Artemis launch their 34th America's Cup challenge
An America’s Cup gathering of the clans (or at least our Scandinavian brothers and sisters) took place in Stockholm earlier with the formal announcement of Tornbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis challenge for the 34th America’s Cup, via the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, the KSSS, best known as organiser of the annual Round Gotland Race.
Much of what was said at the club was discussed by their skipper Terry Hutchinson in our recent interview with him.
“It has been done before and, Pelle Petterson, I remember following your race with great interest and I think you made Sweden proud of your achievements,” said Torbjorn Tornqvist, addressing the Sweden’s most famous sailor and yacht designer, Star double Olympic medallist and skipper of Sweden’s challengers in 1977 and 1980 (and who’s daughter is married to Paul Cayard). Petterson was present at today’s announcement along with round the world race legend Magnus Olssen, who in his inimitable style posed most of the questions from the floor come the Q&A.
After paying tribute to the KSSS, Tornqvist said: “I was raised with sailing. Five years ago I started to race on internationally, I met Russell Coutts and it is no secret that I owe Russell a great deal when it comes to the secret to my success - having him as your first tutor, not only when it comes to the skill on the boat, but to discover excitement in racing and all that it stands for.”
He continued: “I believe in the new format of the America’s Cup. To be honest with you it took some time to digest the fact that we are leaving monohulls and going for something new, but having had some time to reflect on this it is the right course. It actually brings the America’s Cup back to its tradition of being the most spectacular event in the world. lt will create fantastic sailing for a new generation and I am very proud to participate in this.”
Richard Worth, Chairman of the America’s Cup Event Authority, looked forward to the innovation in the event and repeated much that Russell Coutts told us recently in our interview with him – sustainability in the event with the new management entities and harnessing the latest technology to ensure the best possible televising of the America’s Cup sailing.
“We would like these events to be on mainstream TV live,” said Worth. “We want to make the coverage more dramatic and the best that has ever been see for the sport of sailing.
“We will have the fastest boats and the best sailors and a sponsorship program which will give an enormous return on investment,” he added. “The AC Event Authority will support the teams to develop their own commercial strategies to become successful as part of the event.”
Paul Cayard, CEO of Artemis Racing, then filled in a few details about the team, first harking back to winning the Whitbread Round the World Race with the Swedish EF Language team. Cayard said he relished the challenge of running a Cup team, particularly on this occasion with such radical revisions taking place from the format of racing to the giant swing from heavyweight monohulls to lightweight wingsail catamarans. “On top of that we will be racing all over the world in a World Series circuit starting next year. We will do 14 events before we begin the challenger selection series and all that has to take place in three years. So it is a demanding time scale.”
While he and Torbjorn Tornqvist were in Stockholm, Cayard pointed out that part of the sailing team was in Dubai gearing up for the Louis Vuitton Trophy event that starts on Sunday and another 12 of their sailors were practicing in two Extreme 40s out of Miami.
“We are a start up team in terms of the America’s Cup and at this point our team is about 40% hired,” continued Cayard. “We have enough of the key players in place to be able to form strategy and planning. We are still in that phase. We got the class rule for the boat about a month ago. We know when the race will be but we don’t know exactly the venue is. I know where my heart is. I think it would be a fantastic place to showcase our sport – San Francisco.” Cayard’s own home.
Following on from the Challenger of Record, Mascalzone Latino, Artemis were the first team to officially challenge for the 34th America’s Cup when the window opened on 1 November.
Cayard says that they have already got 40 people employed. He confirmed that they have Juan Kouyoumdjian at their lead naval architect and their their two AC72 catamarans will be built by Killian Bushe. They have also got Chay Macintoch – Juan K, Bushe and Macintoch were respectively the designer, builder and shore manager for the Ericsson Racing Team that won the last Volvo Ocean Race, which of course was also a Swedish campaign.
“The reason why we selected Juan is that I really value his intelligence - he is a very very smart guy,” said Cayard. “He is not a multihull designer but he is a guy who will figure it out and put the right people around him.” Among them is Santiago Lange, double Olympic Tornado medallist and a naval architect who at present is sparing against Terry Hutchinson on the Extreme 40s in Miami. In addition they have the eminent Tom Schnackenberg, a qualified nuclear physicist and three time winner of the America’s Cup with Team New Zealand. “This AC is so unlike anything we have done before it is a matter of being intelligent and not being attached to what we have done before. Having these incredibly intelligent people sitting around the table gives me a lot of peace of mind,” said Cayard.
On the management side the deal is similar to the Juan K-Bushe-Macintoch relationship where Cayard has ‘got the band back together; in Bob Billingham, Soling silver medallist who’s job is typically project managing the construction of skyscrapers in San Francisco, CFO Chris Perkins and Melinda Erkelens as legal council (previously with BMW Oracle Racing). All three worked with Cayard at AmericaOne during the 2000 America’s Cup.
In terms of a time frame Cayard said that in January 2011 a squad of their team will be descending on New Zealand to sea trial the new AC45 catamaran. He believed their own AC45 will be available in March, although they will then have to finish off some of the detail work on the boat. They will spend part of April training in New Zealand with their new boat before it is shipped to the first event on the America’s Cup World Series circuit.
Cayard also confirmed what Terry Hutchinson had told us – that Artemis will be competing in the Extreme Sailing Series in 2011 and that they will continue on the RC44 circuit, where Torbjorn Tornqvist has the opportunity to drive.
Meanwhile the design and build team will be hard at it with their first AC72 which they are aiming to launch as soon as they are allowed to in January 2012. Cayard says they are looking for somewhere where they can sail during the permitted training window of 90 days over the winter of 2012, before they start construction of their second AC72 in May 2012.
At the press conference there was much enthusiasm shown on stage from all quarters for the proposed Youth America’s Cup where young sailors from national teams will hopefully from 2012 get the opportunity to compete in AC45s as the main teams race their AC72s. According to Russell Coutts Iain Murray, Richard Worth and their respective teams are currently looking at the nuts and bolts of how to achieve this.
“I would favour the crews being nationals, young sailors from the country and that would allow the yacht club to actively participate in recruiting and in encouraging young sailors to come forward to race this championship.”