The year before the America’s Cup is always a critical time. In many ways, it’s as important as the year to come. This is when we do the hard work on the design and development side to ensure we have the best possible equipment to take into battle this summer in Bermuda.
In the new model, America’s Cup teams have to be prepared to run two parallel programs: design and development on one hand, and racing in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series on the other.
The practice we get from the racing is important; it’s an opportunity to work on communication on board under race conditions and it’s also a fantastic team-building exercise. And not just for the sailors — the entire operation is put under the stress of competition. So for the shore crew and support staff, this is critical preparation ahead of the racing in Bermuda.
Of course, this time around, the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series offered more than just practice. Valuable points were at stake — bonus points awarded to the top two finishers to carry forward into the next stage of the event.
We finished up second overall — our team is disappointed we didn’t come out on top as that was our goal. But Ben Ainslie and the Brits won the final event in Fukuoka and they sailed well. I always say the scoreboard doesn’t lie. They deserved to win. Still, we learned some valuable lessons.