America’s Cup racer turned commentator, one design keelboat champion turned two times Volvo Ocean Race skipper, Ken Read is President of North Sails and was in Antigua last week sailing in the J Class. Tip & Shaft caught up with Read.
The World Championships of the 470 class (March 16-21), the giant Trofeo Princesa Sofia Olympic regatta (March 27-April 4), the Sailing World Cup Genoa (11-19 April), the 44Cup Portoroz (22-26 April), the GC32 Racing Tour in Oman (25-29 March), the ACWS Cagliari (22-26 April), these events are all either cancelled or postponed. In France the list of events to be rescheduled include Easter’s Spi Ouest France, the Massila Cup, the SNIM, the Solo Maitre CoQ The coronavirus outbreak is affecting the whole of the competitive sailing world. Tip & Shaft takes a view.
In February, American Magic suppliers Helly Hansen took a very small media group behind the curtain in Pensacola, Florida to see the winter training base of American Magic. Tip & Shaft’s Andi Robertson found skipper and executive director Terry Hutchinson in excellent spirits despite the frustration that these incredibly complex AC75s are spending so much time in the yard and not enough time on the water, but – as he says – it is the same for everyone. The complexity and science create opportunities and American Magic are doing all they can to seize them with both hands.
After taking part in early February in the “Barrés de la Yole” in Martinique, it was in the garden of a sumptuous villa in Falmouth Bay, Antigua, from where he takes the start this Monday of his first RORC Caribbean 600 with the crew of the Multi 70 PowerPlay (ex MOD70 Paprec Recyclage), that Loïck Peyron replied to some questions from Tip & Shaft for its 200th French issue. The skipper from La Baule, now 60, looked back at his busy 2019 and talked to us about his latest news.
As Team Director and Skipper of the Luna Rossa Challenge, Max Sirena has a lot on his plate these days, looking to ensure the first meeting of the new AC75s at the opening America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari in April is as productive and smoothly run as possible. At the same time he is trying to minimise the downtime caused by their rig dropping overboard during training on January 27. Tip & Shaft took an early morning cappuccino with Sirena earlier this week.
Juan Kouyoumdjian: “Its is very difficult, if not impossible, to design boats and foils that work well at all speeds”
With the design of the new Arkéa Paprec and Corum L’Epargne, Juan Yacht Design returned to the IMOCA class during 2019, coming back to a class which has not yet really yielded the big successes that Juan K enjoyed in the Volvo Ocean Race. 48-year-old Juan Kouyoumdjian remains one of the most interesting architects of this generation. His spectrum of interest spans everything from Olympic class optimisations (Finn and previously the Star) to the America’s Cup, including record breaking monohulls and production yachts (including the latest ClubSwan 50 and ClubSwan 36). Speaking to Tip & Shaft, he majors this time on the IMOCA and the America’s Cup.
Although he is little known in France, Laurent Esquier is a well known figure in the rarefied world of the America’s Cup. He has been involved in Cup World almost continuously since his first participation as a sailor in 1974 alongside Baron Bich. Now Esquier is at the helm of COR36 and as such responsible for organising the America’s Cup World Series, for which the 2020 calendar was presented last month and the Challenger Selection Series (The Prada Cup).
At a little under one and a half years before the start of the 36th America’s Cup the first four AC75s were all launched within the space one month. What differences have been noted between these four boats? What is likely to the timing for challenges who are looking to launch their second boat? Tip & Shaft garners some ideas…
INEOS Team UK launched their first AC75 Britannia last Friday at their base in Portsmouth, another fascinating variation on the theme which seems to fit somewhere between the Kiwi and American Magic design philosophies. Their minimalist bow sections give way to a relatively flat sided beast. Sir Ben Ainslie revealed that Britannia 1 required 90,000 design hours and 50,000 build hours. Tip & Shaft caught up with the Head of Design Nick Holroyd who joined the team in January last year.
Guillaume Verdier’s work at the moment seems to span everything from the America’s Cup, where he continues to innovate as a key naval architect with Emirates Team New Zealand, to IMOCA where he has contributed foil design for Sam Davies and others, there are two freshly launched Vendée Globe boats for Thomas Ruyant and Charlie Dalin preparing to take on the upcoming Transat Jacques Vabre, Ultimes where he has just added some updates to Gitana 17. He is designing for two Ocean Race teams. Verdier’s passion and drive is undiminished. Tip & Shaft spoke to Guillaume just after the first flights of the ETNZ AC 75.