes a very large support network to fund the path to the podium. Curtis, Olympian at the 2004 Summer Games and Wind Athletes CEO,
“I’ve been watching James work hard out on the water since he was very young. He’s definitely putting in the work and loves our sport, but it takes a village to raise a sailor and the work on the water is only part of the battle. With my own Olympic journey and my work with Wind Athletes Canada, I know that raising the necessary funding for an Olympic campaign in sailing is tough and James will have to work equally as hard off the water as on it to get there for 2028, and even to get to the World Championships this fall. I hope people will join me is supporting James.”
So far, Fair has received some support from the Saint John Jeux Canada Games Foundation, the Kingston Yacht Club Corinthian Fund and individual sponsors through Wind Athletes but still has a ways to go. Fair’s mom, comments “Once again James is learning valuable skills from sailing – fundraising, networking and financial management.” Fair is thankful for the support of his community, even appears humble that others are helping him on his path to the podium.
Now training in Victoria, British Columbia for the spring leading up to the North American Championships in California at the start of July, Fair shared “The west coast, and the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, is a great community of very competitive sailors – it’s one of the best places to sail in Canada for sure.” Sailing from coast to coast, Fair seems to truly embody a Canadian athlete and is excited to wear the maple leaf with pride in Morocco next fall.