Artemis Racing claimed a dramatic victory in the final Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series event of the year.
The team headed to Bermuda with plenty to prove, and after racing was abandoned on Saturday, three races were scheduled for Sunday.
Team Manager and Tactician, Iain Percy, spoke of his relief after a trying few months.
"I'm very proud of the team. We had a lot of pressure to perform. I know perfectly well that we have a talented enough team to win these events, but things haven’t gone our way, we’ve hit the odd rock and capsized, and suddenly everyone was questioning us.
To deliver under that heat, and under the circumstances of the crash, was pretty impressive".
Artemis Racing made a great start in race one, and led most of the way before being pipped by Oracle Team USA at the finish line. In the pre-start of race two, with just a few minutes of the countdown left, the team was involved in a collision with an Umpire boat, incurring serious damage, and it appeared that Artemis Racing would be knocked out of the event.
Just moments before the starting gun fired, the team ducked behind the Japanese boat, and as Outteridge turned up towards the line, he was confronted with an Umpire boat heading directly towards him. The closing speed would have been in excess of 25 knots.
“At that point we couldn’t go anywhere,” Outteridge explained. “He went straight between our bows but thankfully nobody was hurt. There was a serious amount of damage to our boat though.”
Iain Percy said, “my first thought was for the safety of the umpires on the boat, we were all pretty shaken up”.
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Percy reflect on victory in Bermuda
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Percy (Official FB) reflect after a dramatic day of racing on the Great Sound in Bermuda, after claiming victory at the final America's Cup event of the year.Posted by Artemis Racing on Sunday, October 18, 2015
The Artemis Racing squad stripped off the broken bowsprit and the now useless Code Zero sail in record time. After a quick check for reliability and with less than two minutes to spare, the team lined up for the next start. Incredibly, they blasted off the starting line with more speed than anyone else and won not only the start but also the second race.
Outteridge continued, “We owned that start… It was huge payback for all the hard work from the guys who stripped the gear off, checked the boat, and got us ready just in time.”
Iain Percy spoke of his admiration for his Skipper, "There really was no time for pep talks, and we were frantically ripping carbon and rope off the boat trying to clear it. Before we had a moment to breath, it was 1:30 to the start.
I have to say, what Nathan Outteridge displayed there, is why everyone says he’s so talented. I’m not sure there are many people in the world that could have showed that composure and nailed the start the way he did, absolutely incredible".
In the third and final race, the Swedish team needed to make a pass on the last leg, and pulled off a fantastic foiling gybe to grab a fourth place finish and secure the points needed to win the regatta.
Winning the Bermuda event means that Artemis Racing rises to fourth place in the overall series rankings, and puts an important marker down in the venue for the 35th America's Cup in 2017.
"To be the first team to win an event in Bermuda, the venue of the next America’s Cup is just great for our team. We love it here; we’ve been training here all year, getting ready for the main event in 2017. Our results elsewhere haven’t been great but all that matters is how well we sail in this venue", said Outteridge.
It was an important victory for the team who struggled in the first two events in Portsmouth and Gothenburg, and Iain Percy spoke of what it will mean for the wider group.
"We’re a big team, and for every one of the sailors to go out today and perform, is a real boost going into the winter. You can’t buy that; you can’t put a value on a team knowing 100% that they are here to win this competition. Everyone will be working that little bit harder, and we’re going to have that little spring in our step through the whole winter. It’s going to project us towards winning in 2017".
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda Results
1. Artemis Racing: 2 – 1 – 4 – 52 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand: 5 – 2 – 1– 50 points
3. ORACLE TEAM USA: 1 – 3 – 5 – 48 points
4. Land Rover BAR: 3 – 6 – 2 – 44 points
5. SoftBank Team Japan: 4 – 4 – 3 – 44 points
6. Groupama Team France: 6 – 5 – 6 – 32 points