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America’s Cup 35: The Six Pack

The America’s Cup defender, Oracle Team USA and the Golden Gate YC, accepted five challengers.

August 21, 2014
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Champagne and Signatures

Blip. It’s official—the official word is delivered by email these days. The America’s Cup defender, Oracle Team USA and the Golden Gate YC, accepted five challengers. One British, one Swedish, one Italian, one French, and one at last from the New Zealanders bent on redemption. The cast are larger-than-life characters: the great Ben Ainslie, the imposing Iain Percy, the feisty Max Sirena, the gracious Dean Barker, and the calculated AC first-timer Franck Cammas.

They have a protocol in place, but not a venue, but still, they’ve all paid the entry have been vetted. All of the teams have paid the first installment of the entry fee that was due upon acceptance, ACEA’s Peter Rusch tells me. August 8 was the deadline for challenging. When all were accepted a seven-day payment window went into effect. That expired August 20. The first payment, which all have made, is non-refundable, according to Rusch. One million goes to the Regatta Officials Fund, $25,000 to ACPI (America’s Cup Properties Incorporated, which owns the trademark) and $50,000 to a website contribution.

The announcement delivery from individual teams gives an immediate glimpse into the nature of the campaign. So far, the British are true to form: proper and polished; the French, pragamatic, and Artemis organized and to-the-message, the terse New Zealanders and Italians. For historical reference, below are their official statements.

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Artemis

STOCKHOLM, August 19, 2014 – Today, Artemis Racing officially launched its challenge to win the 35th America’s Cup at an inspirational event in Sweden’s capital. Guests were treated to a rare chance of seeing the America’s Cup trophy first hand at the Moderna Museet, on Skeppsholmen Island at the heart of Stockholm’s proud maritime history.

Torbjörn Törnqvist, Team Principal of Artemis Racing said: “Sailing is my passion, and I’m very proud to once again represent Sweden in the America’s Cup. Given our experience from the 34th America’s Cup, what the team went through and achieved, we have an incredibly strong culture, a belonging to the team. Building on our core group from the last campaign, we have been able to secure talent across all areas, and I strongly believe that Artemis Racing is a team capable of winning the 35th America’s Cup”.

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Artemis Racing will again challenge alongside Kungliga Svenska Segel Sällskapet (KSSS), the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, for what will be their second campaign together in the pursuit of winning the oldest competition in sport.

“The America’s Cup is the pinnacle of international sailing. KSSS is proud to be a challenger once again through Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing team. We are also very excited by the prospect of involving Swedish sailors in various ways in the project. We want to extend our gratitude to Torbjörn Törnqvist for making this possible” commented Staffan Salén, KSSS Commodore.

New team members were announced, including Swedish Olympic champions, Fredrik Lööf and Max Salminen, as well as America’s Cup veteran Rod Davis.

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Lööf is one of the most successful Swedish sailors of all times and a long-time friend and competitor of Team Manager Iain Percy. With a wealth of experience, he has participated in an incredible six Olympic campaigns, winning a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics and bronze medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the Star class, and at the Sydney 2000 Olympics in the Finn class. Lööf’s career highlights also include three Finn World Championships, two Star World titles and a third place finish in the 2001-2002 Volvo Ocean Race.

On joining the team Fredrik said “I’ve been fascinated by the way sailing has been evolving over the last few years, with these new foiling boats and incredible TV production. I was really inspired by Artemis’ last campaign and having a Swedish boat on the start line again, and being part of it this time, is very exciting. Winning the America’s Cup and bringing it to Sweden for the first time would be something very special”.

One of the most promising talents in Swedish sailing, Max Salminen, still just 24, struck gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games alongside Fredrik Lööf in the Star class.

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Artemis Racing also welcomed Sailing Coach Rod Davis. In his extraordinary America’s Cup career –now his 9th campaign – Davis brings an unparalleled wealth of experience to the team, having covered a variety of roles from bowman to mainsail trimmer, skipper, and more recently coach of Emirates Team New Zealand. Rod won a gold medal in the Soling class at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984, and Olympic silver in the Finn class in Barcelona 1992. His track record also includes winning the Admiral’s Cup and the Sardinia Cup several times, as well as seven World Champion titles.

The Team has already amassed an incredible 61 America’s Cup Campaigns between its members, including 14 victories. Team members (including two designers) have competed in 21 Olympic Games, winning 11 medals, including seven Gold medals.

“Where some teams may have one Olympic gold medallist, we have six of them, however the focus is very much on the team, and there is no individual bigger than the group. We are not only in this competition to win the 35th America’s Cup, but to dominate the America’s Cup arena for the next decade.” Said Team Manager and Tactician Iain Percy. “I’m also passionate that Artemis Racing is more than simply winning, it’s about producing a legacy and winning in a certain way”.

Harnessing fresh talent and inspiring younger team members is at the core of Artemis Racing’s new challenge, and the Team launched an internship programme which will give top Swedish students a chance to become directly involved in the key areas that make up a successful America’s Cup Team, spending up to 12 weeks working in the team base in Alameda, CA, USA, across different departments.

Artemis Racing also aspires to be the most sustainable and responsible team in the America’s Cup, announcing a number of initiatives including plans to ‘up-cycle’ or, ‘re-purpose’, their future base at the 35th America’s Cup venue.

The Team also announced partnerships with Pelle P, as the official clothing supplier and Cosworth Group, as technical supplier.

British Challenge

20th August 2014: Royal Yacht Squadron Racing (RYSR) has had its challenge accepted by the America’s Cup defender, the Golden Gate Yacht Club of San Francisco. RYSR is the affiliate club of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the challenging club for Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), now the official British entry for the 35th America’s Cup in 2017.

The Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC), having won the 34th America’s Cup, holds the America’s Cup in accordance with the terms of a Deed of Gift dated 24 October 1887 and will be hosting the event in three years’ time, although the location is yet to be confirmed, being either San Diego or Bermuda.

RYSR submitted its Notice of Challenge to the GGYC during the two-month open entry period which closed on Friday 8th August. The entry has now been formally accepted.

Each team that challenges for the America’s Cup is required to do so through a host club. The America’s Cup started its long history at the Royal Yacht Squadron when the schooner America beat a fleet of British racing yachts to the finish line there on 22 August 1851, watched by Queen Victoria.

“We are delighted that Ben Ainslie Racing, led by Sir Ben, has asked Royal Yacht Squadron Racing to challenge on his behalf and are sure that, if anyone can bring the Cup back to its original home, he and his excellent BAR team can,” commented Simon van der Byl, CEO of RYSR.

Team France

After officially announcing its desire to participate in the 35th America’s Cup during the Nautic Paris Boat Show last December, Team France, managed by Franck Cammas, Michel Desjoyeaux and Olivier de Kersauson is today proud to rank among the five challengers officially recognised by the Golden Gate Yacht Club to compete against the American Defender, Oracle Team USA.

Sometimes there is a huge discrepancy between a desire and reality.

The advantage in the America’s Cup is that the suspense doesn’t generally last for very long. By imposing a significant registration fee, it is the intention of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) to guarantee the challengers’ desire and credibility, so as they can finalise with them the format and the organisation of the America’s Cup, which will be contested in the USA in 2017.

According to the latest official list published by the organisers, Team France, represented by the Yacht Club de France and officially supported by the Fédération Française de Voile (French Sailing Federation) ranks among those teams wishing to snatch the famous silver ewer from the hands of the Americans. Since 1851 this trophy has rewarded the team that wins the duel between the defender and the best of the challengers.

Suffice to say that the gauntlet, which three of France’s best sailors are taking up, is a sizeable one. Indeed, to date, not a single French team has pulled off such a challenge despite numerous attempts, ranging from that of Baron Bich (1970, 74 and 77) to that of Marc Pajot (1987, 1992 and 1994), not to mention those of the trio Mas, Gellusseau and Lesquen (2000 and 2003), as well as the most recent bid, led by Stéphane Kandler in 2007.

“For the past 18 months, we’ve been working on this project in earnest with Michel, Olivier and a compressed team. It’s tough but equally gripping. Beyond the technological and sporting aspects, which have been part and parcel of our daily life for dozens of years, you have to inspire the allegiance of the public and business managers and also convince potential partners. It’s thrilling, because it gives us the chance to meet with strong personalities and businesses, which share our ambition. Without them and without the Club Team France, which unites us, we wouldn’t be an official challenger. Thank you to them and thank you to all those who will be joining us in the upcoming months to create perennial conditions so as we can be competitive in the crewed sailing environment and regularly participate in the America’s Cup in a bid to secure a win,” says Franck Cammas, skipper of Team France.

Up against Team France are four teams of a very high standard, all of whom have had recent experience of the Cup and also have their sights on challenging the American Defender: the New Zealanders on Emirates, the Italians on Luna Rossa, the Swedish on Artemis and finally Ben Ainslie’s team, which marks Britain’s return to the Cup after an absence dating back many long years.

It is in London, on 9 September 2014, that the organisers of the 35th America’s Cup will present the challengers and communicate certain information about how the event will be run.

Luna Rossa Challenge

No official media release in English, but there was a statement from Sirena through AC officials:

Max Sirena, Luna Rossa Challenge: “This is Luna Rossa’s fifth challenge to the America’s Cup, an historic record. Not only does it underline the attachment of our team to the America’s Cup, but it also shows our determination to bring the Cup to Italy. This edition will be very competitive and our team has already been preparing for several months now in view of a challenge that promises to be spectacular and exciting right from its preliminary events, the America’s Cup World Series, that will take place next year.”

Emirates Team New Zealand From their team blog and Facebook page…

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has lodged a challenge for the 35th America’s Cup. Out-going Commodore Steve Burrett announced that the challenge would go ahead at the Squadron’s annual meeting last night.

The Squadron will be represented by Emirates Team New Zealand. Challenges must received by the defending yacht club, the Golden Gate Yacht Club, by midnight Friday, San Francisco time.

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has been involved with all but one New Zealand America’s Cup campaign since 1987, winning at San Diego in 1995 and successfully defending at Auckland in 2000.

Mr Burrett said: “New Zealand has a distinguished history in the America’s Cup and we expect Emirates Team New Zealand will once again make New Zealand proud, just as it has done many times in the past.

“We wish the team well and we look forward to contributing to the success of the 35th America’s Cup.”

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton says the team is pleased to be able to be in a position to challenge with the confidence of being able to represent the country well. “This is the official start of a long, hard journey. We do not under-estimate the challenges ahead.

“We look forward to working with the other teams to create a great event.”

Ben Ainslie, center, looks on his next mission is signed into history. JESSICA DOBBS
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