Bruni to lead Artemis push for glory
Francesco Bruni will make his Artemis Racing debut as helmsmen at this weekend's Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Portsmouth.
The former Luna Rossa sailor is replacing Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis skipper, who is in Brazil making his final preparations for next month's Olympic Games in Rio.
Bruni is looking forward to getting some racing time with a team who have won two of the world series events, in Bermuda in October and Chicago last month.
“I'm very excited about my opportunity, and I will do my best to be prepared for it,” he said. “I've been spending a lot of time speaking with Nathan [Outteridge], sharing his secrets, trying to talk to him at the right time, to extract the good things.”
One of the biggest challenges that teams face in the build-up to world series events is that they are not able to practice on the AC45F boats, so Bruni has been doing as much preparation on land as possible.
“For sure the lack of practice is going to be the biggest problem,” he said. “I've been thinking a lot about it, looking at the videos, trying to learn as much as I can without being on the boat. I'm sure if I'd had three weeks to practice I'd be feeling good, but I have to deal with it.”
That does not mean that Bruni, who is based in Bermuda, has spent all his time on land. Rather he has been helming the Artemis development boats and is now relishing the chance to be back in real competition.
“It's been huge sailing here for the last six months with two boats, we learn so much every time we sail,” he said. “We have been doing a lot of internal testing, as well as lining up against the other Bermuda-based teams.
“It's been great, and with so many hours on the water, we have really started to get a good rhythm going.”
Outteridge, who won the 49er South American Championships last week alongside team-mate Iain Jensen, is full of praise for Francesco.
“It was a difficult decision not to make the trip to Portsmouth, but we're very fortunate to have Francesco to step in,” Outteridge said. “He's been driving our development boats here, and has probably been spending more time sailing than I have. With his experience through the last campaign with Luna Rossa, I'm sure he's going to do a great job.”
With the races in Portsmouth just days away the Artemis team will do all they can to bring Bruni up to speed.
“We've been working hard to make sure that we can exchange any person at any moment,” Outteridge said. “We've set the bar pretty high for him after Chicago, and there's plenty of pressure on him, but I know he'll be up for it.”