Jo Richards

Ed Gorman speaks to the man whose hull was chosen to become GBR Challenge's new ACC boat
British sailing is lucky that it has Jo Richards. An exceptionally bright free-thinking creative mind and a first class yachtsman in his own right, Richards is an object lesson in modesty and someone who is only ever reluctantly going to own up to his many successes and achievements both as a designer and a sailor. There is a rumour doing the rounds that Richards drew the lines of the GBR Challenge for the America's Cup hull that is now well into its first month of building at the syndicate headquarters in Cowes. This, remember, is going to be the single most important racing yacht built in Britain, certainly in the last 15 years, on which the hopes of a team of new generation Brit sailors led by Ian Walker will rest. The rumour is that Richards drew the lines of the hull on paper and it then largely survived subsequent modification as the boat was brought to life on the computer - not by Richards who does not work on computers - and then through tank-testing of a model at the Wolfson Unit in Southampton. Thus the hull plug, now almost finished in the vast construction shed on the banks of the Medina in Cowes, could be said to be more Richards than anyone else. Unsurprisingly the man himself will have none of it. In an interview for madforsailing he refused to accept that the finished lines are anything other than a product of the entire design team. The core of that group is led by Derek Clark and is made up of Richards together with the two Japanese designers, Akihiro Kanai and Taro Takahashi, who came over from Japan with the two 2000 generation AC boats which the British syndicate has used for training. Outside the core group, other key influences