From America's Cup to National 12

Jo Richards on what he would design for an America's DoG match and on winning Burton Week again after 32 years...
One of the unsung heroes of British yachting is unquestionably Jo Richards. Mild mannered, unassuming even shy on the one hand, but equally brilliant both as a sailor and designer on the other, the 1984 Flying Dutchman bronze medallist has turned his hand to the America’s Cup - he was on GBR Challenge’s design team - but is equally successful as a dinghy designer - he penned the popular Laser Pico and Vortex. However his bread and butter is in running Stephen Fein’s series of Full Pelts, which date back to the mid-1980s, for example when they won the Sardinia Cup in 1986, making this one of the longest standing owner-sailor relationships within our sport. Fein’s Full Pelting is now divided between the pumped up 49er-like 36 footer that is mostly kept around the Swiss-Italian lake area for racing at events like the Bol d’Or Mirabaud and Centomiglia on Lake Garda while a 1720 is kept in the UK for events like the Round the Island and Cowes Week. However Richards over the last two decades has also become something of a multihull specialist. He and Ed Dubois originally penned Stephen Fein’s Full Pelt Formula 40 back in the 1980s and since then for Fein he has designed a smaller Formula 30 catamaran, that was set to be a growing class in the 1990s, until the new Pelt blew the competition away. Significantly Richards was also part of the design team and skipper of Peter de Savary’s short-lived Blue Arrow campaign for the 1988 America’s Cup, that was in almost the exact same situation as Lorenzo Rizzardi’s Italian GreenComm challenge is at present. Only that while GreenComm doesn’t stand the remotest chance of being allowed to race next year in the case of Blue Arrow they went as far as