Percy to join Artemis for Louis Vuitton Trophy

Double Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy is joining the Swedish America’s Cup team Artemis for the Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta, which starts this weekend in Dubai, having been released by the withdrawal of Britain’s Team Origin from Cup contention.

He will act as tactician for the oil billionaire Torbjorn Tornqvist’s team with US-based Kiwi Cameron Appleton responsible for some of the helming duties as the helmsman designate, Terry Hutchinson, is developing multihull skills ahead of a programme of pre-America’s Cup regattas, scheduled for next year in AC45 wing sail catamarans.

The team’s chief executive, Paul Cayard, is due to be in Dubai, not least because he is chairman of the World Sailing Teams Association, an organisation put together to fill a vacuum when the America’s Cup became a private battle, mainly in the courts, between the then holder, Switzerland’s Ernesto Bertarelli, and the new holder, Larry Ellison’s San Francisco-based BMW Oracle.

Before that, Cayard and Tornqvist are due to be in Stockholm for Monday’s announcement about plans to challenge for the America’s Cup. Artemis, as expected, was the first to join the Italian challenger of record, Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino, in the official line-up for 2013.

Of earlier concern to Percy is the defence of his Olympic crown, at home in 2012, in the two-man Star class.

He and Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson will resume training after the Dubai regatta but will stay in Europe and give a miss to what can be the expensive business of contesting the Olympic Classes Regatta in Miami. Instead, they will make the April regatta in Palma de Mallorca their 2011 debut.

Franck Cammas is expected to win the Route du Rhum race from St. Malo to Guadeloupe on Monday. His giant trimaran, Groupama, with 500 miles to run, seemed to be outside record-breaking schedule, but held a 200-mile lead over Thomas Coville in Sodebo 375 over Francis Joyon in Idec.

In the Class 40 division, led by Thomas Ruyant in Destination Dunquerque, Pete Goss is 23rd in DMS and Richard Tolkien 28th in ICAP Orca.

The world governing body, the International Sailing Federation, will consider a reorganisation of the way in which equipment for the Olympic Games is selected at its annual general meeting in Athens this week. It will also consider a plan to make Olympic sailing more of a television spectacular.

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