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America's Cup- Emirates Team NZ score top international design talent

by Richard Gladwell on 22 Apr 2011
Pete Melvin, Emirates Team New Zealand designers group for the 34th America’s Cup Catamaran. Chris Cameron/ETNZ http://www.chriscameron.co.nz

Emirates Team New Zealand have named some of their 30 strong team have assembled for the 34th America's Cup.

The group was named yesterday, and has been on the project for over six months. It is now obvious that the initial funding to which the team had access ahead of securing major sponsor backing, has been used to pull together a very strong multi-national design team.

Sources close to the team, told Sail-World yesterday that it would not have been possible in the time now available to pull together such a strong team and do the required design work ahead of the launch of the first AC72 next year.

It is clear that the ground work has been done to put together a very formidable America's Cup Challenge.

An impressive feature of the team is the mix of domain specialists, together with those who understand how the whole catamaran platform, foils and wingsail work together - combined with some very impressive top level multihull sailing experience at Olympic and World Championship level.

The team named yesterday includes the top US multihull design partners Pete Melvin and Gino Morelli, instrumental in the design the trimaran used by BMW Oracle Racing to win the 33rd America's Cup. Both also extend back in the the 1988 Stars and Stripes campaign put together by Dennis Conner to defend against the Big Boat Challenge led by Michael Fay. Melvin has an impressive design and engineering background, with formal qualifications in Aerospace Engineering, backed up by six years as an aircraft design engineer at Boeing.

Gino Morellli is a self taught designer, with a similar design career to Melvin, given they are partners in the same design firm. He was also involved in Steve Fossett's Playstation - the 125ft round the world speed record holder, and worked on two 41ft Alinghi designs, plus C class catamaran wingsail design.


From Canada, Emirates Team New Zealand have signed Steve Killing and Magnus Clarke. Both are twice winners of the Little America's Cup - sailed in wingsailed 26ft catamarans to the International C class rule and recognised as the hotbed of the inshore multihull design innovation.

Clarke was also involved in the 2010 BMW Oracle Racing team as nightwatchman aboard the USA-17 trimaran.

Killing has also been involved heavily in the design of both Canada's Little America's Cup winners, in his role as head designer of the program - which involved wingsails, open foil design, and platform design. Killing comes off a 30 year design background, backed by an Engineering degree and with substantial previous America's Cup design involvement both for Team New Zealand and True North Challenge in 1987.

From Switzerland, comes Alinghi performance engineer, Luc Dubois who has been involved in the America's Cup since 2000. He is one of the inventors of the 3DL sail construction concept. The former Alinghi engineer, who has masters degrees in Geology and Geophysics has sailed since he was eight years old and represented Switzerland in the 470 class in the 1984 Olympics.


In the late 80's together with Jean-Pierre Baudet, he invented the revolutionary 3DL production system which is used by North Sails. 3DL Technology has gone on to dominate sailmaking in the America's Cup ever since.

'When we were developing 3DL in my parents' garage, we had no real understanding where it would lead to. Meanwhile North Sails was looking for something new and different. We happened to meet at the right time', he says on the Alinghi website.

Dubois stayed with Alinghi right through the America's Cup catamaran program in 2010, and brings to Emirates Team New Zealand a vital offset to the knowledge from that of BMW Oracle Racing and the two Canadian Little America's Cup programs.

World A-Class catamaran champion, World Tornado Champion and Olympic Silver medalist, Glenn Ashby (Australia) has a foot in several camps being coach for BMW Oracle Racing in 2010, a top sailmaker and leading catamaran helmsman and crew.

From France comes Herve Penfornis, with a mix of America's Cup, ORMA60 with Banque Populaire and IMOCA 60 experience.


Another designer with an interesting background is Daniel Bernasconi - possessor of a PhD in Fluid Dynamics and with experience in Maclaren Racing's Vehicle Modelling Group before moving across to Alinghi for the 2010 America's Cup.

The internationals on the design group complement the formidable existing Emirates Team New Zealand design group which includes the likes of Nick Holroyd, Giovanni Belgrano, Chris Miller, Burns Fallow, Steve Wilson, Marcelino Botin and many more.

The team is working in both New Zealand and other locations, however they will be assembling and working only in New Zealand in the coming months.

For most of the design team scroll down the release below

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