Reception with Artemis CEO Paul Cayard on the upcoming 2012 America's Cup on San Francisco Bay.
With only three months to go before the 2012 America’s Cup races begin on San Francisco Bay, Artemis CEO Paul Cayard gave more than a hundred fans at a SACC-SF/SV reception a primer on the race. The reception was hosted by member Sedgwick LLP, the largest law firm in the city, with wines by Maybeck & Maybeck. This was the first of many events resulting from the partnership of SACC and Artemis Racing’s local team, both in San Francisco. The 2012 races will take place here from August 21-27, racing special 45-foot catamarans with huge wings rather than sails. Another AC race here is set for early October. [Correction: AC34 will race catamarans, not trimarans.]
Today not only is this race a feat of sailors and nations, but it also represents a history of sailing technology itself. The race is one of design and materials enhancing speed and skill. The AC has pioneered new nautical technologies and materials, such as carbon fiber materials and components that are 25 percent lighter per square meter than what had come before. Every Cup raises the bar upon which materials can be used. This year’s race is history in the making—employing technologies, materials, designs and skills never before combined.
Last time Ellison won with a trimaran. This round he defined the race as between catamarans on San Francisco Bay: 45-foot ones in 2012; the more daunting 72-foot ones next year for the championship. To share the daring of this sport with a wider audience, the finals will be held on San Francisco Bay because the America’s Cup (AC34) is now hosting the quadrennial event in “stadium cities”—that is, ones where the entire race can be viewed live by huge audiences on land with plenty of broadcast technology to enhance the race for the audience, locally and internationally, in an urban location with plenty of convention facilities and nearby attractions.
Thanks to advances in design, materials and other technologies—the synthesis of faster hulls attaining higher speeds on this shorter course—the excitement will be magnified and more intense. Races may be over in 30 to 45 minutes, with straight runs of only several minutes and lots of turns and maneuverings. All these conditions increase the dangers for boats and sailors. (Four or five boats capsized during the races in Plymouth, England. If the AC45s tip over, the crew may fall 10 feet; the AC72s, however, will catapult their crews from 50 feet high.)
Following the last of the 2012 34th America’s Cup World Series team qualifying races in Newport, RI on July 1, the race moves to San Francisco Bay for two sets of races. First, from August 21-27, this year’s finals with the 45-foot catamarans will coincide with San Francisco’s annual Fleet Week visit from the US Navy. So, we can expect some awesome shows from the navy’s ships and their Blue Angels’ flyovers welcoming the America’s Cup contestants. But winning in 2012 is no guarantee for 2013 because the 72-foot catamarans are totally different from the AC45s.
During the 2013 finals on San Francisco Bay the host of challengers will first compete among themselves in elimination heats for the right to challenge the champion. The winning challenger wins the Louis Vuitton Cup and advances to the finals against the Champion Oracle/BMW boat. The LV challenge begins on September 7, 2013 on San Francisco Bay in 72-foot catamarans (AC72s) with 13-storey wings (130-feet tall!), bigger than the wing on some airplanes.
How does one design such winged boats? And with such a huge and heavy wing, even with an outrigger, how do you keep the craft from flipping? One solution is extending a dagger board below the keel. Perhaps that, too, must be specially designed and adaptable.Then there’s the matter of keeping secret the competitive advantages of your winning design. Taking a lesson from marine biology, one team camouflage painted their unique daggers so as to fool anyone viewing them from above water.
The Artemis team is fortunate to have Argentinian Juan Kouyoumdjian as their principal designer. According to AC rules, both the hull and wing must be manufactured in the nation represented by the boat. Once manufactured and launched there, however, the boats can practice anywhere. Juan K, as he is affectionately known, is a winning designer in the last two Volvo Open Ocean Races. This 40-year-old designer leads a team of 30 engineers and researchers for Artemis.
In America’s Cup racing all technical specifications are defined and all racing rules are prescribed. Like all teams, Artemis is highly computerized with tools to build and test their models as well as finite analysis to examine aspects of the boat, race, course and conditions. Using computational fluid dynamics teams are able to determine which shapes are optimal: from the bulbous bow for downwind to the knife prow that can slice the waves upwind. Each team is allowed to design its own jibs and gennickers (customized spinnakers). In addition to modeling their boats, the computers test multiple scenarios of strategy and tactics. Within these confines the team with the best equipment, experience, preparation and wit-tempered daring will win.
This year the traditional mainsail has been replaced by a wing. The wings are laminated and more layers are added when teams discover hot (weak) spots. The wing must catch the greatest amount of wind without breaking. In his talk, Cayard acknowledged teammate Melinda’s crucial contribution for the team by finding a loophole in the rules. This allowed Artemis to use the huge sail (2800 square feet) on a smaller craft, which provided the team with significant additional time for learning the dynamics of this critical component for the final races. They could use this AC72 wing until July 2012 on a surrogate boat, since the rules did not say anything about using it on trimarans. They are only restricted from using it on catamarans that will run in the actual races. So, whereas the competition won’t use this wing on catamarans until July, the Artemis team has been gaining experience and gathering data using the wing on a trimaran since April. In these trimarans, propelled by 13-storeys of wind, they’re achieving speeds almost three times that of the wind (26 knots in 10 knots of wind)!
Late last month, Artemis stated that the wing’s mast on their test craft had snapped landing on the boat without hurting any of the crew. While it does not affect their AC45 racing in this year's series, it sends them back to analyzing their design, materials and manufacturing process for the larger sail of the AC72s. It is fortunate they can fix and use this wing, since teams are only allowed a total of three wings. Still, this fortunate fall is a learning experience from which they can gain valuable lessons in repairing and strengthening the wing, while their opponents have yet to use the tall wings.
Imagine attaching the mast of this wing onto the craft itself. This is a non-trivial feat, requiring a huge crane first to haul upright the wing, then lift it onto the boat, and then lift the combined boat and wing into the water. To haul the wing from their workshop to dockside, Artemis had to invent a series of carts for the crew to haul the wing to the boat. To date, Artemis has invented five proprietary carts, each one better than the first; Oracle has bought their original model to haul its wings for its two racing hulls.
The wing is all hydraulic because a mechanical system has too much stretch. No stored power is allowed on the boat—neither engines nor stored pumps. So, powering the hydraulics requires instant and incredible manpower. The team relies on strong men, “grinders,” cranking their pulleys, to switch from pumping the winches with their muscles to pressurizing the valves for the wing’s hydraulic pumps. There are 36 hydraulic cylinders in each wing.
The teams would have preferred discovering all the right settings for each cylinder per tenths of a knot and then having a computer adjust the settings according to the speed and conditions, but these boats sail only by wind and mind and muscle.
As you can imagine, such boats require a much higher caliber of athleticism of the crews. And the crews differ according to the size of the boats: The AC45s can only have a crew of five people; the AC72s, eleven people. For comparison, the previous America’s Cup races had crews twice as large. Even the total weight of the crew is strictly prescribed. The crews must average 200 pounds; so each man must rigorously manage his own weight and body fat, much as a prize fighter or jockey.
These superb athletes train for peak performance and endurance, trying constantly during interval trainings to break their lactic acid threshold, that would stop lesser athletes. But they are pursuing new standards and proudly exceeding previous rigors. The team’s trainer has a program designed for each crew member, appropriate to the man, to his role and to the boat. They train both aerobically and anaerobically to endure incredible stress on their bodies, while being agile enough to rapidly dash from one side of the boat to the other as necessary to keep the boat on the water, rather than flipped into the water. During heart training these athletes will typically reach 65 percent of maximum; yet during a race they have been monitored at 91 percent of maximum.
Cayard spoke of Sweden’s proud tradition in the America’s Cup competitions. The Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS: Kungliga Svenska Segel Sällskapet) was founded in 1861 and is the second oldest yachting club in Europe. Pelle Petterson is Sweden’s legendary sailor and designer of competition sailing craft, and Sweden has participated in five or six previous America’s Cup competitions. It is fortunate that Artemis Racing’s founder, Torbjörn Törnqvist, is both a wealthy businessman and superb athlete—a world-class tennis player and an avid, international sailor—because entry into the race costs at least $60-$100 million just to buy the boats and hire the team. After that there is no limit, but a team can only build two boats. Törnqvist launched his challenge for the Cup in 2010, with Pelle as his inspiration. His team and boat is named after the Greek goddess Artemis (Roman, Diana), the huntress who loves the chase—appropriate for boats typically regarded by sailors as female beauties, temptresses or lovers.
Cayard’s home club, San Francisco’s St. Francis Yacht Club, created a junior program in the mid-'70s. Promising young sailors (ages 16 to 22) are able to participate with the team. At the end of the week of intense practice and learning, they will race with the St. Francis Yacht Club. Around the time of Fleet Week, young Swedish sailors and their parents will arrive in San Francisco for the privilege of similar intense practice, by sailing a 420.
San Francisco Bay
Remarking on the venue of San Francisco Bay as a perfect nautical stadium for sailing, Cayard explained that the 2012 and 2013 races will run several configurations of a course between the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge on the city’s side of Treasure Island and Alcatraz. Piers 27-29 will become the America’s Cup Village; while Piers 30-32 on the other side of the Ferry Building will be the Teams Bases, housing the boats, from where they will be launched. With the best sailors in the world racing similar craft after having practiced for a month or so on the course, the racing will be very even and competitive.
If Artemis wins the America’s Cup, the trophy will go to Sweden. Since Törnqvist and the America’s Cup Authority believe fundamentally in making the AC exciting by involving as many people as possible—just as in this AC in San Francisco—they choose the venue based upon a perfect “sailing stadium,” where as many as 1.5 million people can view the race.
Other than its bay, additional factors in choosing San Francisco were that it is a big convention city which can handle the crowds, and the Bay Area has many places for visitors to visit and enjoy. Even without the added attraction of the America’s Cup, San Francisco is fun. Oh, and perhaps there is one other critical detail in the choice of San Francisco: Ellison lives and works here in Silicon Valley.
Partnering with Artemis
After having explained the details of the race, Cayard turned to the opportunity for companies in the U.S.—both Swedish and those doing business with Sweden—to profit from partnering with Artemis.
The team is currently preparing their presentations for commercial partners for this race. They need companies both in Sweden and in the U.S. to partner with, and because this race draws millions of viewers, not unlike NASCAR or the Super Bowl, it offers a tremendous opportunity for company recognition. Anyone wishing to inquire about such partnering should contact the team’s head of sponsorship, Andrea Tagliamacco (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the team’s website www.artemisracing.com. There are many different types and levels of involvement: branding, hospitality, team engagement, and using Artemis’ name or image with the partner’s own corporate brand.
The team can provide local hospitality at the St. Francis Yacht Club, which is situated right on “the fifty yard line” of the race course. Or, high-level partners might experience a ride in the rubber chase boat. You could also be the focus of everyone’s envy: The most coveted privilege is “the 6th-man experience,” riding on the competition boat in training or even in a race; not even NASCAR or football can offer a similar experience. Additional opportunities are attending team building days and hiring Cayard or other Artemis speakers for motivational or organizational speeches or corporate appearances. You can’t lose teaming with the world-class sailors of Artemis Racing.
Entering Newport, RI, the Champion U.S. team Oracle/BMW (Jerry Spithill, skipper) leads the Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker) by four points. However, whereas Oracle and New Zealand dominated the first three events of the AC World Series, Sweden’s Artemis came on strong in the second half to win both Venice and Naples and now has momentum, leaving Artemis Racing (Terry Hutchinson) in third ahead of France’s Energy Team (Loïck Peyron) by six points. The final day of the Newport contest, July 1, will be covered by NBC.
There are three types of racing: 1) Fleet Racing, when the entire fleet races as a whole; 2) Match Racing, when only two nations’ boats race against each other for seeding placement; and 3) Speed Racing, which does not count in the standings but is a favorite of the spectators, when rather than racing through the turns on the course, the boats race straight to claim the fastest speed. But the winner takes all on Sunday, July 1. Because Artemis Racing won the last two races on the tour circuit, a good result in Newport could move Artemis Racing into second place for the season, next to the Champion. Terry Hutchinson has spent a lot of time in Newport racing other boats, so he is familiar with its great race course and lots of underwater obstacles. With plenty of current and shifting winds, Newport is rather like Plymouth, which had four boats capsize this year. We’ll know beginning in July, after which they all come to San Francisco for the big show.
~Ted Olsson, San Francisco