On Wednesday, July 24, Artemis’ Big Blue took to the Bay. With its hulls of royal blue and its crew in Swedish yellow toiling under the Swedish flag high atop the wing, Sweden spectacularly returned to the bay as one of the most beautiful and distinctive boats.

Two and a half months after losing his best friend and Olympic gold medal partner, Skipper Iain Percy could glance up from the racing to see the memorial ribbon emblazoned upon the huge wing of Artemis. While this could never replace his friend, the crew were all additionally motivated by his memory to compete for the America’s Cup.

Piloting the longboat were Nathan Outteridge as helmsman with Loïck Peyron as mentor and backup. During this debut of Big Blue the crew was repeatedly testing and gauging all aspects of the new craft’s speed, stress and strains prior to racing.
By end of the day Big Blue was foiling in 15kts of breeze, a tremendous achievement.

You could hear the thrill of the whole crew in Nathan Outteridge’s voice, as he reported how happy the team was to get the boat on the water and foiling. “It’s a massive tribute to all the guys who have been working so hard to get us back out there.”
Yet the crew is cautious in preparing to race the other contenders for the America’s Cup. There still is much to test and learn before Artemis can challenge Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa on the racecourse.

The team has marked the first day of the Louis Vuitton Cup semi-finals, August 6, as its target date for racing. Participation in any of the final LVC Round Robin races would be “an unexpected bonus.”
This is a realistic goal, as Outteridge explained because the other teams have logged 70-80 days of practice with their catamarans on the bay. “We’re a long way behind,” said Outteridge, “but today was a big day in terms of catching up.” They will move ahead prudently but as fast as they can.
Thursday (7/25) Artemis was scheduled to race Luna Rossa, but the Italians are expected to gain another point by sailing unopposed.

Ted Olsson
San Francisco

Photos & Captions
1) 01)22/55—13_044812_LVC2013.jpg
Swedish flag atop KSSS & Artemis pennants fly over Artemis hangar
2) 02)30/55—13_045621_LVC2013.jpg
Artemis Big Blue sails briskly on San Francisco Bay
3) 03)33/55—13_045616_LVC2013.jpg
wide solo shot of AR Big Blue foiling on SF Bay