While the team waits to learn the rules for the 35th America’s Cup, it is keeping busy on the water, racing in other classes.
Speaking from Puerto Calero, Lanzerote, where Artemis Racing is competing in the RC44 World Championships, Team Manager Iain Percy says they will continue competing and developing as the next Cup takes shape.
“We’re keen to do the next one,” Percy confirmed. “Like everyone, we’re waiting, but that’s not a complaint. We’ve had good contact and consultation with Russell Coutts and the ORACLE guys. We’re very supportive of what we saw at the end of the last event. I think we all agree the America’s Cup Final took sailing to another level.”
Percy says Artemis Racing owner Torbjörn Törnqvist is a big fan and is keen to back the team for another challenge.
“We’re looking forward to the next one and putting our team together. Our aim is to become the best team for the next decade,” he says.
So Artemis is quietly going about its business, recruiting talent for the next America’s Cup, although Percy isn’t ready to make any announcements yet. He notes the competition for talent is ‘ferocious’ with the potential for more teams looking to get in on the next America’s Cup.
“The final proved to be so good that there are likely to be more teams wanting to be involved in the next one. And there is a limited number of people with experience on both the design and the sailing side which has led to a bit of a ferocious transfer market, to borrow a term from soccer.
“At Artemis we’ve been very targeted. We’ve been very quiet and so far we’ve been very successful at forming a team that we think will be the best over a long period of time.”
To that end, Percy says the involvement of owner Torbjörn Törnqvist is invaluable.
“He is a very keen and competitive sailor himself and that’s great because it allows us to get out on the water and race with him and stay involved with him and that’s very important. Torbjörn’s input is incredibly wise and in my experience, he’s never been off the money, so spending time with him is very important. But he’s such a busy guy that’s not always easy. Racing with him gives us that time together.”
The biggest challenge for Percy in his role leading the team is to maintain the spirit and camaraderie that was generated in the final months of the challenge as the team pulled together following the tragic death of Andrew Simpson. Rebuilding their second boat, configuring it for foiling and getting man and machine into race trim in time to compete in the semi finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup, in the face of such adversity, took a herculean effort.
“I think we were more productive in those final months than any team I’ve been involved with,” Percy says. “We very much still have that and we have many of the same people involved. And to me that’s a big part of the challenge. We have to build that vibrant, creative, environment of people working well together for a long period of time and I’ll be surprised in anyone can match what we have in that respect.”