Monday, 3 March 2014
34th America's Cup, Part 1 of interview with designer Paul Bieker on his work with Oracle Team USA
From the following interview of Paul Bieker by David Schmidt Sail-World USA Editor:
Few people in the sailing world are sharper than Paul Bieker, a soft-spoken Seattle-based naval architect who has spent his career designing a wide variety of sailing vessels, from super-quick I-14s and his one-off line of 'Riptide' racer/cruisers, to America’s Cup yachts.
Bieker is one of the core designers credited with 'super-charging' Oracle Team USA’s 'USA 17' last September, changes that helped the American-flagged international team to successfully pull-off one of sports history’s greatest comebacks to defend the 34th America’s Cup.
Yet pull up a seat on the rail next to Bieker-as I’ve been fortunate enough to do on many occasions aboard our mutual friend’s Riptide 44-and it quickly becomes obvious that Bieker’s horizons extends far beyond racecourse designs.
Take, for example, the day that he brought our crew lunch. Each sandwich was individually wrapped in brown recycled paper and was hand-tied with a bit of hemp twine in an effort to reduce landfill fodder. Or then there’s Bieker’s insistence that his Riptide designs offer their owners a huge amount of value and utility, irrespective of whether the agenda involves racing, savoring 25-knot kite rides or extended cruising. Bieker is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost foil-design experts, and while he wisely tries to dodge the limelight, Oracle Team USA has again tapped Bieker for AC35, this time in the role of lead design engineer.
I recently caught up with Bieker at a local Ballard (our mutual Seattle neighborhood) pub for part one of this two-part interview to get his thoughts on how AC34 was won, his design role for AC35, as well as his thoughts on the future of America’s Cup Racing.
Can you tell me about your work with Oracle Team USA, prior to the start of AC34? What were you designing for them?
It was in the late summer/early fall [of 2012] and I think that Oracle had a sense that their appendage engineering and construction side was not going 100-percent smoothly. My first day down there was the day before they launched the boat, and the day they broke their first foil. So pretty much from then on it was full-on, as you can image.
read more here