Team New Zealand have lost a key designer to Artemis as syndicates firm up their design teams ahead of the release of the new class rules.
Oracle Team USA are expected to release the protocol for the 35th America's Cup - likely to be in August 2017 - in March and teams will be aiming to have their design personnel in place and ready to get to work as soon as the class rules have been confirmed.
Emirates Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton told the Herald on Sunday late last year they had managed to retain all key members of the 34th Cup campaign, with the exception of "an important designer". The identity of that designer was unknown until Artemis announced two key appointments to their design team over the weekend.
The Swedish team, whose first America's Cup challenge was effectively brought to an end by a horrific training accident on San Francisco Bay less than two months out from the start of the regatta, have secured Thiha Win, a mechanical systems engineer for Team NZ in the 2013 America's Cup, and former Oracle designer Michel Kermarec.
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Win joined Team NZ after stints with Luna Rossa and Oracle, where he was a member of the design team that produced the giant 90ft trimaran that blitzed Alinghi in the Deed of Gift challenge in 2010. Kermarec, who specialises in performance prediction and appendage design, also helped with that design project and was retained by Oracle Team USA for their successful defence of the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco last year.
The next America's Cup is expected to once again be raced in foiling catamarans, but in a bid to try to curb costs that ballooned out to more than $120 million in the last Cup, Oracle have signalled the boat will likely be smaller with more one-design elements. Although some parts of the design will be standardised, it is still expected to be a complex project.
"We hope this next America's Cup will be racing on foiling catamarans and continue to excite sailors, designers and general public alike. I'm extremely excited to be joining such a talented group of sailors and designers, and look forward to pushing myself to the limits to find success with Artemis Racing," said Win.
Artemis Racing said in a statement they are building a team based on experience, talent and collaboration.