Juan Kouyoumdjian - America's Cup designer - to create modern-day 6-Metre 8/3/07

Juan Kouyoumdjian – designer of the two ABN AMRO VO70s in the last Volvo Ocean Race, co-designer of BMW Oracle America’s Cup yachts this time round, and designer of the new Ericsson VOR yacht – has been commissioned to design a new 6-Metre ready for the 2009 world championship in Newport Rhode Island.

Kouyoumdjian was approached by a Swiss 6-Metre owner two years ago requesting if he would consider the possibility of a total re-design to create a modern-day 6-Metre. With no former design knowledge of the metre classes Kouyoumdjian agreed seeing the project as a challenge which would allow him the freedom to exploit his creative skills and develop a totally new look 6m within the constraints of the strict 6m class rule.

Although Kouyoumdjian’s design is still in it early stages he says has spent six months working on research and development that will be applied to the final design once it gets underway.

Kouyoumdjian’s current America’s Cup commitments means that the new 6-Metre is on the back-burner until the end of this year but he says he plans to be in Cowes for the world championship in July this year.

From a busy BMW Oracle office in Valencia this morning Kouyoumdjian commented: “Yes, fortunately we have plenty of time in hand for this project. My client’s aim is to take the new design to the worlds in Newport in 09 which means we need to have the boat on the water next year. Once my current ACC commitments have quietened down I’ll continue with the work I already started on the 6-Metre. The research I’ve been doing so far is to see how we could improve the design and identify how much scope there is for improvement. Because it’s a very old class it’s important for me to become familiar with the class which is why I’ll be in Cowes later this year. I decided it was pointless to do any work now not only because we haven’t got time but because will be better designers by the end of the year!”

The world championship in Cowes this year promises to be well supported with up to 50 boats on the startline. The event runs from 16-23 July. Tim Street – President of the International Six Metre Association – says there’ll be plenty of overseas boats including North America and Scandinavia, commenting: “There’ll be a real mix of old and new including beautifully prepared classic yachts from the early 1900s as well as modern designs – technically innovative examples that have been designed and constructed within the last few years.”

Royal Yacht Squadron Rear Commodore Simon van der Byl confirmed the club’s commitment to running the event, saying: “The Royal Yacht Squadron has had long associations with the fleet and the class’s resurgence and return to Cowes will remind us of our yachting heritage. With the substantial investment now being made in Cowes yachting facilities, it is anticipated that the Six-Metre racing will be a regular feature in the Solent.”

The 6-Metre world championship is timed to co-incide with the British Classic Yacht Club Regatta which starts a few days earlier. This will be followed closely be the Metre Regatta (open to all Metre Yachts) to celebrate the centenary of the Metre Class Rule.