Meet Annie Becker: Cup sailor, yoga teacher, land preservationist
Backstory: “I grew up in western Massachusetts and lived there until I left for Syracuse University.”
Previous careers: “I worked for many years on private yachts, as well as working for six years on two America’s Cup campaigns for Young America, the New York Yacht Club team. I started in 1995 as the assistant to the chief of operations, but ended up with many jobs, from sponsor fulfillment and fundraising to P.R. and communications. I stayed through the 2000 campaign.
“The campaigns were very different then. Now, you often see a billionaire underwrite the major costs. Back then, most of our funds came from individual donors, and there were lots of staffers working to raise the money. The budgets, too, expand every year. We raised about $30 million for the 2005 Cup in San Diego, and it took $40 million to execute in New Zealand in 2000. And that was barely enough to keep it together.”
Still sailing? “Not too much these days. My last big race was Newport to Bermuda in 2008, but it was a good one. I crewed on Sheila McCurdy and David Brown’s 38-foot boat, Selkie. We finished second, on corrected time, in a fleet of nearly 300.”
Free time: “I’m completing my Kripalu 200-hour yoga teacher training, I like gardening, and I am (hopefully!) near the end of a five-year renovation of my home.”
Which is? “A cottage with a great view.”
Why Newport? “I came here for the first time when I was about 24, but it wasn’t until the end of the last Cup campaign, when I was expecting to be jobless, that I relocated here. I realized that through sailing, I knew more people here than almost anywhere else. And the great thing about Newport is that everyone I know passes through eventually, and in some cases, often. “I’ve been able to stay in touch with so many people from my past.When I came to Newport, I became involved with the Aquidneck Land Trust. I was their development director for four years. I had the opportunity to meet and work closely with so many dedicated staff and volunteers, and learn so much about land conservation. It was an invaluable experience.”
Why real estate? “When I was living in Portland, Maine, in the late 1990s, I felt as though I was too old to pay rent, and yet I had no concept of what the monthly costs of home ownership entailed. I walked off the street into a real estate office and the agent on duty literally changed my life. She helped me see that I needed a three-family with rental income to pay my mortgage. She helped with loans and other issues, and I lived there at no cost and netted a healthy profit on the eventual sale. When I moved to Newport I worked with another fabulous agent, and her guidance did so much to change my course, in a good way.
“I started in this business at the absolute top of the market, and for a couple of years I thought I was really great at my job. Then things changed and it became more of character-building exercise. Those of us who are coming out the other end of this particular learning experience are better agents because o