Iain Percy, the Artemis Racing team manager and tactician, said that winning the first America’s Cup race in Bermuda has reinvigorated the team’s bid to win the “Auld Mug” in 2017.
The Swedish challenger won last weekend’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda in the Great Sound by a two-point margin over overall series leaders Emirates Team New Zealand.
“We’re a big team and for every one of the sailors to go out and perform is a real boost going into the winter,” Percy, the Olympic gold medallist, said.
“Everyone will be working that little bit harder, and we’re going to have that little spring in our step through the whole winter. It’s going to project us towards winning in 2017.”
Artemis’ victory was much needed after disappointing showings at the first two World Series legs in Portsmouth and Gothenburg, which were plagued by damaged rigging, a capsize and a charred daggerboard foil after running aground.
“I know perfectly well that we have a talented enough team to win these events, but things haven’t gone our way,” Percy added. “We’ve hit the odd rock and capsized, and suddenly everyone was questioning us. I’m very proud of the team.
Artemis’ victory did not come without drama as the Swedish challenger’s foiling AC45F catamaran was involved in a collision with an umpire boat with Bermudian official Peter Shrubb on board.
Just moments before the starting gun fired for the second race, Artemis ducked behind rivals SoftBank Team Japan and when they turned up towards the line were confronted with an umpire boat heading directly towards them.
“My first thought was for the safety of the umpires on the boat,” Percy said. “We were all pretty shaken up.”
The collision left Artemis’ boat badly damaged. But the team were able to soldier on after stripping off the broken bowsprit and genneker in quick time and against considerable odds went on to claim victory in the second race.
“There really was no time for pep talks, and we were frantically ripping carbon and rope off the boat trying to clear it,” Percy said. “Before we had a moment to breath, it was 1.30 to the start.”
Artemis still had some work to do in the third and final race with the regatta still wide open.
But on this occasion Percy and his team-mates would not be denied their moment in the spotlight, passing Oracle Team USA on the final leg to secure the points needed to win the regatta.
This story appeared in The Royal Gazette on October 22nd, 2015.