Paul Cayard, skipper of Artemis and president of the WSTA (World Sailing Teams Association) talked to ValenciaSailing.com from La Maddalena about the recent successes of his team but also the latest developments in the Louis Vuitton circuit and the possible future developments in the America's Cup.
Cayard gave some interesting hints on how the 34th America's Cup could play out. Firstly, he prefers the Cup to take place in 2013 and sees the teams starting the construction of their new yachts around June 2011 in view of a March 2012 launch.
Valencia Sailing: Artemis has shown an upward trend in the Louis Vuitton regattas, seventh in Nice, then fourth in Auckland and now at the top of the Round Robin. What is the key to this undeniable progress?
Paul Cayard: I think it's just the fact it takes a little bit of time to get 17 individuals to really work together as a team. In the afterguard we have all been through many scenarios, technical and boat-handling wise, and built a play book so that you know the answers to all the possible scenarios before they arise. You can therefore foresee them and execute. I know for myself and Terry during a couple of critical moments in racing here where we could foresee the situation coming 30 seconds beforehand and one word was enough communication between us in order to know exactly what to do and we always came at the upside of the situation.
That wasn't the case six months ago. I don't think there's anything mysterious here and it falls in line with why Team New Zealand has been so good for so long and they have been racing together for almost ten years. There's value in that.
Valencia Sailing: So, is it the Team New Zealand model you want to emulate on Artemis?
Paul Cayard: Certainly team cohesiveness and being used to sailing together are valuable and these are rules that apply to everybody. Look at Luna Rossa and BMW Oracle here in La Maddalena. It's not that all of a sudden Torben Grael or Ed Baird forgot to sail, it's just the fact they probably haven't sailed together before. There's a huge value in investing in a team.
Valencia Sailing: So, what is the next step for Artemis? Challenge for the 34th America's Cup?
Paul Cayard: Last year we started by forming a team that could be competitive and I now feel that we are. We might not perform as well as Team New Zealand but we can see we have made progress and we have a process to keep making progress. That gives us reason to go forward and become a challenger.
Valencia Sailing: The Round Robin is now over but it took exactly 13 days to accomplish that. Do you think that in La Maddalena the current format of the Louis Vuitton Trophies reached its limit with 4 boats and 10 teams, especially after the unfortunate crash at the beginning?
Paul Cayard: The short answer to that is yes, we could build in insurance so that we don't get so exposed. Obviously, after we had the accident that was bad because it not only changed the schedule and slowed everything down but, almost more important than that, it put the entire event at risk because if we had one more accident the event would be over. We have to find another way, maybe with 6 boats, and we are obviously discussing that in the WSTA board and we are going to find a solution to make the event more robust from that standpoint.
Valencia Sailing: Do you agree with Grant Dalton's recent statement that the boats in La Maddalena are 'substandard'?
Paul Cayard: No, I don't agree with that.
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