America’s Cup: Adjusting to the changes

Published on May 6th, 2015

Loïck Peyron competed in the very first Vendée Globe, skippered the fastest boat around the world and won the last singlehanded Route du Rhum. Loick knows ‘fast’, and in this interview with Yacht Racing Forum, shares some opinions about the America’s Cup from his role on the design team with challenger Artemis Racing…

How did you welcome the news of the boat changing from 62-feet to 48-feet?

It has a been a bit brutal, although we were kind of expecting it. We had done a lot of work on our 62’, which will, hopefully, not be useless… Under the leadership of Iain Percy, we were working on our systems, in order to manage our appendages and our wing, and we’ll keep doing this, just at a smaller scale.

Will this Cup be only accessible to a new generation of sailors?

Almost. Most of the guys who were sailing the previous Cups on ACC’s are now pre-retired on J-Class or super-yachts in Antigua. We’ve definitely lost the big-sailing-team aspect of the Cup. All you need now is a helmsman, a wing-trimmer and a group of hamsters to pump your hydraulics…maybe it’s gone a bit too far. Too much muscle and not enough brain, we’ll see. But luckily for the white hairs, this game, like many others, needs experience.

Are you personally in favor of those changes?

I guess it will be a transition, and I hope it will favor participation. I would personally prefer bigger boats, where the choreography and other unique skills are really important. Hopefully foiling boat speed and “spectacle quality” are not linked to the size. These changes in the Cup had to be done, even if some of them seem painful. We want to offer the best sport show ever, and it will be the case again.

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