PORTSMOUTH, GBR – Ben Ainslie continues to ramp up his challenge for the 36th America’s Cup with another big-name hire, and this time it’s the mastermind who brought foiling to sailing’s marquee regatta. Less than three months after hiring multiple Cup winner Grant Simmer (AUS) as CEO of Land Rover BAR, Ainslie has appointed Nick Holroyd (NZL) as chief designer. Holroyd is a previous Cup winner with Emirates Team New Zealand and was formerly the technical director with Softbank Team Japan for the 35th America's Cup.
Holroyd will start permanently with the team in Portsmouth later this month.
"I'm really excited to be working with Nick again,’’ said Ainslie, the team principal and skipper. “It's fantastic he's agreed to join the team. Adding his skill-set and experience to our technical lineup has greatly strengthened our challenge to win the 36th Americas Cup."
Ainslie was a backup skipper with Team New Zealand in 2007 during Holroyd’s time with the Kiwi team.
After receiving degrees from the University of Auckland and the University of Southampton, Holroyd started an 18-year stint at Team New Zealand in 1997 as a foil designer and naval architect. The Kiwis won the 30th America's Cup in Auckland in 2000.
He became technical director in 2007 and stayed with the team through June 2015. During that span, the Kiwis twice won the Louis Vuitton Cup (2007 and 2013), and Holroyd was instrumental in bringing foiling technology into the America's Cup beginning with the 34th America’s Cup at San Francisco in 2013. That, of course, was when the Kiwis so famously blew an 8-1 lead and suffered a soul-crushing loss to Oracle Team USA.
Holroyd said he’s looking forward to receiving more details on the AC75 class, which he said “promises plenty of challenges ahead."
The AC75 will be a foiling monohull. Emirates Team New Zealand unveiled the concept for the radical new class in late November. The class rule is due to be published by March 31.