I am in the middle of a two week stint in Valencia, Spain working mostly with the Artemis Racing technical team which is based here. Juan Kouyoumdjian (Juan K) has his office here with about 20 engineers and since Juan is our lead designer, we built a lot of our structure around Valencia. We are also going to build our wings here and do our first sailing in the new AC72 Class from a sailing base here.
While technology is great these days with email, Skype and Gotomeeting, etc., there is no substitute for being somewhere in person. One of the features of this America’s Cup is what I call “decentralization”. Our technical team is here in Valencia, there will be boatbuilding in Sweden, the sailing team is all over the world…(currently in New Zealand), the America’s Cup itself will take place in San Francisco, thus creating an environment that produces synergy for the team is a big challenge in and of itself. It was all much easier when everyone just moved to one venue for three years as in the “old days” of the Cup. So I travel a lot…what’s new.
Apart from all the scientific part, we are currently working on locating our sailing base. There are a few venues we are investigating and it is interesting trying to imagine what we will and will not be able to do with this boat where you can’t drop the sails to come into the dock. Running down the “cattle shoot” of the America’s Cup harbor here in a nice summer southeasterly sea breeze, at 30 knots because there is no way “ease the main” to slow the thing down, could be a little more exciting than we want. BMW ORACLE was based in the commercial port a year ago when they had there 185 foot winged triamaran. That is not really an option for us but there are other choices.
The Artemis Racing sailing team is in Auckland (another ex AC city) training in our new AC45 catamaran. This new boat will race 8 events over the next year in the America’s Cup World Series. The ACWS is a world tour that will take place every year with the Cup boats. We are starting with these 45 footers as no one has the 72’s ready yet. The 72’s will debut on the World Series in August of 2012 in San Francisco. The idea of the World Series is to feature the America’s Cup boats and sailors on a regular basis. Then once every three years, there will by the America’s Cup itself, thereby preserving the uniqueness of that event.
On a personal note, I have been trying to track down my first sailboat which my father built for me, in the garage of our house in San Francisco, in 1967. I finally found it being well looked after by a couple living just outside of Sacramento, in the Sierra foothills. They were willing to part with the boat and yesterday, my parents drove up there an picked it up. The US National Sailing Hall of Fame wants the boat so my Dad will refinish it, to museum quality and then we will present it to the museum later this year. I am excited for my Dad as it is a nice way to memorialize what a great thing he did for his 8 year old son.