America's Cup holders Oracle have snared two Team New Zealand workers for their new design team.
Oracle today announced an 18-person design team charged with coming up with the boat to defend the Auld Mug.
They include Americans Len Imas and Hal Youngren who worked with Team New Zealand to set the early pace in design for the last cup campaign in San Francisco that featured 72-foot foiling catamarans.
Team New Zealand were the first syndicate to master the crucial art of foiling and their second boat Aotearoa came within a race of snatching the cup from Oracle who eventually completed one of sport's greatest comebacks.
"It's still amazing to think that the final was so close, and that it all came down to one last race," Imas said.
"Now, it's great to sit down with these guys, learn what they were thinking and to start work again with the new team."
Both Imas and Youngren are aerodynamic specialists with Cup experience going back to 2003.
Last month Team New Zealand confirmed that Thira Win, a mechanical systems engineer, had moved to the design department of Swedish syndicate Artemis Racing
The new rules governing the next America's Cup are expected to be announced next month. Speculation is strong that the regatta will stick with multihulls, though the catamarans are tipped to be reduced to around 60-feet with the crews cut from 11 to eight.
"In many ways, the release of the design rule is the starting gun for the 35th America's Cup," said Grant Simmer, Oracle's New Zealand-born general manager.
"From that moment on, the clock is ticking towards the start of race one, and time which is your most precious currency in these campaigns, starts to get spent. We need to be ready to work from day one and spend our time wisely.
"We have a good mix of experience and expertise across the disciplines where we think the design challenge for this next America's Cup will be contested."
The Oracle designers announced today include 11 Americans, a smattering of Europeans and Australian Ian Burns.
The next Cup is likely to be raced in 2017 with San Francisco, San Diego and Hawaii vying to be the venue for the 35th edition.
- © Fairfax NZ News