- A person who gains pleasure from amassing large quantities of knowledge about subjects often too detailed or complicated for most other people to be bothered with.
- A person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.
Let's face it. We knew all along that the 33rd America's Cup was going to be a design competition. Even if Ernesto Bertarelli hadn't decided to drive his own boat and demonstrate the most spectacularly incompetent match racing skills in the history of the Cup by accumulating a penalty prior to the starting signal in each of the two races, he would still have lost. Larry Ellison's trimaran was the faster boat. Game over.
I said as much back in December 2007. The Deed of Gift match was going to be a battle between two egocentric billionaires that would be decided by who could hire the talent to design the faster boat. As I put it, "The America's Cup should be all about the nerds in the design office. Rich old coot with the best nerds wins."
And nobody should be surprised that America would beat Switzerland in such a contest, right? We all know that America has the best nerds, don't we? America put a man on the moon. Americans invented Spandex, the 8-track tape, Bubble Wrap, the Segway, and the disposable diaper. Case closed.
So where did Larry Ellison go to find the nerds to design his space age monster trimaran? One of the leading American yacht design offices? The naval architecture and aerospace departments of some of America's world-class research universities such as MIT or CalTech?
Well, not exactly.
Here is a picture of Larry's nerds...
... or as they are more politely known in this May 2008 press release "the BMW Oracle Racing design team."
So who are these super-nerds who just won the America's Cup for Larry?
Well the guy on the right at the back is Russell Coutts, the CEO of BMW Oracle Racing. And the dude with grey hair third from the left in the front row is Mike Drummond, the Design Director.
Russell and Mike aren't really nerds. They are the bosses of the nerds. There's nothing wrong with that. Being a nerd boss is an honorable profession. I used to be one myself. But they are not the real nerds. (Oh, by the way, Russell and Mike both come from New Zealand.)
Those two guys on the left of the front row, the slightly chubby ones with the nerdy grins, they are the real super-nerds. They are Vincent Lauriot Prévost and Marc Van Peteghem, principals in the multihull design firm of Van Peteghem Lauriot Prévost (VPLP). The guy standing behind them with the tanned complexion and the very white teeth is Franck Cammas. Actually Franck is a bit of a jock as well as a nerd. He's currently making an attempt on one of those "fastest round the world" records in Groupama 3, but Larry hired him because he is one of the world's top multihull gurus. And the other super-nerd the one on the right of the front row is Michel Kermarec, who was in charge of the incredibly nerdy areas of "performance prediction and appendage design."
So there you have them. Vincent, Marc, Franck and Michel, the nerds who won the America's Cup.
Oh. I almost forgot to mention it. The nerds who won the America's Cup... they are all French.
Update: Ralph from Montreal asks in a comment, "What nerd(s) designed the hardwing?"
Great question Ralph. The wing project was headed by aeronautical specialist Joseph Ozanne. The entire aerodynamic project was based on numerical simulations without using a wind tunnel. Very nerdy, I am sure you agree.
Here is a picture of Joseph Ozanne...