About me

Justin Ferris
Helm / Trim
Date of Birth:
05 Dec, 1975
1.88 m
94 kg
Bay of Islands, New Zealand
New Zealand
Marital Status:

Question & answer

  • When and where did you first sail?
    In the Bay of Island, my home town in New Zealand.
  • What has been your proudest sailing moment?
    Finishing the last leg on the 05/06 Volvo Race on Pirates of the Caribbean with a win… perfect way to finish any race.
  • Can you recall your scariest moment at sea?
    Hearing the words "the keel rams have broken" when you have just woken from a deep sleep.
  • In 3 words, summarise your role on the boat ?
    Trimmer, Helmsman, Sailmaker.
  • What do you miss most when you are at sea?
    My two children, followed by ice cream.
  • How are you enjoying life in Abu Dhabi?
    It's been great sailing in the Arabian Gulf since Christmas. Good wind with a challenging seaway. It's been a great training venue for the sailing team. We've been made very welcome in Abu Dhabi. There is lots going on in terms of events and sports so always something new and exciting to look forward to.
  • What do you think visitors to Abu Dhabi can expect when the yachts come in on New Year's day?
    I'm sure it is going to be a New Year's Eve to remember, I can't start to think of what to expect, I just know it will be mind blowing.
  • Which leg of the race are you most excited about and why?
    Sailing into both my home ports of Abu Dhabi and Auckland are the two legs I'm most excited about. Also the southern ocean leg down to Cape Horn is high on my personal list of must dos.
  • Who is your sailing inspiration?
    I grew up watching Sir Peter Blake sail around the world; I guess he would be the one single person that has inspired me most.
  • Are there any 'home comforts' that you'll be sneaking on board?
    A small selection of Kiwi sweets to share… or maybe not.
  • What's the first thing you'll do when you reach port after each leg?
    Eat fresh food washed down with a cold drink.
  • What would you have done if you hadn't been a sailor?
    I can't imagine what I would have done; I eat, sleep, divve sailing and have done since a young kid. I grew up in a small town that farmed Kiwifruit so I guess that was my other option… you can see why I picked sailing.
  • How will you prepare for the race? (exercise/food/sleep) ?
    I am spending more time working parts of the body that I damaged in the last two races… forearms and shoulder seem to be common problem areas.
  • How important is winning to you?
    I've finished 2nd in the past two Volvo Ocean Races so I will be giving it everything to improve on that this time.
  • How will you keep morale high if you experience any difficulties. How will you keep everyone focused/entertained?
    The best way to keep morale high is to get good results; if we all put in 110% both before and during the race I'm sure we will get the results.
  • What is the best piece of advice you have been given about the race i.e. 'look after the boat and it will look after you'?
    Hang on… falling off is not an option.
  • What would we find under your bunk?
    I'm hoping two or three pairs of dry socks.

Meet Justin Ferris


Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Justin Ferris has spent the past 10 years living and breathing the Volvo Ocean Race. Starting as a sail-maker for the winning ‘illbruck Challenge’ in 2001, the dynamic Kiwi made the step up to join the Pirates of the Caribbean team for the first edition of the Volvo 70 class in 2005, then for Puma Ocean Racing in 2008.

As crew and sail-maker it seems the mix of 20 years of sail-production and design coupled with a life spent on the open seas creates the right blend for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

My Top Sailing Achievements

  • 2011 - Volvo Ocean Race, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - Crew
  • 2009 - Transpac Ocean Race, Samba Pa Ti - 1st Place
  • 2007 - Volvo Ocean Race, Puma Ocean racing - 2nd Place
  • 2005 - Volvo Ocean Race, Pirates of the Caribbean - 2nd Place

Brought up in a sailing mad family in the Bay of Island, it was only natural that 35-year-old Justin should build a life in sailing. Having started at an early age with a sail-making apprenticeship, the now father-of-two headed off overseas in his teenage years to further his sail-making career and to chase opportunities on larger yachts. Nearly two decades on and involved with his fourth Volvo Ocean Race it seems the sailing life is working out pretty well for the Kiwi.

And with two second place finishes in the last two Volvo Ocean Races already under his belt, it is easy to see what the goals are for Justin this time around.