Artemis Racing have confirmed that 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 49er class, Nathan Outteridge (AUS) will be joining their team in its challenge for the 34th America's Cup.
Nathan Outteridge (left) and crew Iain Jensen (AUS) after winning Heat 2 of the Mens Skiff (49er) at the 2012 Olympics
Outteridge's departure from another America's Cup Challenger, Team Korea, was signalled yesterday, when the first-time America's Cup Challenger announced that Peter Burling (NZL) would be taking the helm of their AC45 in the next round of the America's Cup World Series, in San Francisco.
Outteridge (AUS) and Burling (NZL) were training partners in the 49er, going on to both win their Olympic medals ahead of the Medal Race in Weymouth.
Artemis Racing unload their AC72 in San Francisco
The Australian Gold Medalist helmed Team Korea to a stand-out third place overall in the first round of the ACWS held in San Francisco in late August. That effort was just two weeks after the Olympics, and with minimal time back into the AC45. Outteridge had helmed in four AC45 regattas for Team Korea, after being selected as a replacement for Chris Draper (GBR) who was also poached by another Challenger, Luna Rossa.
Both skippers are top 49er sailors, and have performed very well for the only Asian Challenger in the 34th America's Cup, regularly beating many of the more fancied teams.
Outteridge is believed to have had another offer from a second America's Cup team, but chose the Artemis Racing on the basis of assurances that he would have a level chance of helming their team's AC72 in the America's Cup Regatta, if he proves to be better than the Swedish team's marque helmsman, Terry Hutchinson.
To date Hutchinson's in fleet racing have been a little lack lustre in the AC45, however he has proven to be consistently successful in the match racing section of the America's Cup World Series. As the America's Cup Regatta is still a matchracing event, it would seem that Outteridge will have his work cut out, to beat Hutchinson's match racing prowess.
Artemis Racing’s marque skipper, Terry Hutchinson
Regardless of the possible internal jousting in the team, the signing of Outteridge, is a big success for the Swedish team. Outteridge will replace Santiago Lange, double Olympic medalist in the Tornado class, who only managed a ninth place overall in the last round of the ACWS, and was eliminated in the first round of the match racing.
Certainly Outteridge, a young talent fast on the rise, will bring a new level of internal competitive tension to Artemis Racing - a characteristic perceived to be lacking in the other teams, with the exception of Luna Rossa.
If properly managed that level of competition can really lift America's Cup teams who are heavily reliant on in-house racing. The new signing also provides clear balance Artemis Racing in terms of its structure, with two dedicated skippers under the tutelage of experienced America's Cup campaigner in the form of their CEO, Paul Cayard.
So often in America's Cup racing the strength of the so-called 'mushroom crew', has been the determinant of the America's Cup winner. ('Mushroom crew' was the self-effacing label given to the training and tune-up crew by Denis Conner's long time training skipper, Jack Sutphen, as a reference to being kept in the dark and fed excrement.)
There has been no statement on Lange's future with the team, whether he will depart, or stay on in another capacity, drawing on his considerable multihull experience. While Artemis Racing has yet to sail its first AC72, they will require additional crew to run the second AC72 which cannot be launched until February 1, 2013.
Double Olympic medalist, Santiago Lange (ARG)
Quite how the team will build its AC72 crews has not been announced, however it is expected that two teams will be formed based around the two AC45's campaigned by the team, and those two core teams will have a dual role in the ACWS and have an AC72 each - with the core five expanding to 11 for each each 72.
In a statement issued by Artemis Racing, it was advised that Outteridge would begin training with the team next week in Alameda, San Francisco, in advance of the upcoming America’s Cup World Series in San Francisco where he will helm Artemis Racing – Red. Racing will take place from 3- 7 October, in conjunction with the Bay Area’s best known event, Fleet Week.
'Joining Artemis Racing is a great opportunity for me. Artemis is a solid team all around and I’m excited to join Terry Hutchinson and the sailing team for my first America’s Cup,' said Outteridge who has just arrived in San Francisco following the Farr 40 Worlds in Chicago.
'I think anytime you add a sailor of Nathan’s caliber to a team it’s a good thing. I’m anticipating that the experience we have here, balanced with his youth and enthusiasm, will be a good mix,' said Skipper Terry Hutchinson (USA).
'It’s great to have Nathan join Artemis. We have seen that his success in skiff and moth sailing have translated well in the AC45 racing. Nathan certainly has a bright future,' added Paul Cayard, CEO of Artemis Racing.
Artemis Racing website