Tuesday, March 15, 2011

ARTEMIS' CEO UPDATES ON TEAM'S PROGRESS



SailBlast caught up with Paul Cayard after Katusha’s win at the ORACLE RC44 Cup San Diego. We talked about what’s happening at Artemis Racing and how the Team is coming together…

How’s the transition from the RC44 to the AC45?

PC: I have only sailed the AC45 the one day down in New Zealand. Terry Hutchinson is the guy to ask about multi hulls because he’s done a big transition program. He’s been training on the Extreme 40 for a few months now. The little bit of multi hull sailing I did do when I was in NZ was very interesting. I steered the boat for about three hours and it requires a lot of focus and concentration. Essentially you’re trying to sail the boat with the windward hull just skimming the water and it’s a very narrow groove to keep the boat in and the boat’s going very fast all the time so things happen quickly. I’m sure when you’re good at it, it becomes second nature but for me at this point it was just total concentration. I was quite worn out. I said to the guys, “Gees, if we race four or five races a day like this we’re going to be exhausted.”

Will you helm at all in the next Cup?

PC: No, I’m not thinking of steering at all. Terry’s going to be the helmsman and I’m the CEO. We’re all trying to be utilized in our highest and best use. With my experience, I think I’m in the right spot being the CEO and leader of the team. Terry’s a very accomplished sailor and in his prime, he’ll do a great job of being helmsman. I will sail some because I also plan to have a pretty active role in helping to develop the boats because that’s the experience I have. We have excellent people - we’ve hired Iain Percy for example, who is a double gold medalist in the Star and the Finn, we have Santiago Lange who is a double silver medalist in the Tornado - we have some very good athletes on the Team and that’s their job to concentrate 100% on being good sailors. If I’m doing my job well as CEO for the team I don’t have time to put that much time into sailing. There comes a time when you have to let certain parts go and concentrate on what you do and what you bring to the team and being a CEO is what I’m doing this time.

What’s the Team’s near term priority?

PC: We now have our AC45, which is getting rigged up and will be launched about March 19 in New Zealand. We’ll spend a month there training and getting used to the boat. We’re beginning the construction phases of our AC72, however it won’t be launched until early next year. We have a huge R&D project going on - our design offices are based in Spain. There’s a big body of work going on over there with about 40 people. We have 65 people on the team now so we’re a truly operating team. It’s been a big job gluing the team together with the management, communications and all the administrative functions that you have to have to run a company like this. We were a virtual start up so we have a lot of legal things - we have Melinda Erkelens on board as legal counsel who was previously with ORACLE, Chris Perkins as CFO who was with America One and ORACLE, and Bob Billingham, COO who was also with America One and ORACLE. We have an experienced management team but still it’s a start up and interesting issues this time with the World Series being sailed in different parts of the world. As a team we operate in different jurisdictions with a big part of the team in Spain but eventually we’ll be racing in the US…you get the picture. Administratively and managerially coordinating the group and contractually having things buttoned up is a big amount of work unto itself. That’s the body of work that nobody watching the race ever thinks about.

Has organizing a team necessarily become more sophisticated?

PC: Yeah, like everything in life, the ante just keeps going up. I woke up one day in January and said, you know, I want to work on our management the same way one would work on design, or the way in which Terry is working on the sailing. I want to put that kind of effort into having the best management team in the America’s Cup so I’ve dedicated myself to that these past few months. We started with a retreat we did with a management consulting firm call Bonfire and we had a big all-team meeting a week or so after that. We had the top ten managers on the team for a retreat, had an all team meeting in Valencia for three days - we’re getting our act together. It’s a challenge because we’re very decentralized. All teams are really. It’s one thing if everybody would move to Valencia or move to San Francisco for a couple of years and just park there but it’s very challenging to keep that team atmosphere, efficiency, management and organization when you’re spread out all over the world.

Certainly it’s early days yet, but as a Bay Area guy, how would it feel if Artemis won AC34 & took the Cup to Sweden?

PC: I don’t know for sure what Torbjorn Tornqvist’s (Chairman, Artemis Racing), has told the Royal Swedish Yacht Club. My guess is that being responsible for hosting the next Cup is something that Torbjorn would take very seriously. There’s a huge commercial aspect to running a successful America’s Cup. If he feels like it can be done in Sweden, I am sure he’ll do it there. If he thinks SF has proven to be a great model he might entertain the idea of keeping it in SF. I’m not sure it’s necessarily a foregone conclusion if we win the America’s Cup that it’ll go to Sweden - but I have to be clear, I don’t know what commitment Torbjorn has made to the yacht club.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment