On Wednesday the field of international competitors for the 34th America’s Cup revealed their game plans for winning the trophy and bringing the honor of hosting the Cup to their home country.
Teams representing China, France (with two teams), Italy, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Sweden and USA made their first appearance together in the host city of the 2013 America’s Cup at a press conference where organizers introduced the line-up. The ninth team will be announced at a press conference on June 23rd in Europe.
“This field of competitors is truly global, representing a mix of established teams as well as new ones in sailing’s top event,” said Iain Murray, Regatta Director for the 34th America’s Cup and CEO, America’s Cup Race Management. “The new vision for the America’s Cup has created the opportunity for teams from Asia, Europe, Oceania and North America to enter the Cup and compete in dynamic, new, wing-sailed catamarans, in an exciting race format.”
Among the challenging nations, Republic of Korea is new to the America’s Cup, while China is entering for just the second time.
San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee welcomed the teams to San Francisco, home of two 2012 America’s Cup World Series events, and the Louis Vuitton Cup, America’s Cup Challenger Series July 13 – September 1 and the America’s Cup Finals September 7-22, both in 2013.
“San Francisco welcomes the nine international sailing teams who will take to San Francisco Bay to compete for the America’s Cup trophy,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “They will be joined by hundreds of thousands of spectators from around the world for an unparalleled dramatic sailing event. The America’s Cup is an extraordinary opportunity to leverage our region’s resources to generate much needed revenue for our City and create jobs. We are moving rapidly to meet our commitments to host a spectacular 34th America’s Cup in 2013.”
The nine competitors will face-off for the first time in August at the inaugural America’s Cup World Series event in Cascais, Portugal where a fleet of ten AC45s will do battle in both fleet and match racing. Oracle Racing will enter two teams in the 2011 AC World Series.
“In only 11 months since the inception of the AC45, we designed, built and tested this fleet of ten race-ready boats for our first season,” Murray said. “The America’s Cup World Series is now. The fleet is on its way to Portugal and Oracle Racing is here on the Bay giving San Francisco a sneak preview of the dramatic racing to come in August. Thanks to the teams for stepping up to this new challenge – the fun is about to begin.”
The inaugural AC World Series competition will be held August 6 – 14 in Cascais, Portugal. The second stop on the circuit will be Plymouth, England on September 10-18, followed by the final stop in 2011 in San Diego.
In addition to the unveiling of the official slate of competitors, event organizers also introduced the new brand expression for both the 34th America’s Cup and the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series.
“In every sense of the word, the America’s Cup is reinventing itself, from our cutting-edge boats to breakthrough sporting technology to our visual identity,” said Richard Worth, Chairman, America’s Cup Event Authority. “Everything about this new America’s Cup is designed around transforming the sport.”
Talking about the new logo of the Louis Vuitton Cup, Pietro Beccari, Executive Vice-President of Louis Vuitton, said “When we started to work on the new logo for the Louis Vuitton Cup, we wanted to give it a modern and dynamic design which reflects the spirit of the competition. We began by playing with the sails and the hulls of these huge boats, from which we found the inspiration for the logo of next Louis Vuitton Cup.”
The competitors for the 34th America’s Cup are (nation, team, yacht club)*:
China – China Team, Mei Fan Yacht Club
France – Aleph – Équipe De France, Aleph Yacht Club
France – Energy Team, Yacht Club de France
Italy – Venezia Challenge, Club Canottieri Roggero di Lauria
New Zealand – Emirates Team New Zealand, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Republic of Korea – Team Korea, Sail Korea Yacht Club
Sweden – Artemis Racing, Kungliga Svenska Segel Sallskapet
United States – Oracle Racing, Golden Gate Yacht Club, (Defender)
* The Ninth confirmed Team will be announced at a press conference June 23 in Europe
As they said it, quotes from the teams:
China Team, Wang Chaoyong, Team Principal: “China Team is a true Chinese challenger as it will be powered by mainly Chinese sailors on a China-built boat. We are currently actively recruiting the Chinese sailors through a series of training camps all over China, and at the same time, our existing team is training with Olympic multihull medalists on the China Team AC45 boat to ensure that we are ready to compete in the first World Series in August. China Team truly represents the spirit of sports in China; while sailing is still a relatively new sport in China, we will be ready to compete against the best sailing teams in the world for the most prestigious sailing sports trophy.”
ALEPH – Équipe De France, Philippe Ligot, CEO: “Aleph is proud to continue France’s heritage in sailing’s pinnacle event the America’s Cup. The America’s Cup is a great contest of design and sailing skill. The new boats and format promise to transform a magnificent event into an even more exciting competition. Aleph looks forward to racing here in San Francisco.”
Energy Team, Bruno Peyron, General Manager: “Energy Team comes to the America’s Cup with great experience in world-class multihull racing. With this new format, we see an exciting opportunity to excel in the America’s Cup. The French public are huge fans of multihull racing so this move to new, dynamic boats will be great for the French sailing audience. And I have no doubt that the passion the French have for fast multihulls will be shared globally once people see these teams racing.”
Venezia Challenge, Dario Valenza, Operations Manager: “This new formula is very exciting, it is a great format able to attract sponsors and audience. Venezia Challenge will plan mobile campaigns using TV and radio in Italy and organize a Village in the most important cities to involve the mass market not just sailing fans. Technically it is a new level playing field, the boats are exciting, the format ensures close racing and expenditure is kept under control by limiting the available design led performance advantage and putting the emphasis on the sailing. Our team is coming together well and is looking like a formidable lineup, an exciting mix of people who are a pleasure to work with.”
Emirates Team New Zealand, Kevin Shoebridge, COO: “Emirates Team New Zealand, twice winner of the America’s Cup, is working through the multiple challenges presented by the radical changes in boat and format. The team is happy with the venue but recognizes that translating the vision to reality will require a massive effort by all involved.”
Team Korea, Kim Dong-Young, Team Principal: “We are very proud to represent the Republic of Korea’s first-ever Challenge for the America’s Cup. With a new boat and new format, Korea can enter the America’s Cup for the first time with a better chance of success. We look forward to building our team and racing the AC45s starting in Portugal.”
Artemis Racing, Terry Hutchinson, Helmsman: “The AC45 is a high performance, powerful boat which also maneuvers well in close situations. The wing definitely adds to the performance of the AC45 and when combined with the rest of the technology onboard, it’s certainly a step ahead in multihull sailing. The racing promises to be close and action-packed, as well as demanding for the five crew on board. Likewise, as sailors, we need to be flexible, agile and physically fit, ready for just about anything that the short courses will present.”
Oracle Racing, Russell Coutts, CEO: “These boats, and the bigger AC72s, aim to test the best sailors in the world. It’s about pushing boundaries and gaining confidence so that your team is sharper than the next. It could be the difference between winning and losing.”