Artemis Racing, the Swedish Challenger of Record, has turned to two accomplished and experienced French America's Cup sailors to boost its crew on the AC World Series circuit.
Thierry Fouchier (46) is a trimmer, while Julien Cressant (39) is bowman. Both are members of the crew of the AC45 skippered by American Terry Hutchinson, which won the 2011-12 AC World Series Match Racing Championship.
Thierry and Julien were interviewed (read the original interview in French) in San Francisco at the end of the AC World Series event in August.
When and how did you join Artemis Racing?
Julien Cressant (JC): "I came with another of our teammates, Iain Percy, from Team Origin, which was an aspiring British team. We were fortunate that when Origin stopped its campaign, this opportunity with a strong team like Artemis Racing came along."
Thierry Fouchier (TF): "I joined the team in January, largely with the help of Julian, who has done a lot for me to help bring me into the team. I am very happy and proud to be with the Swedish team."
What are your positions on board? Do you have other responsibilities with the shore team?
TF: "I'm a member of the sail design team focussed on the soft sails, the headsails. And I also work closely with the wing team. On the race boat, I'm a headsail trimmer."
JC: "On the water, I'm the bowman. On shore, I am involved in the preparation of the AC72. I worked a lot on the deck plan which was very interesting. This is an innovative platform, even for the two of us, who have sailed a lot in multihulls before because the design is completely different so we are continually learning."
As the two French crew, how easy was it to integrate into a Swedish, english speaking team?
JC: "Before I arrived, I already knew several members of the team. We integrate based on our skills and who we work with the most. 'Fouch' (Thierry Fouchier) and I, with our experiences in multihulls and the America's Cup, have been able to lend our skills and experience in our areas and this has helped us integrate well."
TF: "The team is always looking for experts in each area to help them progress faster. We each have a lot of experience and expertise that we can offer - Julien on the bow and myself with the sail development."
In 2013, you might be the only two French crew competing in the next Louis Vuitton Cup (America's Cup Challenger Series). What are your goals?
TF: "On the one hand, 2013 seems very far away because we have so much work to do. Our goal now is to get the AC72 in the water as soon as possible and get it sailing around the marks and making it as fast as possible. But there is a long way to go and the race crew of the AC72 is still to be determined."
JC: "And on the other hand, 2013 will arrive very quickly because we really need to do a lot of work to learn how to sail these machines. In the AC45, we still see some extreme situations when teams lose control and capsize for example. As we get into the AC72, the main goal initially is to avoid breakage as we work the boat up and then get ourselves into a position to win the Cup for Sweden.
But I think that the competition will be very high. Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand, for example are two very strong opponents, bringing together highly experienced sailors. And as for ORACLE TEAM USA, if we are lucky enough to get to the America's Cup Finals - they are going to be very well prepared to defend the Cup."
Do you have any apprehension about the AC72? With only 11 crew on board surely it is going to be very challenging to sail?
JC: "It is normal and healthy to have some apprehension vis-à-vis the AC72 but I think very soon we will see that it is first and foremost just a multihull similar to those on which we have sailed a lot. When I participated in The Race in 2000-01 with Bruno Peyron (Energy Team boss) aboard the giant offshore multihulls, nobody believed it was possible. We will become familiar with this new class quickly too I think."
What is your first impression of San Francisco and the race course area, located between the famous Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz and the city shoreline?
TF: "I'm sure the show will be incredible for those who come down to see the AC72s racing. The typical summer conditions on the Bay can be harsh - strong winds and currents, choppy waves, but that's what will make it spectacular to watch."
Thierry Fouchier, 43, married, 2 daughters, lives in Marseille
Fourth America's Cup campaign
- 2010 - Winner of the 33rd America's Cup with BMW Oracle Racing. First French sailor to win the America's Cup
- 2007 - Victory Challenge (spinnaker trimmer)
- 2000 - 6th Sense (with Julien Cressant)
- 2001 - French Match Racing Champion, with skipper Bertrand Pacé
- 1991 - Winner of the Admiral's Cup
Julien Cressant, 39, married, one son, lives in Nice
Fourth America's Cup campaign
- 2008-09 - Team Origin, mast (the British team raced in the Louis Vuitton Trophy)
- 2007 - Oracle BMW Racing, mast
- 2003 - Areva Challenge, mast
- 2000 - 6th Sense, mast (with Thierry Fouchier)
- Four seasons on the 60-foot trimaran ORMA circuit