British Olympian Iain Percy made director of Artemis


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The Independent Online

In a major shake-up at the Swedish-backed America’s Cup challenger Artemis skipper Terry Hutchinson has been “released” and British triple Olympic medallist Iain Percy has been made sailing team director.

Percy, who won gold in Sydney and China and silver in Weymouth this year, is part of the guiding quartet which includes another Olympic gold medallist, Australia’s Nathan Outteridge, the Argentinian double Olympic bronze medallist Santiago Lange, and the French solo sailor and round the world record holder Loick Peyron.

The team has been struggling to hit its stride. An experimental wing failed when trialling in Valencia and its new 72-foot wing-powered catamaran suffered damage on an intial trial, but is sailing again in San Francisco.

This is the second time that Percy has been engaged in a dual America’s Cup role, having been with Italy’s +39 challenge in 2007 and subsequently he teamed up as tactician with Ben Ainslie on the British Team Origin.

Lange has been driving the second boat in the 45-foot World Series but it is expected that Outteridge will take the helm, though Peyron shared that job with Ernesto Bertarelli when Switzerland’s Alinghi lost the cup to the current holder, Oracle, in Valencia in 2010. Paul Cayard continues as chief executive officer.

The Southern Ocean, Jean-Pierre Dick has taken the lead in the Vendée Globe singlehanded round the world race while setting a new world record of 498.8 miles in 24 hours. This was before a new record by now third-placed François Gabart had time to be ratified.

Previous leader Armel l Cleac’h has hung on to second place, while the British pair of Alex Thomson and Mike Golding are fifth and seventh.