For Mill Valley residents Sean Clarkson and Kurt Jordan, going to work each day is not the nine-to-five grind most of us endure. As members of the US America’s Cup team American Magic (AM), Jordan works on boat design while Clarkson is on the sailing team.
Both are veterans of the America’s Cup circuit and have been lucky to experience some of the most significant transitions in boat design ever through their Cup tenure. Currently, they are wrangling with the Cup’s newest high-tech speedster – a 75-foot foiling monohull capable of speeds between 40-50 knots.
The 36th America’s Cup is set to kick off in New Zealand on December 17 with the third and final event of the America’s Cup World Series (after the cancellation of the first two ACWS regattas due to COVID-19). The challenger series – the Prada Cup – will be raced from Jan. 15 to Feb. 22, 2021. The America’s Cup Match will be raced March 6-21, 2021.
Clarkson, originally from New Zealand and a career pro sailor, has been sailing with most of the guys on the AM sailing team for a lot of years. Significantly, for the past 12 years he’s sailed with executive director and team skipper Terry Hutchinson and helmsman Dean Barker on the TP52 Quantum Racing, which is owned by AM team principal Doug Devos.
Now on his ninth America’s Cup campaign, Jordan grew up in Berkeley and graduated from Cal where he studied engineering and composite materials.
Composites became important to boat design and construction when a new rule in the America’s Cup allowed for their extensive use in the 1992 America’s Cup. For that edition of the oldest sporting trophy in history, Jordan made his foray into the event designing spars for three boats: Stars & Stripes, America 3, and Il Moro di Venezia.
Jordan and Clarkson’s day to day schedule varies over the four-year span between events – basically Clark continues sailing on different boats in many different international events for the first few years while Jordan’s work aligns more closely with the building of the boat.
“The first year is a lot more conceptual with full creativity,” Jordan said. “Near the end of the first year a boat is built for research and development purposes which is a small version of what the ultimate product may be.”
This time around that boat was a 40-foot foiling monohull and once launched, the sailing team – Clarkson included – begin sailing and…