Life of Australian Sailor Jim Colley, his Paris Journey

Jim Colley, an Australian sailor, was born on September 8, 1998. He and his partner, Shaun Connor, won silver medals in the SL16 and 49er classes at the 2015 ISAF Youth Worlds. In 2023, they also took home a silver medal at the renowned Hyeres race in the south of France. They are also eligible for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Jim Colley and Shaun Connor Selected For Paris 2024 Olympics

On March 28, 2024, the Australian Olympic Committee announced that four sailors were chosen to represent Australia in the 49er and 49erFX sailing classes at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, which are just over 100 days away. Jim Colley and Shaun Connor’s selection was a result of their long friendship and more than 10 years of sailing together.

“We first met when we were around 11 or 12 years old at a training camp for junior sailors at Middle Harbour Yacht Club in Manly. We decided to start sailing a 29er boat together in 2013.”

said Colley.

This pair, from the Pittwater and Manly areas, started their 49er sailing campaign in 2018. Colley mentioned that they knew from the beginning that they “had the right qualities to make a good team.”

Their selection for the Olympics came after a couple of strong years competing in sailing events around the world. In 2023, they were also named finalists in the Team category at the NSW Australian Sailing Awards.

“Our biggest achievement as a team was finishing fifth at the European Championships in 2022. That was the first time we really showed what we are capable of. After that, we knew we could compete at the top level of the fleet.”

Colley said,

Just one day after being chosen for the Australian Olympic Team for Paris 2024, Colley, Connor, Olivia Price, and Evie Haseldine are set to compete alongside 41 other Australian sailors at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia sailing event in Mallorca, Spain.

Early Life of Sailor Jim Colley

Jim Colley was born on September 8, 1998, in Manly, Sydney, New South Wales. He currently works as a Junior Engineer at Incat Crowther. His yacht club is the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club located in Newport, Sydney, Australia. His coaches are Larry Cargill and Traks Gordon. The Avalon Sailing Club was his junior club.

Colley completed his high school education at Barrenjoey High School. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Colley’s childhood and early years in sailing were greatly influenced by his father, who built him a boat when he was five years old and taught him how to sail it.

Jim Colley Childhood
Image: Jim Colley in his Childhood (Source: Jim’s Instagram)

Now, two decades later, he is heading to the waters off Marseille, where the sailing events for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will take place. He will be competing in one of the most fast-paced and competitive sailing classes. Colley began sailing at the Avalon Sailing Club in northern Sydney, racing in the Manly Juniors category at the age of 10. Throughout his teenage years, he started participating in domestic and international sailing competitions, which eventually led him to transition into Olympic sailing classes at the age of 19.

Starting of Jim Colley’s Sailing Career

In 2011, Jim won the Queensland Youth Week 2011 Optimist competition and also took part in the NSW Manly Junior States sailing events. Jim and his brother Tom Colley from Avalon Sailing Club won the prestigious NSW Manly Junior State Championship in the Bullet category. This was after a competitive three-week sailing series. The regatta had 120 sailors (60 boats) from seven clubs across New South Wales participating. Jim and Tom secured first place in the MJ Scratch Fleet Winners category with their boat named “Bullet”. This victory was a result of their hard work throughout the season.

In 2012, Jim Colley participated in the Australian Optimist Teams Racing Championship as the captain of the team representing The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. His team secured the second position in the championship, showing his active involvement and skill in sailing competitions during that year.

The 2013 Youth Sailing Grand Prix included seven classes with sailors competing in the Laser 4.7, Laser Radial, 420, 29er, and potentially the Bic Techno and Hobie 16 classes. Notably, in the 29er class, Shaun Connor and Jim Colley were the Australian Champions and members of the Australian Sailing Youth Team, finishing second in the series.

In 2014, Shaun Connor and Jim Colley, both members of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and youth sailors from the peninsula area, were named in the 2014 Australian Sailing Youth Team. They won the Youth Nationals in the 29er class, achieved 6th place at the World Championships in July, and secured first place at the German Youth Nationals.

They were the only representatives from New South Wales to be selected for the team and competed in the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship held in Tavira, Portugal, from July 12 to July 19 that year.

Jim Colley Recent Years, Word Championships and Olympics

In 2015, Australian sailor Jim Colley, along with Kurt Hansen who was participating in the Youth Worlds for the first time and was the 2014 29er World Champion, took part in the 29er class at the 45th Youth Sailing World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia. They narrowly missed out on a podium finish, securing a commendable fourth place overall.

Additionally, the Australian Youth Sailing Team, including Jim Colley, achieved significant success at the 2015 Youth Sailing World Championships. The team won the Nations Trophy, with Alistair Young leading the charge for the team.

Also Read: Who is Australian Sailor Matt Wearn? Is he Qualified for the Paris Olympics?

In 2016, Jim Colley, representing NSW – RPAYC/MH16SSC, sailed alongside Kurt Hansen in the 29er class at the Youth Sailing World Championships. They finished fourth overall in the competition, narrowly missing out on the podium by four points after securing a sixth place in the final race. Despite facing tough conditions, they expressed satisfaction with their performance and were excited about future sailing prospects, including transitioning to the 49er class.

Throughout 2017, Jim Colley remained actively involved in the highly competitive 49er class, showcasing his dedication to the sport of sailing at the professional level.

In 2022, Jim Colley and Shaun Connor achieved a significant milestone by finishing fifth at the European Championships, marking a pivotal moment in their sailing career.

In 2023, Jim Colley and Shaun Connor had a strong couple of years at sailing competitions across the world, demonstrating consistent excellence in competitive sailing. Shaun Connor was selected to represent Australia in the 49er class at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Jim Colley and Shaun Connor were named finalists in the Team division in the 2023 NSW Australian Sailing Awards.