With Sanderson, British Cup Challenge Takes on Kiwi Flavor

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In Mike Sanderson, the new British America's Cup syndicate has its first member. Guess what? He's from New Zealand.On Thursday, TEAMORIGIN announced Sanderson's appointment as team director, entrusting in the 2006 Volvo Ocean Race winner their attempt to become the first British challenger ever to win the America's Cup.TEAMORIGIN was launched earlier this year by Sir Keith Mills, the British businessman who ran London's victorious bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. The team has committed to participate in at least two America's Cup campaigns, the 33rd and 34th editions of the event, likely to take place in 2009 and 2011. Sanderson, who is the current ISAF World Sailor of the Year, will have overall responsibility for TEAMORIGIN's performance operations. In the next few months, he'll work with Mills to select team members, with the goal of having the core in place by the end of July. Mills had plenty of good reasons for staking his campaign on Sanderson. "As well as having extensive experience of the America's Cup, Mike Sanderson is a proven leader and winner," he said. "Following his incredible success in the Volvo Ocean Race last year, Mike has been in much demand, so we are immensely pleased to have secured him as our team director, with overall responsibility for the performance on the water. Our aim is to win the America's Cup for Britain, and to achieve this we will recruit the world's top talent - whether they hail from Newcastle or New Zealand."Sanderson was no less effusive. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," he said. "I have been exploring a number of interesting roles since the Volvo Ocean Race, but the chance to play a part in creating sporting history by leading the first British team to win the America's Cup is extremely appealing. I believe we are in an enviable position in that we have a clean sheet - we have a fresh opportunity to create the team in the way that we believe is best."Sanderson has been involved in three America's Cup campaigns, most recently as mainsheet trimmer for Oracle BMW in 2003, where his team reached the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger Series Finals.