Bill Trenkle is among the leaders who exemplifies what racing in the America’ Cup symbolizes. He was part of both winning and losing campaigns and had an excellent reputation for his skills and integrity.
If one were to describe Bill Trenkle in one word, it would be “loyal.” He raced and worked with Dennis Conner in eight America’s Cup campaigns over a 24-year stretch from 1979 through 2003, winning the America’s Cup three times. During that period, Trenkle evolved from a “possible” crew as a Cadet at the State University of New York Maritime College (Class of 1980) to Conner’s long time Director of Operations. In his book, Comeback, Conner said, “Bill is a seaman in the finest sense of that term. He understands from both an academic and a practical standpoint what it takes to make a boat go. Give a job to Bill, any job, and you know that it will be done to perfection.” That is high praise from a demanding skipper like Dennis Conner.
In the early days of his Cup career, Bill Trenkle was a sail trimmer, first on the tune-up boat, and then on the varsity team for the 1986-87 series in Fremantle. As a port tailer aboard the victorious Stars & Stripes ’87, Trenkle had an eye for fast-sail shapes, possessed lightning reflexes, and, most importantly, could consistently anticipate what Conner would do with the helm. Conner recalled, “I never once had to say a word about sail trim.”
Using his degree in engineering from the Maritime College, Trenkle assisted in the project managing of the construction of the three 12-Metre yachts for the 1986-87 series, and the huge, innovative wing sail for the Stars & Stripes catamaran in 1988. Since 1996, Trenkle is President and Director of Operations of Dennis Conner Sports. No job was ever too big or too small for Bill Trenkle, earning an excellent reputation in the America’s Cup community.