Donald Wilson founder of the Chicago Match Race Center © Photo by Brian Carlin/AWMRT
Chicago, USA (Thursday, 9th August): For a successful trader like Don Wilson, the appeal of match racing is obvious. “There are a lot of similarities between trading and sailing in general,” says the Chicago-based trader and founder of the Chicago Match Race Center. “In sailing you really have to think about risk and reward, and leverage. So very similar themes to what you think about in trading. When you take it down to match racing, it’s much more compressed and intense, which is much more like the style of trading that we do.”
Now in his mid-forties, Wilson has been sailing all his life and racing since his high school days. But he only tried match racing for the first time in 2005, and got really hooked after entering a flurry of regattas around the US in 2008. “That was the year that we decided to set up the Chicago Match Race Center,” he says. “I had been doing fleet racing up until then. When I first discovered match racing, I thought, this is much more interesting, more intense. In a fleet race you make a lot of decisions, but over the course of an hour and half maybe. In a match race you're probably making more tactical decisions in the space of just 15 minutes. That, to me, is much more interesting. Match racing is very intense, a lot of pressure. You can't get rattled when something goes wrong. You've got to stay focused and stick with it. That's exactly the same as in the trading world.
“I enjoy that style of thinking about things, this is so intense that it works as a great diversion from my day job. You have to be 100% focused on the match race, no time to think about anything else. I don’t take work with me. I never take my Blackberry out on the water, that’s for sure!