America's Cup: Oracle Team USA design team powered by homegrown talent

Oracle Team USA - 35th America’s Cup
The America’s Cup winner, Oracle Team USA, has announced its design team for the 35th America’s Cup. while there are plenty of familiar faces , amongst the new ones are two former Emirates Team New Zealand designers.

These are Len Imas (USA) and Hal Youngren (USA), who worked with Team New Zealand during the previous Cup, contributing to the design of a Kiwi boat that came within one race of winning it all.

'It’s still amazing to think that the final was so close, and that it all came down to one last race,' Imas said. 'Now, it’s great to sit down with these guys, learn what they were thinking and to start work again with the new team.'

The 18 man design team features 11 Americans, as Oracle Team USA looks towards homegrown design and engineering expertise to successfully defend the next America’s Cup.

'We’ve collected a talented group of designers for this campaign and a majority of them are American,' said Australian Grant Simmer, who returns as General Manager of Oracle Team USA. 'We have a good mix of experience and expertise across the disciplines where we think the design challenge for this next America’s Cup will be contested.'

Among the returnees from previous campaigns, wing design manager Scott Ferguson (USA) is back for a third successive America’s Cup with Oracle Team USA. A collegiate All-American sailor, Ferguson has 30 years of design experience and is an expert in masts, spars, and now wing sails.

'It’s exciting to be back and trying for three in a row with Oracle Team USA,' Ferguson said. 'We know this is going to be a big challenge as the competition is always getting better. We’ll be working to a new class rule again with more constraints, but there should be a plenty of scope for innovation.'

The Oracle Team USA design team met as a group for the first time in San Francisco this week and is eagerly awaiting the release of the new America’s Cup Class Rule next month.

'In many ways, the release of the design rule is the starting gun for the 35th America’s Cup,' said Simmer. 'From that moment on, the clock is ticking towards the start of race one, and time which is your most precious currency in these campaigns, starts to get spent. We need to be ready to work from day one and spend our time wisely.'

The Oracle Team USA design team for the 35th America’s Cup:

Paul Bieker (USA), Dimitri Despierres (FRA), Len Imas (USA), Hal Youngren (USA), Aaron Perry (USA), Bryan Baker (USA), Juan Vila (ESP), Scott Ferguson (USA), Christophe Elberding (GER), Thomas Hann (GER), Steven Roberts (FRA), Jose Luis Vela (ESP), Tom Speer (USA), Eric Jolley (USA), Andrew Gaynor (USA), Ian Burns (AUS), JB Braun (USA), Kurt Jordan (USA).

SW: Sail-World US editor David Schmidt interviewed Paul Beiker last month and that multipart interview will feature in coming days.