Artemis Racing team manager Iain Percy says he’s very excited about the prospect of racing in Bermuda, which he is calling a tricky venue that will demand the best from the sailors.
“I’m really excited about Bermuda,” he says. “You’ve always had the old adage in the America’s Cup that the fastest boat wins, but this is a tricky venue. We’ll all have to wake up. It’s going to be shifty with a wide range of conditions and that’s going to be a new element. Strategy and tactics will be a big factor in this venue.”
For the moment however, Percy’s Swedish challenger is focused on getting more training time in on its foiling AC45 from its base in California.
“Over the past several months, we’ve been doing a lot of training and testing on our AC45 foiler, which we converted before the last America’s Cup, when we realized foiling was the way to go,” Percy said.
“We’ll be getting out there again as soon as we can when the wind starts to come back (it’s been a very calm winter for wind on San Francisco Bay). We’ve made significant upgrades and developments to it, so we’re looking forward to getting out on the water in the near term.”
As with the other teams who have spent time on a foiling version of the AC45, Percy says there are benefits to testing design ideas along with crew practice and training.
“The foiling 45 is a reasonable platform to simulate the AC62. There are scaling issues between the 45 and the 62, but this is a good way to draft the lessons you learn on the the water into the design. You can learn a lot about things like foil shapes, stability, systems. It’s hard to know from the computer how controllable certain designs might be, for example. So being able to test them on the foiling AC45 is quite valuable.”
In addition, the time spent together as a team is a valuable bonding exercise for a team that has seen some turnover since the last Cup.
“On the design side we’ve made almost a full change and on the sailing team it’s been about a 50% change and the build and shore team is pretty similar to last time,” Percy explained. “Overall we’ve probably made about a 50% turnover on the team. We have quite a few young guys who have come in with a lot of fresh ideas and enthusiasm and we’ve gelled really well.
“We’re very much growing as one team at Artemis Racing,” he continued. “The people who have joined us are all very open. We’ve brought in people who like an idea, not just their own ideas, which has been great. We have very good collaboration between the sailors and designers and builders, with everyone working together and talking through ideas. It’s been rewarding to have everyone – sailors, designers, builders – understand the trade-offs we need to evaluate before we lock in our design plans.”
But that is for the future. For the moment, the team is focused on getting the most out of its training time in Alameda, while looking ahead to Bermuda.
“Personally, I love Bermuda. I’ve sailed there several times and the hospitality you get from the locals is overwhelming,” he says. “I know how excited everyone is about us coming there. For me, the best events are where the locals get behind it and enjoy it. So I think that’s going to make it very special. It’s going to be a very exciting America’s Cup.”
– America's Cup Media