Top European sailing website www.vsail.info continues their series of new-year interviews with sailing’s top personalities, Editor, Pierre Orphanidis catches up with Paul Cayard?nid=92877, CEO of Artemis Racing, the 34th America’s Cup Challenger of Record.
The 34th America's Cup will be Cayard's seventh campaign. In this first part of a longer interview he gives an update on his team and comments on the latest developments in the America’s Cup, including Ben Ainslie joining Oracle Racing and the important decisions of the Jury that, in his view, deal a serious blow to Emirates Team New Zealand’s alliance with Luna Rossa.
VSail.info: When we talked a little bit more than three months ago, I asked you whether you were contemplating having two AC45 yachts, like Oracle Racing at that stage, and your answer was that your budget didn’t allow you to do that. I now see that you have a second AC45 yacht. What has changed since then?
Paul Cayard:To be honest with you, our owner Torbjorn Tornqvist was always pretty convinced we should have two AC45 yachts. After the San Diego event it was pretty obvious how dominant Oracle Racing was all of a sudden. Before that, Emirates Team New Zealand, Oracle Racing and Artemis Racing were more or less competitive against each other in Plymouth and Cascais. However, in San Diego Oracle was really on a different level and they just came off three weeks of sailing in San Francisco with the other two AC45's out of four they have. Torbjorn has been on me for a long time to get a second AC45 and after San Diego it became a priority for the team.
The other thing is that there was supposed to be an event in January and when that went away there was, of course, a bigger gap in the schedule which allowed for more training, if you have two boats. If you only have one boat it’s not as good. I didn’t mean to mislead you in any way and I told you at that time we were definitely thinking about it. When these changes came along, we bought the second AC45.
I don’t remember if I had mentioned that in our previous talk?nid=92877 but, honestly, another factor was the crash we had with Green Comm in Plymouth. We had a damaged boat and we had to repaint the spare ACRM boat so that her hull matched up with our port hull. When we went to the expense of all that, it would have been money thrown away because we would have been obliged to repaint that hull back to white in order to give it back to ACRM. Instead, we bought that whole boat (Serial number 10) and that actually had the effect of saving Green Comm 20,000 to 30,000 euros because if we had to implement the original solution that would have been another cost on the Green Comm bill.
VSail.info: Now that you have two AC45 yachts what is the schedule for the three months leading to the Naples event? I suppose you will be training here in Valencia.
Paul Cayard: Exactly. As you know, the boats are in Valencia right now, in our Sagunto base, and we will start training on January 27th with both boats. We plan on really focusing on that for three weeks and do a very intensive two-boat program. We will try to raise our game within the AC45 events and we will certainly be aiming at winning one or two of them in 2012. We have won one of the first three, we want to be a front runner and we recognize we need to raise our game a little bit there.
VSail.info: A recent development in the America’s Cup was a Jury decision regarding the alliance between Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa. If I’m not mistaken your team was the first to ask the Jury to rule on that cooperation between the two challengers. I have to admit I’m not aware of the details of that issue or what is at stake. Can you talk about it? Are you satisfied with the Jury’s ruling?
Paul Cayard: Yes, we are satisfied. The Jury ruled in line with our thinking which is that Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand cannot do what they said they would do. You haven’t read a lot about it because, basically, the ruling went against them and Grant Dalton hasn’t been speaking about that one as much as he’s speaking about the ones that go his way. It’s a big knock against them and they can’t sail the two boats against each other. It’s a big knock against their plans but it’s completely logical and it’s what Oracle Racing and we always believed to be the case and now the Jury confirmed that.