Artemis skipper offers America’s Cup insight

Artemis in practice action on the Solent
Artemis in practice action on the Solent
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Royals - The Ducke of Edinburgh sailing off Cowes in his chartered yacht Yeomann XXII

THIS WEEK IN 1979: Racing royals set sail in the Solent

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Nathan Outteridge has given a glimpse into what the competitors will be going through as they take to the Solent this weekend.

The 29-year-old Australian is the skipper of the Swedish team – Artemis Racing – which also includes Emsworth’s own Ian Percy in its ranks.

Not only are you doing very physical work, you are on a platform that is shaking underneath you and you’ve got a fire hose in your face.

Nathan Outteridge

The sport will be a whole new spectacle to the thousands of spectators flocking to the shoreline this weekend.

But Outteridge – who won a gold medal in the London 2012 Olympics along the coast at Weymouth in the 49er class – offered some valuable insight into the America’s Cup.

He said: ‘The guys at the front – their heart rate is 180 beats per minute the whole way round so it’s pretty full on.

‘Not only are you doing very physical work, you are on a platform that is shaking underneath you and you’ve got a fire hose in your face while you are trying to do delicate things with your hands.

‘The windier it is, the faster they go and the more intense it is.

‘These boats are pretty similar to what we had last time around but because they are foiling, they are a bit more complicated.

‘And foiling is basically where the boat is flying and it’s not in the water at all.

‘These boats foil down wind and we were going 35 knots in training, which is just over 40 miles per hour.

‘So they are pretty brutal.’

While you might expect years of intense training to work out the handling capabilities, the laid-back Aussie shrugged off the fact that he only set foot on the boat last week.

He said: ‘We’ve only sailed the boat for five days so it’s all pretty new.

‘So we are trying to get through the teething issues.

‘It’s similar but different, if that makes any sense.

‘But we’ve seen huge improvements very quickly. I’d say we are getting 50-per-cent better every day with it.’

And it seems the competitors are all seemingly trying to learn lessons from each other.

Outteridge said: ‘We will also have a look at the other teams to try to work out what they are doing.

‘We will video them, watch them and copy them. The rules allow it.

‘But it’s not just us. We had the Team New Zealand boat following us around all day on Monday.’

And while the skipper insisted there is nothing to learn from his success in Weymouth just 55 nautical miles away, he is leaning on Percy for some inside information.

He said: ‘Portsmouth is completely different to Weymouth.

‘You can’t take any local knowledge into this one, but Ian knows his way around these parts.

‘He is a great sailor and grew up around these parts in Emsworth.

‘He is very important for us – he is the figurehead for the team.

‘So being able to bark orders at him every now and then is quite fun!’