Dirk Kramers on the America's Cup

James Boyd Photography / www.thedailysail.com
Oracle Team USA's Design Executives gives us his take on the defender's victory
While having a heated inter-geek conversation at the Little America’s Cup last week about Oracle Team USA’s alleged automatic foil control system that the Kiwi press at the time were barking had ‘won cheating Oracle the Cup’, who should pop his head around the door at Restronguet Sailing Club other than Dirk Kramers, Design Executive for Larry Ellison’s defender. Kramers, who’s son Max was doing sterling work at the International C-Class Catamaran Championship sailing on Steve Clark’s 1996 winner Cogito with Tornado veteran Lars Guck, beat a hasty retreat from the Club, but we nabbed him as he taking ‘research’ photography of the C-Class fleet the following day. Having been part of the Alinghi design effort for a decade, Kramers was quickly snapped up by the Oracle campaign where he ended up heading the design team for this Cup. “It was a large group,” Kramers acknowledges. “We had a large design team of 26-27 guys with all the different disciplines - the aero, the hydro, the wing guys, structures and appendages – so trying to keep all that in check was a bit of a challenge.” A sprightly 61-year old, whose tenure in the America’s Cup dates back to 1977 when he was mast designer for Ted Turner’s winning Courageous campaign, Kramer is looking in remarkably good shape for someone whose been working round the clock trying to get Oracle Team USA's design to coax their AC72 around the San Francisco race course faster than their opponent. “Finally I get some time off. It has been pretty intense the last couple of weeks...the last couple of months in fact...” Kramers pauses. “The whole regatta has been surreal. You just charge and charge and charge and it never seems to end. You just have to keep your energy up to try and improve. I am