America's Cup News and Information
Defender and Challenger Candidates
Scroll down or click team name to navigate
Click here to see the Challenger Status Board
Teams from 2003:
New Challenger Candidates for 2007:
Rumored, hinted, or denied:
Recent Changes to team entries appear in Bold
With their strong showing in 2003, it might be a natural expectation that the team should feel confident about their chances in 2007, and continue advancing on the same course that led to victory in 2003. Alinghi is doing nothing of the sort, however. Recognizing that no defender who did intensely not hone their boats and crew in competition has ever successfully contested the America's Cup, Alinghi announced a plan to ramp up to three internal Cup-caliber crews that could train and trial against each other. The team brought in Peter Holmberg, helmsman from the very Oracle BMW crew that Alinghi beat to win the 2003 Louis Vuitton Cup. Other top crew added in 2004 included Mike Drummond and Juan Vila. Alinghi's design team added strength with Michel Richelson (AOne '00, illbruck '03) who narrow bodied ACC design for illbruck is a good departure point for the demands of the latest version of the class rule.
Internally Jochen Schumann was named to the newly-created post of Sporting Manager in December, 2003, and Grant Simmer was designated to take over some management duties as well, leaving more room for Russell Coutts to focus on the sailing team.
Aliinghi's prize collection of top talent was dealt a significant blow in June, 2004, though, with the blockbuster news that Russell Coutts, who had been at the center of the effort as skipper and leader, was considering leaving the team. The following month, as the relationship continued to deteriorate, Coutts was fired by Alinghi. Aside from whatever soap opera might have accompanied these events behind the scenes, this move was an unexpected and very significant change to Alinghi's competitive landscape, although tactician Brad Butterworth and a number of other loyal crew that came with Coutts from TNZ plan to remain with Alinghi.
By the fall of 2004, Alinghi added American Ed Baird, skipper of the NYYC challenger Young America in 2000. Baird, who spent 2003 broadcasting the Cup with P.J. Montgomery, is the #1 ranked match racer in the world.
Training in Valencia started in August, 2004, with the team using the facilities of Real Club Náutico de Valencia. First new boat to be launched in 2005.
In November, 2003, the team added major sponsors Nespresso and SGS to go along with existing supporters UBS, Infonet, and Audemars Piguet. Coutts claimed at that time the majority of the Alinghi budget was in place. The team unveiled a new identity package and boat livery just before the UBS Trophy regatta. Main partners, UBS and Infonet. Co-Sponsors include: watchmaker Audemars Piguet, Nespresso (a unit of Nestlé), Italy's MSC Cruises, the technical firm SGS, and North Sails (as official clothing sponsor). Official suppliers include: S.Pellegrino, Zerorh+ (eyewear), Ansys (software), Schaublin Machines SA (precision machine tools), Solidworks (software), and Colle Massari (beverages).
Alinghi was represented at the April, 2004 challenger meetings by
Grant Simmer, Rolf Vrolijk and Jochen Schueman.
Oracle Racing has announced that Chris Dickson will have complete discretion over the development of the team until further notice, serving as CEO and skipper. Main training location is in Auckland, but the team began two-boat trials off Valenica at the end of July, 2004, to prepare crews for the fall regattas and gain knowledge about local sailing conditions.
Personnel: Gavin Brady announced as new helmsman, June, 2003. Brady's Star class partner Craig Monk (TNZ '95, '00) signed June, 2003. Russell Green (TNZ Rules Adviser '03, TAG '95) signed as Sailing Manager, July, 2003. Grant Dalton of TNZ mentioned July, 2003, that Oracle might outbid them for John Kostecki. Oracle announced Kostecki's signing in late August, 2003. Trimmer Ross Halcrow (YA '00, TNZ '95, '92, NZ '87) was expected to follow Kostecki, and Oracle announced Halcrow's signing in September. Farr Yacht Design will again serve as principal designer, publicly confirmed, October, 2003. Juan Kouyoumdjian (Prada '03, LeDefi '00) reported by Couse Au Large in February, 2004 as new design team member, along with Michel Kermarec and Dimitri Despierre (Le Defi '03, '00). Bertrand Pacé (TNZ '03) signed from Team France, June 2004. Departures: John Cutler (to K-Challenge and then to Mascalzone Latino), Peter Holmberg (to Alinghi), Paul Cayard.
Yachts: USA-76 was damaged in a storm, September 12, and their other 2003 boat, USA-71, was used in Acts Two and Three. The first steps toward construction of two new hulls began January, 2005, in Sedro-Wooley, WA, with the completed boats not expected to see official competition until 2006.
Funding and Organization: BMW is remaining as sponsor. A contract extending that relationship through 2007 was announced April, 2004 ( Press Release ), and the name of the team was changed from OracleBMW Racing to BMW Oracle Racing as of May, 2004. The switch is said to reflect greater participation by BMW, including technical assistance. The team revealed a new identity and boat livery just before the UBS Trophy regatta, which they went on to win. Oracle also won in the overall points standing at Louis Vuitton Act One in Marseille. OracleBMW was represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by Tom Ehman, Russell Green, and Grant Davidson. Team Site and BMW Yachtsport Site
+39 (Piu Trentanove)
Circolo Vela Gargnano
(formerly Clan Des Team) - President, Lorenzo Rizzardi. Technical Director, Cesare Pasotti. Word of the team first became public in early 2004, but Rizzardi and Pasotti did not at first reveal details about specific crew, designers, or boats. Talking to a Gazzetta dello Sport journalist, Rizzardi adds : "In our sailing team, mostly Italian, we would like to include all the sailors from our lake." A public launch of the team was scheduled for April 23 in Milan (April 25th in some reports), with presumably more details to be made known. (See story at ACM site). According to Italian media outlets cited at the time by CupInEurope, CDT was working on signing Mascalzone Latino 2003 designer Giovanni Ceccarelli, and they were, in Rizzardi's words, "...very close to recruiting a skipper who will be the soul of the project. Concerning the helmsman and the crew, we have very clear ideas." In late May, 2004, the newly re-christened "+39" named Luca Devoti (Olympic Finn Silver) as team manager and skipper, and confirmed Ceccarelli as designer. Also mentioned were Star Gold Medalist Iain Percy (previously announced as a member of GBR Challenge), Lorenzo Mazza from Prada, Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau (Star World Champions), and Finn sailors Rafael Trujillo and Andrew Simpson (GBR '03). Rumors were that Ben Ainslie, despite being courted by GBR and TNZ, could be next, but Ainslie soon after signed with TNZ. Michele Ivaldi was named as well, but replied to Scuttlebutt Europe after the announcement pointing out that while he was involved with the CDT in other racing in 2003, he is working with Luna Rossa for the America's Cup. Regarding sponsorship and promotion: "It is very important for us to benefit from all possible exposure, which will help fulfill our sponsors' requirements. Having such an America's Cup program, over a year period with different events is really fantastic," Passoti explains, adding "...For this reason, we will race in all the competitions this year." Financial support from the public and private sectors of Lombardia is expected to form the core of CDT's finances. The team initially planned to train with two ACC boats on Lake Garda in July 2004, and to use a third boat to compete in the 2004 Pre-Regattas in Marseille and Valencia. The first two training boats are likely to be Kanza and Mighty Mary, which trace back to America3. The competition boat is expected to be a more recent ACC. Additional recruiting for the fall racing crew was expected to follow the summer Olympics, and a base is reportedly being set up now in Sicily rather than Lake Garda. Two new boats are planned. CDT was represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by Cesare Pisotti. Team Site
America's Cup Challenge 2007-
Royal Cape Yacht Club
Reports in Italian media and discussion forums said in late December, 2003, that shipping magnate Salvatore Sarno (Managing Director, Mediterranean Shipping Company) will back a new challenger based in Cape Town, South Africa, aiming to bring broader recognition for sailors from that country. Officially announced March 7, 2004. Challenge President is Mafika Edmund Mkwanazi, with leadership from skipper Geoff Meek, sailing manager Paul Standbridge (also acting as tactician), and coach Ian Ainslie. Jeff Mick of North Sails, SA, was also mentioned in earlier reports. Personnel expected to be heavily South African. Sailing crew said to include David Rae, Golden Mgedeza, Ashton Sampson, Marcello Burricks, Marc Lagesse and Guido Verhovert. Designer: Jason Ker, Ker Associates, Limited. Team purchased Prada's ITA-48 (not ITA-80 as initially reported) for €525,000, believing it to be a strong hull suitable for training off Cape Town. Boat arrived in Cape Town March, 2004, for the team's official announcement, and was launched by late April, and, after modifications to her deck layout, has been training daily in May and June. Francesco de Angelis once rumored as helping with initial training on ITA-48. August 4, 2004, The yacht, now RSA-48, was from shipped back from SA back to the Med for the fall regattas. The team plans to build two new yachts in Cape Town, painted in black with a wave pattern, and named Shosholoza (translated to mean "Go Forward!" in English). Construction of the first boat began in late November, 2004, the first ACC known to be built new under version 5 of the AC Class rule. Tony Evans is the Build Manager. A launching ceremony is planned for April 27, 2005. The second boat is scheduled to be delivered in 2006, incorporating benefits from the first boat's development cycle. SNG/Alinghi's acceptance of the SA Challenge was announced June 4, 2004. This will be the first-ever America's Cup challenger candidate from South Africa.Reports say that the SA team did not have an official representative at the April, 2004, challenger meetings. Budget reported as €20-25 million initially, more depending on additional sponsors. Germany's T-Systems, a unit of Deutsche Telekom, signed on in January 2005 as a major sponsor, pledging about 100 million South African Rand, or €12.5 million. Support from Ernst & Young as trustee and sponsor, Shepstone & Wylie (legal). Team Site
Emirates Team New Zealand
Royal New Zealand YS
(Formerly Team New Zealand) - In April, 2003, Grant Dalton was recruited as managing director to lead the next Kiwi challenge. Officially, a feasibility study for a 2007 NZ challenge was undertaken with the results delivered in October, 2003. Additionally, a detailed report also presented in October analyzed the 2003 equipment failures. Dalton said in November, 2003, that the true "go" or "no-go" decision on the challenge's viability had a deadline of March 31, 2004. January 2, 2004, Dalton also said that reaching a 70% commitment level on the team's $140M NZ budget was the critical threshold, and that they hoped to reach this milestone by the end of the month. Just before the March 31 deadline arrived, he told the NZ press that they were proceeding, but would not make an absolute statement until the full funding to win, not just compete, was committed: "We are close, but I can assure you on March 31 we will not be pushing the button .... To be at that funding level that would take us to a winning environment, we will take more time." (NZ Herald 3/23/04) The major sponsorship arrangements were announced June 14, 2004, said by Dalton to satisfy 85% of the ETNZ's 2007 budget. ETNZ filed their formal challenge for the 32nd America's Cup in late June, 2004, and its acceptance was officially announced by SNG June 29, 2004.
Personnel: Dalton announced as he took charge of the team his intent to retain Tom Schnackenberg and Dean Barker, though likely in altered roles. As the development of the team progressed, the design and engineering process for the 2007 effort was significantly restructured from past TNZ campaigns, distributing leadership among a broader group of personnel. With this change taking hold, Schnackenberg's departure from the team was revealed December 2, 2004, with an ExtraMSN story describing Team New Zealand Managing Director Grant Dalton saying the board decided Schnackenberg's role had diminished to the extent that it was best for him to leave. Barker, who was not initially involved day-to-day, focused his attention on an Olympic Finn effort. Dalton spoke with John Kostecki (AOne, illbruck) in hopes of recruiting him for a leadership role (source: NZ Herald, June 10th, 2003), as well as trimmer Ross Halcrow, Kostecki's VOR partner. TNZ announced in June that they had agreed in principle, but on July 31, Dalton expressed concerns that TNZ's offer to Kostecki would be outbid by other syndicates, mentioning Oracle by name. "I'm not confident of finalizing the deal with John," he said, and Oracle in the end did prevail. Andy Claughton, a member of the 2003 TNZ design staff was signed to lead the designers with the title of 'Chief Coordinator', according to newspaper reports. Kevin Shoebridge signed as Sailing Manager. As of August, 2003, Dalton said that TNZ had 37 people committed, and that TNZ was still pursuing a 'name' designer. In December, 2003, the team signed Spain's Marcelino Botin as principal designer, citing his history with "TNZ-style hulls". He shares the title with Clay Oliver. Reports of TNZ's interest in Ben Ainslie as a helmsman continued in late 2003, and Dalton has said that either way the team will add a second helmsman. Ainslie, for his part, said at the Finn Gold Cup in February, 2004, without indicating a specific team, "Well, I am probably getting involved in the America's Cup again, but nothing has been firmed up yet". Reports in May 2004 tried to tip Ainslie as more probable for Italy's +39 than either TNZ or GBR, but a June, 2004 story raised the likelihood of Ainslie landing at TNZ with an announcement coming soon, possibly accompanied by Terry Hutchinson (TDC), who himself was previously thought to be part of Toscana Challenge. Ainslie was finally announced as part of the ETNZ afterguard on June 14, 2004, along with fellow new additions Terry Hutchinson and Kevin Hall. Rod Davis will serve as a sailor and coach. As of March, 2004, TNZ had 60 people under contract, over one-third of them new recruits, and the 22-person design staff was proceeding at full steam. Members of the staff also include Giovanni Belgrano (structures), Vincent Geake, and Masanobu Katori. By June, 2004, 70 people were signed to the team, with an expectation the roster would reach 90. Rumored departures: Clay Oliver at one time mentioned as potential member of several other teams, though he has since expressed his desire to remain. Oliver and Mike Drummond were said by the NZ Herald to be unsigned as of December, 2003. By June, 2004, it was apparent Oliver was staying while Drummond was not. Participation by many of the crew in the Summer Olympics limited ETNZ preparation for the September racing events. In early December, 2004, the team reassembled in Auckland to begin the southern hemisphere training season. Notable departures: Bertrand Pacé (at first to Team France, then BMW Oracle), Mike Drummond (to Alinghi), Hamish Pepper, Tom Schnackenberg.
Yachts: Kevin Shoebridge told the NZ Herald in February, 2004, that they would begin preparing NZL-82 on March 1st for the Mediterranean Pre-Regattas, modifying the yacht's structure and one of her rigs. TNZ had planned to ship the boat to Spain in May in order to begin the summer of training on the Valencia course. The beginning of 2004 was spent modifying NZL-82's structure, and the boat began tuning up in Auckland in June before being shipped to Europe in mid-July. The team has secured the use of the former illbruck ACC, GER-68, a boat (and a team) that didn't race in 2003. GER-68 was designed by Michel Richelson, who is now with Alinghi for 2007. The addition to the training fleet allows TNZ to trial against a narrow hull similar to Alinghi and Oracle's 2003 designs, with plans to begin sailing the German hull against NZL-81 after -82 is on the way to the fall regattas, likely beginning in November. NZL-82 was badly damaged when a storm knocked over the boat in her shore cradle, September 12, following Louis Vuitton Act One. It was decided to fly NZL-81 from Auckland to Valencia via a Short Belfast cargo plane in order to participate in the fall regattas. ACM is said to have assisted with the estimated £200,000 cost of the undertaking. After a four-day trip, the hull arrived in Valencia September 24 and NZL-81 was sailing by September 28, ready for racing starting October 5. By the beginning of December, 2004, the boats were back with the team in Auckland. NZL-82 is scheduled for the repair shed while -81 will be set up to trial against the modified NZL-68. Team New Zealand's 2000-generation boats, NZL-57 and the America's Cup Defender NZL-60 have been chartered to K-Challenge in a deal announced April, 2004. The team plans to build two new boats, with the first launching in November, 2005.
Funding and Organization: $5.6 million NZ in government support was offered in March, 2003, to retain key personnel during the transition period. The NZ government pledged $34M NZ, contingent on TNZ privately raising twice that amount elsewhere. The Lotteries Commission withdrew as sponsor in July, 2003, the first departure from the traditional TNZ 'family of five'. Recruitment of new sponsors is a major priority, and TNZ leadership said in 2003 that they were actively pursuing European companies. In October, 2003, Omega announced their sponsorship of Dean Barker's match-racing campaign. January 2, 2004, Dalton said the team was close to signing a major sponsor in a deal that would likely included some naming rights. In March, 2003, the NZ Herald said that Toyota, Telecom, ASB, Xerox and Air New Zealand were supporting TNZ efforts in some capacity at least into 2005, and in April, 2004, the Sport Telegraph said a Middle East airline was possibly the major sponsor. Reports in late April and early May firmed up Dubai-based air carrier Emirates as lead sponsor, plus additional funding from European sources that should satisfy the TNZ budget through 2007. An announcement was expected in mid-May. By June 9, 2004, word was that a $35M deal has been lined up with Emirates, and this arrangement, which includes naming rights, was made public June 14. Toyota was also named as elite-level Sponsor. An unexpected source of financing was revealed in late July, 2004, confirming that Alinghi owner Ernesto Bertaralli, feeling it important that ETNZ return to compete for the America's Cup, has made a personal loan to ETNZ to ensure the Kiwi team's viability. The amount is said to be only "..in the millions." Some sources describe this transaction as a bridge loan arrangement, with Bertarelli to be repaid from the proceeds of the final elite-level sponsorship the team was still seeking. The BBC reported the amount of the loan as £3.5 million. Dalton defended the aid from the Defender: "My job is to try to win the cup and bring it back to New Zealand, and this money helps do that." Dalton hinted early on at TNZ fielding an entry in the next VOR. The 2003 TNZ trustees resigned as a group in July, 2003, to allow for re-organization. Attorney Jim Farmer and executive Gary Paykel are the first two new trustees. TNZ was represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by Andy Claughton and Marcelo Bottin. Team Site
Luna Rossa Challenge 2007-
(formerly Prada) - Patrizio Bertelli announced as the 2003 America's Cup ended that his Prada team would not pursue the America's Cup for 2007. "This adventure is finished," he told an Italian newspaper. Some observers, though, believed that he might change his mind in the future. Others looked at Prada's financial pressures and believed Bertelli would indeed sit this one out. Speculation was heard that the choice of venue for 2007 and the composition of the challengers could make the difference, and that Prada might consider combining with other Italian teams. Contracts with 2003 Prada members were said to have expired at the end of March, 2003. Reports circulated in September and October, 2003, that if Prada indeed declined to enter for 2007, Francesco de Angelis would try to form a new Italian challenger. Given a little time and distance to consider the opportunities, Bertelli indeed had a change of heart. In November, 2003, sources told CupInfo that de Angelis was actively assembling a new Italian team with assistance from Patrizio Bertelli extending to the Prada physical assets including their yachts, plus Bertelli's financial support for the first year of operation. December 11, 2003, brought reports in the Italian press quoting Bertelli making upbeat comments about the prospect of an ongoing Luna Rossa effort under de Angelis, though not as an exclusively Prada backed team.
Personnel: February, 2004, docktalk said Bruce Nelson was a possibility as designer, though German Frers, Sr., has been a Bertelli favorite. De Angelis confirmed Nelson, Roberto Biscontini (Oracle '03), and Claudio Maletto (Prada '03) on the design team in an April interview in La Gazetto dello Sporto. Crew as of April 2004 believed to include Daniele Bresciano, Emanuele Marino, Francesco Bruni, Gilberto Nobili, Massimiliano Sirena, Massimo Gherarducci, Matteo Plazzi, Michele Ivaldi, Paolo Bassani, Romolo Ranieri, Simone de Mari, and Thomas Burnham. Ivaldi was mentioned in connection with the +39/CDT challenge, but he has pointed out that this only extended to non-AC racing that took place in 2003. Francesco de Angelis announced September 23 that Australian James Spithill (OneWorld '03, YAus '00) would join LR as helmsman. Spithill took the role of skipper for the later portion of Luna Rossa's Act Two races in October. Departures include: Lars Borgstrom (trimmer), Pietro Dalì (trimmer), and Massimo Galli (grinder), all to Toscana Challenge. Designer Juan Kouyoumdjian reportedly to OracleBMW, February, 2004. Outgoing designer Doug Petersen was also said to have signed in 2003 with another team, as yet undisclosed.
Yachts: ITA-80 was initially rumored sold to a South African challenger in late December, 2003, though it turns out to be the 1995 generation ITA-48 that changed hands. Luna Rossa's first new yacht is expected in November, 2005.
Funding and Organization: Trained in Valencia out of RCNV, spring 2004. The base was set up, both 2003 generation boats transferred there, and sailing began April 20. Formal challenge papers were submitted in late July and Luna Rossa was announced as an official challenger on August 19, 2004. Italian Cup watchers also began to hear in late July that a major new sponsor for the team was likely, believed to be an Italian source from the automotive sector. Based on hints from Italian Cup observers, Pirelli seems to be the potential sponsor that best fits the profile. A September 14, 2004, report at yahoo.it appears to say that Anthony Romano was named General Manager, taking over some of the duties Patrizio Bertelli performed in that role. Telecom Italia added as sponsor, September, 2004, and reports are that the company has acquired a 49% ownership interest in the team from Bertelli. A Luna Rossa representative was present at the April, 2004, challenger meetings. 2007 Team Site ( Also still available: Prada Challenge 2003 Site )
Cercle de la Voile de Paris
The team's intention to compete in the 32nd Defense of the America's Cup was first announced in 2001. Held press conference June 17th, 2003, to detail personnel. Ortwin Kandler, Owner. Stéphane Kandler, General Manager. Dawn Riley (America True '00, America3 '95, '92), Team Manager. Phil Kaiko (OWC, AmericaTrue, OneAus, A3, GGC), Co-Designer with Juan Kouyoumdjian (Prada). John Cutler (Oracle) was announced as Technical Director in 2003, though in March, 2004, Cutler was rumored in Italian press reports to have signed with Mascalzone Latino, and by April, those rumors appeared to have come true as he attended the Valencia meetings on their behalf, and is no longer listed as a crew member by the team. Nicolas Ducet, Meteorologist. In May, 2004, Dimitri Nicolopoulos of MCube was said by K-Challenge to be serving as Design Team coordinator. Other crew: Thierry Peponnet (Olympic Gold Medal 470), Nicolas Charbonnier (420/470 champion), Yann Gouniot, Fabrice Blondel (LeDefi '00, '03), Romain Troublé (LeDefi '00, '03), Benoît Briand, Thierry Fouchier, and Albert Jacobsoone (France '83 to '00, Prada '03). Laurent Bourgnon signed, November, 2003. Dawn Riley told Sailing World, April 2004, that some contracts were allowed to expire in December, 2003, while more funding was being sought, leaving some personnel able to sign with other teams. Intent is to build two new boats. Rumors were that K-Challenge offered a bid on OneWorld's 2003 boats, but instead they closed a deal a with Team New Zealand, announced in late May, for the use of the 2000-generation NZL-57 and NZL-60. The latter is the Defender that swept Prada 5-0. Will train in Marseilles, with a new base scheduled to open there in June, 2004, and participate in the fall regattas sailing NZL-57. Budget discussed initially as €80 M. Stéphane Kandler first said K-Challenge's goal was to have half of that amount committed by the end of 2003. In a slow fundraising environment, Kandler amended that position in October, 2003, to an end-of-year target of raising the €15M that would sustain design and training operations. Believed to be actively pursuing North American sponsors. Intended to sail in Golden Gate Cup. September, 2003, trained against OracleBMW with Cutler as Helmsman and Peponnet as Tactician. Peponnet took the skipper/helm role for Louis Vuitton Act One, September, 2004. K-Challenge was represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by Stéphane Kandler, Dawn Riley and Thierry Peponnet. The team was announced as an official challenger on September 3, 2004. The interim "developmental crew" was named December 1, 2004, based on performance in the fall 2004 LV Acts. FRA-57 and -60 are being modified at the team's base in Gandia, with two-boat testing on the water to begin in late March, 2005. Support from HP France, MCube, l’Ecole Polytechnique, UGS PLM Solutions. Partners: Radio France, La Depeche Group. Team Site
- Gamla Stans Yacht Sällskap
Victory publicly announced that they were an official challenger on February 18, 2005. For a long time, no word was available from Sweden on whether Jan Stenbeck's dream will be carried forward, though some team members competed in post-AC2003 races under the Victory name and the Victory web site has been updated from time to time. Swedish observers relay word from Mats Johansson that the physical assets are being stored in a Gothenburg warehouse, while design exploration and testing for 2007 has not yet begun. In February, 2004, spokesman Bert Willborg ended a story about a visit to Auckland with the following: "PS. Victory Challenge’s future has not been decided yet either. Updates on the America’s Cup will be posted on [the Victory Challenge] site, though, whenever there is anything to report. You will also be able to see the latest news on the future of the Swedish syndicate [there] first." And such faith was rewarded, or at least encouraged, in December 2004 with a story in the Swedish press quoting Willborg saying that the Stenbeck family was now seriously exploring the opportunity, provided they could find additional partners to share in sponsorship. The latest information filtering out of Sweden in January 2005 is that Victory may be in the process of completing their formal challenge papers. An announcement by the team was planned for Friday, February, 18, according to their web site. Victory was represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by Bert Willborg. Some Scandinavian sailors saw, as an alternative, the possibility of a new team led by 2003 Victory helmsman Jesper Bank, though he later joined the German Fresh17. Team Site
El Reto : The Spanish
Real Federación Española de Vela
(formerly Desafío Espanol) - After several comments and hints in the press, statements made by Agustín Zulueta (sailor/mast designer of Bravo España) in October, 2003, reconfirmed the Spanish challenge effort was moving forward.
Personnel: Desire is to have primarily Spanish crew, designers, and technical staff. Leadership and crew includes veterans of Spanish challenges from '92, '95, and '00: José Luis Doreste, his brother Luis Doreste, Laureano Wizner, and Domingo Manrique, though one fixture of the previous campaigns, Pedro Campos, has not signed on. Campos announced in November, 2003, that he plans a VOR campaign in 2005, though he also told Masmar in February, 2004, that he still has high interest in the America's Cup and sees the possibility of adapting his VOR organization toward a 2007 challenge when the VOR is complete. Fernando León (Olympic Gold Medalist Tornado) has expressed interest, and the Spanish masmar.com website mentions Roberto 'Chuny' Bermúdez de Castro (Spanish challenge main trimmer '95 and tune-up boat helm '00) may join the team, too, possibly as primary helmsman.
Yachts: OWC's two 2003 boats were mentioned as likely acquisitions in August 2004, along with America True's 2000 generation yacht. The deal for the OWC pair was announced in January, 2005.
Funding and Organization: Announced initial budget target of €50 million, recently increased to €60 M in some reports. Several unnamed sponsors were said to be committed and more sought. Portugal's Banco Espirito Santo is apparently not a patron of the team, despite being having initially mentioned in that role, and Zulueta also confirmed the Challenge will not be representing the Real Club Náutico de Valencia, either. More extensive discussions were held with both Real Club Náutico de Palma de Mallorca and Real Club Náutico de Barcelona. In early February, 2004, RCN Barcelona had been expected to make an announcement around the 20th of February, which may be a big hint as to the sponsoring club. The team planned to start training in May 2004. The team's intention is to purchase two training boats and build two new designs. The original Desafío Espanol team merged in November, 2003, with the Mediterranean Brands IMS team backed by actor Antonio Banderas, who reportedly holds a 20% stake in the new entity. In late November, 2003, Zulueta told Reuters that the team was still seeking a major sponsor. He also reaffirmed budget goals in the €50-70 million range, with a self-imposed deadline of Christmas, 2003, for securing initial commitments. In late March, 2004, reports in Las Provincias said that the signing of a major sponsor was near. Rumors were heard in late July, 2004, about the possibility El Reto could combine forces with the also-rumored Mascalzone Latino/Pedro Campos merger. In early August, 2004, a press conference announced that the team would represent RCN Barcelona, that the formal challenge papers were in process, and that the team was even hoping to be racing in the October regattas in Valencia. Budget was reiterated in the €60 million range, with a major sponsor to be signed hopefully before October. In mid-November, 2004, Spanish press reports suggested major developments about to be announced. Most media sources have varying explanations of the issues that need to be resolved, but the general perception is the desire for a Spanish team is helping the various players in Valencia and Barcelona find a basis for cooperation. The team submitted their formal challenge December 17, 2004, and SNG's official acceptance of the challenge was publicly announced by ACM on December 21, representing Real Federación Española de Vela (the national sailing federation). Some sources suggest that the use of a national sailing authority rather than a yacht club, as the Deed of Gift seems to require, will be the subject of procedural actions by other challengers, though the unprecedented arrangement was not rejected by ACM. El Reto was represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by José Luis Doreste
Team Capitalia (formerly Mascalzone
Reale YC Canottieri
Announced as an official challenger March 23, 2005. New sponsor Italian banking firm Capitalia. The team will again represent Real YC Canottieri Savoia, and their official announcement includes the news that they have just acquired the two Stars & Stripes boats, USA-66 and USA-77, from Team Dennis Conner. Owner Vincenzo Onorato has said that the Latin Rascals will return for 2007, this time aiming to win. Announced June 12th that Vasco Vascotto and Flavio Favini will return to lead the afterguard. Some notable departures rumored, including Paolo Cian. Italy's La Gazetta dello Sport, April, 2004, said that John Cutler was moving from K-Challenge to sign with Mascalzone. Reports in the Spanish press in July hint at an arrangement that may involve Spain's Pedro Campos combining efforts with Mascalzone and some form of sponsorship from Spanish sources. A statement published in Scuttlebutt #1640, August 5, 2004, said that an agreement between Campos and Mascalzone Latino had not been yet been reached, but still kept alive the possibility of a "Mas Latino" extra-national team. Mascalzone was reportedly represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by Tom Weaver, John Cutler, and Vasco Vascotto. Team Site
United Internet Team Germany/Fresh 17 - Deutscher Challenger Yacht Club - Trying to succeed where illbruck did not, another developing challenge effort was reported by German media in late August 2004. Scuttlebutt reported the announcement September 7, 2004, that the project has been in organization for 10 months and has a good lead on major sponsor recruitment. December 5, 2004, the team announced that they had selected Kiel's Knierim Yachtbau GmbH o build their new boat, though the team has yet to file it's official challenge (press release). Leaders: Financial Director, Thomas Robl; Sports Director, Andreas John; and Technical Director, Eberhard Magg. Crew selection is intended to be young and primarily German, filling about 48 positions. Design may involve Judel/Vrolijk & Co., according to the team's web site. Aim is to secure an older boat for training purposes, to be on the water by Spring 2005. The Deutscher Challenger Yacht Club provides a role for Willi Kuhweide (Olympic Finn Gold medalist in 1964), who will serve as commodore of the consortium club formed as a joint venture between Kiel YC, Düsseldorf YC, YC Langenargen, and Deutscher Touring YC (Tutzing). Budget target of €45million, organized around a program of five major partners contributing €3 million per year. Newly renamed, United Internet Team Germany was announced as an official challenger Friday, April 29th, the last day of the late challenge filing period. The team sent a large contingent to the October, 2004, challenger meetings. Team Site
Craig McCaw initially suggested that his team would be unlikely to challenge again unless substantial changes were made to both the rules and the conduct of participants. No definitive word has been made public as to his final decision in light of the altered state of the 2007 regatta, though by June, 2003, helmsman James Spithill was reportedly no longer under contract to OneWorld and rumors that the team and the boats are for sale were heard. "Craig feels very strongly that he wants there to be a strong American team in the next Cup — hopefully in addition to Larry Ellison," OWC spokesman Bob Ratliffe told the Seattle Times in March, 2003. "He would like to be part of that, or at least have the [OneWorld] assets be part of that." A OWC representative was not reported to be in official attendance at the April, 2004, challenger meeting. Mid-April 2004 saw at least one OWC boat being unloaded in Valencia, with speculation that this only means that OWC intends to sell or charter the yachts to another team. The Spanish Challenge announced their acquisition of the boats in January, 2005, which seems to signal the end of the story for OneWorld. Team Site
Team Dennis Conner
- New York YC
Dennis Conner has suggested he wants to give it another try. No hints as to financing or viability have been made public, but the funding is being sought. Dennis made these comments on NewsTalkZB in early 2003: "I think it could very well be the end for me. Not because I don’t have the passion or I don’t have the drive or I don’t have the competitive instincts; they’re all still there, but show me the money." Bill Trenkle essentially reiterated this position in late September, 2003. Speaking in November, 2003, following the announcement of Valencia's selection, Dennis seemed to all but admit he won't have an AC team for 2007, telling Tim Jeffery in the London Daily Telegraph : "I raised $40 million last time. Raising $100 million in the United States today for an event that goes on in Europe at three in the morning is a dream. It can't be done. You have to have someone wealthy, it can't be done with sponsorship. Realistically, there are only two who are going to win this. Oracle and Alinghi are way ahead." Still, Dennis should not be counted out. "We still hope to be there somehow, so please do not take us out of your favorites’ list on your browser just yet," he wrote in the December, 2003, Stars&Stripes newsletter. While sailing and crew preparations have not been the focus yet, the team has been working hard to find adequate funding, particularly from European sources likely to respond to the Mediterranean location of the defense. Emirates Airlines, who signed in June as name sponsor of Emirates Team New Zealand, was also said have been in talks with TDC before making their decision.
Unconfirmed rumors circulated for a long time that the team has sold its two 2003 boats. In November, 2003, the Toscana Challenge's Karol Jablonski said they had purchased both and were discussing support from S&S designers Reichel/Pugh. The report of the sale was later disputed by TDC, and as of mid-2004, their disposition has not been confirmed. TDC was represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by Bill Trenkle. Departures: Ken Read (helm), Terry Hutchinson (tactician, to Toscana and then TNZ), Mike Toppa (trimmer, to Toscana)
New York Yacht Club: Gary Jobson, writing in Sailing World magazine, said that the NYYC does not plan to participate as a challenger in the 32nd America's Cup. With $80 million US as the projected starting point for a competitive team, past commodore Charles Dana admitted the financial slope for a 2007 challenge might just be too steep for the historic club. "We couldn't raise that kind of money from sponsorship," he said. "We've had some meetings about [the next Cup], but we won't be in it the next time around. Maybe we'll be looking at the Cup after this one." Lawrence S. Huntington, the current NYYC commodore, didn't absolutely rule out the possibility of challenging for 2007, telling the Newport Daily News in September, 2003: "The answer is, if a member came to us and said, 'I really want to do this and I'm ready to fund it,' we would very seriously contemplate such a thing." Team Site
Ocean Racing Club
Peter Harrison has stated that GBR will return. The team website reports that GBR began exploring design and funding issues in April, 2003, and as of November, 2003, was said to have 15 employees engaged in those tasks. Technical Director Derek Clark is said to be leading the design program. In August, 2003, GBR announced that Iain Percy ( Finn class Olympic Gold '00 ) would join the team. Despite this apparent settled arrangement, Percy was announced May, 2004, as instead joining the +39 team. Another notable British sailor, Ben Ainslie, chose to sign with ETNZ. American Ed Baird and Australian Cameron Appleton have also been mentioned as possible skippers. Following the selection of Valencia in November, 2003, Harrison self-imposed a September, 2004, deadline for securing £60 million in commitments, an amount twice GBR's 2003 budget. In early February, 2004, the Sport.Telegraph reported that Harrison had pledged £4.5 million for initial research and design, and planned to back that up with up to 50% of the final budget from his own pocket, the rest coming primarily from new sponsors yet to be signed. At the same time Harrison also said that he would step aside as chairman to let the effort be run by an executive board. Gordon Moultrie was announced as Team Principal in April, 2004, with business management and operational responsibilities, telling the Financial Times: "We want to have in place six to ten core sponsors across all levels of commitment who will work closely with us and each other. We will offer promotion and corporate hospitality second to none." Harrison had the following update at the UBS Trophy, June 20, 2004: "Since coming home from New Zealand and the finals we've been working, and I have the core of a design team. We have our base in Cowes, and the boatyard, and of course our assets from the previous Cup. On the Harrison side, we're still willing effectively to take the lead and put in a considerable amount of money…I mean today, you see the boats out there and you think, 'I want to be in it'. But this time a major, title sponsor is vital to us…I need backing…I'm hopeful, but I can't say anything positive at the moment." A 25-person design staff was pursuing new designs, including tank testing at Southampton Institute and at QinetiQ in Gosport. The team began training in Valencia based out of RCNV, June, 2004. Funding issues continue to cloud GBR's future as of early August, with Harrison telling Sport Telegraph's Tim Jeffery that unless £20-30 million in sponsorship (which added to Harrison's £20 million commitment would reach what the team felt was a competitive level) was found by the end of the month, he might be forced to pull the plug on the challenge. Reports in early September strongly hinted that GBR had a sponsor about to sign, and this was communicated to team members. Expectation was that the supported, who might even take an ownership position in the team, was banking firm HSBC. In late September, however, after their announcement of support for a racing series, HSBC representatives were quoted saying that they did not plan to go forward with the GBR deal. In the wake of the loss of HSBC, press reports now mention now mention Barclays and Hewlett-Packard as possible sponsors. Charles Dunstone, of Carphone Warehouse, was part of an announcement in September that he would be supporting the team to a degree and working to bringing in substantial financial partner. Reports broke November 15th that with the early challenger application deadline looming December 17th, that Harrison had "suspended current operations," allowing only very limited activity to proceed, though prepared to come back if additional funding is later found. In an apparent white flag gesture, April 2005 the team's assets were listed for sail on their web site, including both 2003 ACC's, equipment and gear, tenders, and the 75' hospitality yacht Viking. GBR was represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by Leslie Ryan, Gordon Moultrie, Derek Clark, and Gordon Clyde. Departures: Iain Percy (to +39), Adrian Stead, tactician (to Toscana Challenge). Team Site
/ China Team -
Nationale pour La Course au Large -
(Former LeDefi Areva)
Management has expressed desire to challenge in 2007. Pierre Mas, Luc Gellusseau, Xavier de Lesquen, Philippe Presti, and Yaka Design Team are expected to again form the team's core. General Manager Xavier de Lesquen announced June 19th that LeDefi will continue training and testing from their base in Lorient. Gellusseau, touring Valencia in February, 2004, said that the team plans to be training in Valencia from 2005 onward. The most imaginative LeDefi rumors involve recruiting Paul Cayard. Rumors noted by CupInEurope in late September, 2003, said that LeDefi was exploring the possibility of combining with Team France. In late November, energy company Areva reportedly decided not to renew their sponsorship of the team. LeDefi was represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by Luc Gellusseau. At the beginning of Louis Vuitton Act Two, the teams red boat was sporting the logo of automaker Renault, in what is reported to be a sponsorship of €12 million.
China Team: Reports in mid-December 2004 were that Chaoyong Wang, a Chinese businessman, was very interested in acquiring an America's Cup Team, possibly with support from the Chinese government, and that he visited Valencia in December. Wang is CEO of ChinaEquity Investment Co., a technology and media venture capital firm of which he is also a founding partner. Various stories continued to filter out of China, with interpretations split on whether they portended hosting an AC-related regatta or actually fielding a challenge for 2007. March, 2005, stories appeared in the mainstream press that Chinese businessman Wang Chaoyong is going to provide $32 million (USD) to support a joint effort forming a LeDefi/Chinese Team (See story at CNN.com). An information package describing the team leadership and their goals was released in March. A copy can be downloaded from the Challenger Commission website.
April 8, 2005, Wang restated his intent to challenge and press releases on the China Equity corporate web site quoted him saying the effort will file their challenge papers before the April 29 deadline. China Team filed their papers and fees just before the deadline and the status of their challenge is currently being evaluated by SNG. Team Site
Yacht Club Livorno
Officially announced November 22, 2003. Led by businessman Gualtiero Pantani and Stefano Ghelli, CupInEurope reported the Italian press saying in early November, 2003, that Terry Hutchinson (S&S) and Karol Jablonski will be team members. (A report in the Sport Telegraph Online, June, 2004, floats the idea that Hutchinson may actually end up at TNZ). Jablonski, a top match racer, confirmed the team's intentions to Yacht.de a few days later in November, and said they have purchased both of the 2003 generation Team Dennis Conner boats. The former Stars&Stripes pair will be renamed "Mediterranea" and "Mediterraneo". Other sources say the purchase included the entire S&S sail and equipment inventory, too. Negotiations were said to be taking place with designers Reichel/Pugh as well, though subsequent reports say the boats have not actually been acquired by Toscana as of mid-2004. Personnel include: Adrian Stead (tactician, GBR '03); Lars Borgstrom (trimmer), Pietro Dalì (trimmer), and Massimo Galli (grinder) from Prada; Roberto Ferrarese, Team Manager. Also mentioned as possible crew: Mike Toppa (S&S '03, '00, America3 '92, Eagle '87, Defender '83, Freedom '80). Budget said to be €90 million. Toscana was represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by Gualtiero Pantani. Four major sponsors, plus a large consortium of additional sponsors. Team Site .
Australian Team/Syd Fischer - Syd Fischer, who has organized 5 previous Australian challenges, expressed interest after the new protocol was revealed. "I am looking at it. I'm looking at what's happening. I mean I don't particularly want to do the whole thing myself - I would be part of a syndicate if we can get a credible one together." Alan Bond has made positive comments about the Cup going to Europe, but when asked about becoming involved with a new Australian challenge, he replied "I wouldn't consider doing it again, I don't have the money to do it, but I would be more than happy to advise any potential challenger."
Australian Team/Grant Wharington - Melbourne's Grant Wharington, a VOR and Sydney-to-Hobart veteran, is pursuing top Aussie businessmen, hoping to build a competitive new America's Cup challenge by 2010, though Wharington could even go after the 2007 Cup following his VOR campaign next year. (Source: age.com.au, June, 2004)
Britannia Challenge - England - Royal Thames YC - Peter de Savary has expressed interest in challenging in European waters, possibly using some of the experienced Brits left out of GBR, most notably top match racer Chris Law. Admitted to exploratory talks towards cooperation with a Formula 1 racing team, possibly McClaren. (Source: Yachting World, August, 2002)
Sud Challenge - France - (Formerly "Grand Sud Challenge") - Limited information came out in late April, 2004, about this start-up led by Alain Fédensieu, recently associated with K-Challenge. A brief formal announcement was made May 12 with only slightly more information available including mention that the team hoped to sail in the 2004 fall regattas. Team Site
Paul Cayard - More rumors have been orbiting around Paul Cayard than any other single Cup sailor. Depending on what you believe, or at least what you want to believe, Cayard is doing one or more of the following: Forming an Italian team sponsored by Cilenti using the OneWorld yachts; Forming a team based in Monaco sponsored by a wealthy backer from Saudi Arabia or Dubai; Joining 2 other Italian or Finnish teams (see below); Joining LeDefi. Officially, Cayard has been in hot pursuit of Olympic Gold in the Star class. In April, Cayard and crew Phil Trinter won the US Olympic Trials, and they represented the US in the 2004 Summer Games, sailing well but finishing short of a medal. Cayard won the Star World Championship in 1988. For more information on this latest quest, see his website, Cayard Sailing. Cayard again stoked the rumors by touring Mediterranean and Middle Eastern sailing venues with Russell Coutts in April, 2004, possibly scouting exhibition regatta locations though predictably some people instead took the association to mean Cayard had signed with Alinghi. Stories in early July, 2004, confirmed that these Cayard-Coutts activities were related to the planned creation of a new sailing "Grand Prix" series.
Lombardia Challenge - Italy - CupInEurope carried translations of articles from the Italian Giornale di Brescia and TGCOM/Canal 5 describing the aspirations of a group of Lombardy businessmen who were considering forming an AC team. The challenge would be funded by a syndicate of regional enthusiasts. These reports may or may not have referred to the Clan Des Team who fits this profile and became an official Challenger in late March, 2004.
Nautor Challenge - Finland or Italy - Paul Cayard (Oracle '03, AOne '00, S&S '95, Il Moro '92, USA '87, Liberty '83) mentioned pursuing Leonardo Ferragamo, member of the Italian fashion dynasty and chairman of yacht builder Nautor Group, as a major sponsor. Cayard is a member of Nautor's board, and previously led an Italian challenger to the AC Final in '92. Finland-based Nautor is the manufacturer of Nautor-Swan yachts. Cayard is also married to the daughter of Pelle Pettersen, leader of Sweden's '77 and '80 challenger Sverige. Interviewed by Sailing Magazine in October, 2003, however, Ferragamo replied to a question about a Nautor Challenge with a flat denial that they would field a team for 2007. Ferragamo did leave open the possibility of other, unspecified, forms of participation.
IACC City - Italy - Had previously announced for 2003, basing funding on novel public subscription plan, but ultimately withdrew. Associated with home port Club Nautico di Rimini. Announced in May, 2003, the beginning of their "Progetto Europa" effort aimed at 2007, with the support of Giorgio Rubini. Has publicly mentioned possibility of buying various training boats from the Prada stable. Team Site
Sailing Planet - Italy - Announced intent March 4, 2003. Gabriele Benussi, Furio Benussi, and Stefano Spangaro (Whitbread). Currently seeking funding. Mentioned as possible crew: Michele Ivaldi, a strategist from Prada. Has expressed interest in buying 2003 boats from Victory, S&S, or LeDefi. Gabriele Benussi is based in Porto San Rocco.
Marco Polo Challenge - Italy - A press release in early May, 2004, said that this formative Italian team, based in Rome and Padova, was recruiting technical expertise needed to launch the project. English Translation of the Press Release.
Polska 1 - Poland - In 2001, match racing ace Karol Jablonski said that the first ever Polish team would compete in the following America's Cup. Reportedly had purchased a 1992 era-ACC, ESP-5. Possibly trained in Valencia, Spain. Rumors in August, 2003, suggesting Jablonski may be re-thinking his participation in the challenge were refuted by later reports, but in late October Jablonski commented that the Polska effort would not go forward. Jablonski is now involved with Toscana Challenge. In mid-March, 2004, the Polska 1 web site was apparently removed.
Pedro Campos - Spain - As mentioned in the El Reto Entry: Campos announced in November, 2003, that he plans a VOR campaign in 2005, though he also told Masmar in February, 2004, that he still has high interest in the America's Cup and sees the possibility of adapting his VOR organization into a 2007 challenger when the VOR is complete. Would likely base out of Valencia. Reports in late March, 2004, downplayed Campos' likelihood of forming the AC team, but stories were circulating in the Spanish media in July about the possibility Campos and Mascalzone might form a joint team with major support from Spanish sources. A statement in Scuttlebutt #1640, August 5, 2004, said that an agreement had not yet been reached between the two.
Meteora - US Virgin Islands - (formerly "Team Meteora") Cryptic information was released in March and April of 2004 about this rumored team, stating that they had bought assets of four other teams. A June, 2004, press release from Meteora's Founder, CEO, and Chairman, all of whom are Vinny Gagliani, revealed no additional details, stating that the team had no sponsors yet and was not associated with previous USVI entries, also mentioning people from eight countries "...joining the team over the next couple of months". Representatives of USVI yacht clubs point out that they have no affiliation with Meteora, and characterize the team as consisting of a teenager with a computer. In late July, a Meteora sponsorship solicitation package was released.
Other Teams - Representatives of several hopefuls were either incognito or not present at the challenger's meeting in Valencia, April, 2004. In the Sport Telegraph, Tim Jeffrey reports this included teams from southeast Asia, from Germany and Poland, and from the United States. Some speculation was that the Asian team might be a relocated C7. A Singapore or Hong Kong team is sometimes theorized, but other creative interpretations include ACM soliciting a team from the People's Republic of China.
Racing - Germany
Energized by the European proximity of the 32nd Defense, and building on the aborted start of illbruck's attempt in 2003, a German challenge showed signs of making it to the starting line for the first time before Michael Illbruck announced October 13th, 2003, that their America's Cup efforts had ceased. The previous June illbruck's website stated that the challenge was going forward for 2007 and that John Kostecki was on board, although subsequent events showed Kostecki going to Oracle by way of TNZ. A press report in March, 2003, hinted that that Michael Illbruck had a 90 million Euro commitment for sponsorship. Other sources suggested German companies SAP and Audi as potential corporate partners. The loss of Audi's possible support was cited by Illbruck as a significant factor in shutting down his challenge. Nearly completed yacht GER-68, the first German ACC, was chartered to TNZ for training on the strength of its resemblance to Alinghi's 2003 configuration. Notable departures: Kostecki, Ross Halcrow (trimmer/sail program manager, to Oracle), Michael Richelson (designer, to Alinghi), Juan Vila (tactician/navigator, to Alinghi), and CEO Glenn Bourke. Team Site
Magic Sailing Team - Italy
Italian Cup watchers saw signs of interest from Domenico Cilenti's sailing team in 2003, but January 4, 2004, Cilenti sent a message to Italian press that appeared to signal a decision not to field an America's Cup Challenger for 2007. "... Ho deciso di sospendere il progetto Coppa America in quanto non ravviso i presupposti e le condizioni per una partecipazione ad alto livello. (Which might be very roughly translated by a non-Italian speaker to mean : "... I have decided to suspend the America's Cup project as I do not see the conditions for competing at a high level.") Team Site
Withdrew June, 2004. Loïck Peyron halted Team France's efforts in light of fund-raising difficulties and the departure of Bertrand Pacé (to BMW Oracle). Leadership: Loïck Peyron and Bertrand Pacé (TNZ '03, Le Defi '00). Initially reported a target budget of $90 million US, with aim to secure commitments for 50% by the end of July, 2003. As of August 1st, 2003, Peyron stated that though the financing was not yet in place, he hoped to have good news soon. Names mentioned as possible team members: Rod Davis (Prada, TNZ, US), design specialist Clay Oliver (TNZ, A3), Christian Contzen (former Managing Director of Renault F1), offshore trimaran skipper Frank Cammas (Groupama). Clay Oliver has reportedly denied this link, and expressed desire to remain with TNZ. Rod Davis writing to Scuttlebutt in 2004 said he had not yet discussed joining the team. Fabrice Levet, and K-Challenge's Benoît Briand and Thierry Fouchier will be part of a match racing team led by Pacé which began competition in the Spring of 2004 at the Marseille International Match Race. Peyron was a guest onboard Alinghi's SUI-64 during the Moët Cup, at which time he said he felt "...more optimistic about our chances for funding a budget." Rumors noted by CupInEurope in late September, 2003, said that LeDefi has explored the possibility of combining with Team France. Late October, 2003, brought details of official sponsors, with speculation about which ones might sign on in the title roles. December, 2003, Team France received the official support of the French Sailing Federation (FFV), a group that supported LeDefi Areva in the previous Cup. Team leadership said in early March, 2004, that they will make a formal announcement once two major sponsorship deals are finalized. In a French newspaper, late March, 2004, most of the sponsors were said to be in place (although two major slots were still to be finalized), the latest budget number was €65M and the challenge was proceeding with recruitment and training activities. The team may purchase or charter the former FAST 2000 yacht "be hApPy" from current owner Alinghi. May field three training crews. Team France was represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by Bertrand Pacé.
Italian Challenge - The rumor mill keeps bringing names to the surface. Food for thought is that representatives of additional hopefuls were present at the ACM sponsored challenger meetings in Valencia, April, 2004, including an Italian team led by Paolo Scutellaro and skipper Paolo Cian. April 5, 2005, a note from Scutellaro to ACM was published on the Challenger Commission website, regretting that the challenge effort would be withdrawn in the face of financial issues.
Melbourne Challenge 2007/C7 - Yacht Squadron members confirmed September 2, 2003, that they were organizing a challenge with a target budget of $150M Australian/$103M USD. "We are in discussions with a syndicate to launch an America's Cup challenge. We are extremely optimistic about the outcome," said Alan Saunders, RMYS Chief Commodore. Syndicate leaders include Kristine Condell, COO, businessman John O'Neill, and a third partner not yet disclosed. Goal to be launched and running by March 1, 2004. December 2003 reports quoted Condell saying that $10 million in funding was already committed. "C7" was said to have explored leasing the TNZ 2000 yachts for training and early competition, though K-Challenge eventually made a deal for the pair. Reportedly pursued James Spithill (OWC '03, YAus '00). C7 was represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by Kristine Condell. Talk coming out of that meeting was that C7 may have secured funding from an Asian sponsor, and that the team composition, nationality, and identity could be changing to suit, but no hard word has been heard since on the challenge's progress. By February, 2005, there were a few indications that efforts to launch the team were still proceeding outside of the media spotlight. An Asian or Malaysian identity would not allow the team to represent the RMYS, so a yacht club qualified under the rules to challenge for the Cup will be a key ingredient. At one time some observers thought that it was a natural possibility for a RMYS challenge to be associated with possible efforts by Syd Fischer. Simon Reffold was at one time General Sailing Manager of C7, but resigned April, 2004. A C7 press release was published April 13 on the Challenger Commission site, stating that the group was withdrawing their effort for 2007.
Announced October 7th, 2003. Leadership from Sebastien Destremau (LeDefi Tactician '03), Philip Edmiston. Plan to have at least 60% of the crew born after Australia II's successful challenge in 1983. Began recruiting campaign via website November 5th, with selection timetable beginning January/February 2004 to fill an estimated 83 posts. Announced April 7, 2004, Michael Dunstan, helmsman on the noted Aussie racer Ragamuffin and a top young Australian match racer, as Skipper. Also named were Adam Garnaut, Nick Partridge, Seve Jarvin and Paul McKenzie. Yacht Club to be determined. Target budget of $58 million Australian/$40 million USD. Boat construction: two hulls if possible, launch planned for 2006. Schedule is to put two previous generation boats on the water by 2005 for training and hospitality purposes. The previous plan was to launch the new boats in October, 2005. OBC had said they have confirmed to sail in the 2004 Pre-Regattas, but in June, 2004, announced that they would not be participating. Explanations cited a need for the team to concentrate on preparing for 2007, in addition to what OBC felt would be limited effectiveness in regard to enticing prospective sponsors given that the Cup Village is currently in the construction phase. OBC has fielded a European circuit match racing team which began at the Trentino Garda Cup in Italy at late April, followed by the Elba Cup on the Swedish Match Tour, and other European regattas. Ray Davies has been crewing with Dunstan. A Sail-World.com story on June 24, 2004, quoted team leaders at a Sydney recruiting forum revealing little about fundraising, designers, and management other than that all three were the focus of their current efforts. A yacht club may be chosen soon, possibly by the end of July, from among four unnamed candidates. Aside from confirming their plan to be a two boat team, OBC is setting a date of December 17th, 2004, to get their funding off the ground. Some syndicate backers said to be based in Sydney, though Destremau and Edmiston are out of Perth. In early December, 2004, the team's website promised an announcement on December 15 regarding their in the 32nd America's Cup and inviting readers "...on a fantastic journey !" The December 17th announcement was that the team wished to challenge as the sole Australian team under association with Yachting Australia, the national sailing authority. In order to have this status, they will wait until the end of the late registration deadline to ensure a second Australian challenge does not emerge. The team announced their withdrawl from the 2007 Cup April 26th, 2005. OBC was represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by Ben Wright. Support from 'Founding Corporate Partners': Seek Communications, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Sumo. Team Site
Sausalito Challenge 2007 - Sausalito Yacht Club - United States - Unconfirmed rumors broke in late December 2003 on the CupInEurope website that John Sweeny and Tina Kleinjan might be launching a new challenge out of San Francisco, possibly affiliated with the Sausalito YC. Backers were said to be two wealthy Bay Area patrons, and a company in the aerospace industry. Sweeney and Kleinjan have been a key figures in the reuse and racing of America's Cup Class yachts, including the Sailing Billboards Outdoor Media company and the Challenge Series racing events. Currently said to own 4 early generation ACC boats (see acchistory.com). Tim Prouty, SYC Race Director, replied to the rumors in Scuttlebutt #1486 with a response that was not a denial and spoke of "...sharing the vision..." held by Sweeney and Kleinjan. Sweeney appears to have been studying the possibilities very intensely, as it turns out. By January 30, 2004, Sweeney had told 2007AC.com's Chuck Lantz, "We have set out to obtain a modest budget of 40-50 Million Euros from one or two individuals and a sole sponsor. Our base will be Treasure Island where the Challenge Series is currently set up. We are working on securing two new generation yachts and plan to build one new AC yacht for the 2007 America's Cup. We hope to have two yachts training in San Francisco by late summer 2004." On February 9, 2004, the Sausalito YC formally voted to support the effort. Despite a generally thin environment for fundraising, Klieinjan was able to tell TheLog.com in late February that $10 million USD was already pledged by patrons, although "... we would have to go out and get the rest of the funding. We are getting whispers through our contacts that a couple of companies might be interested." The Sausalito Challenge announced March 1, 2004, on the Challenge Series Site, that the opportunity to be exclusive team sponsor, including naming rights and "17th man" access, would be auctioned April 2-9 on the eBay Motors website. Minimum bid was $30 million US, which would be the site's largest transaction ever. The auction did not receive any bids, though it drew 2,000 views each day for a week. After conversations with potential bidders, Sausalito Challenge re-listed their bid on eBay Motors April 13, with an opening price of $18 million and expectations that bids might be placed under the modified terms. The second round brought 10 bids, reaching $20 million, an eBay record in itself, but short of the team's reserve price. Bidders were said to include companies from Switzerland and Japan. The team is expected to conduct some further negotiations in private in order to secure their funding. Word from team leaders in mid-July suggested that an announcement about financing could be made sometime in August. A source close to Sweeney strongly hinted in mid-September that the team had signed software company PeopleSoft as their major sponsor, with a public announcement imminent. Despite expectations that the PeopleSoft deal involves America's Cup sponsorship for Sausalito Challenge, to date the only information revealed was a promotional transaction for a Sailing Billboards yacht in PeopleSoft livery, announced in late September. (PeopleSoft had been a rumored Sausalito sponsor since word of the effort began spreading in early 2004, but with the long corporate takeover battle between Larry Ellison's Oracle and Propelsoft finally resulting in a success for Oracle, PeopleSoft has become highly unlikely as an America's Cup sponsor.) In what may be another sign of the team's growing momentum, Ashley Tobin was added as General Counsel and Rules Director (read more). The Sausalito Challenge website in early December, 2004, announced that the team's official challenge papers would be filed following the expected approval by the SYC's membership in their December 12 meeting. The SYC members overwhelming voted to do so, and the SC formal challenge process was filed, beating the December 17 early challenge deadline. An official announcement of the challenge's acceptance is yet to be heard. Though the team did submit the filing fees and papers, they were unable to sign key sponsors before the deadline, and Sausalito announced the withdrawal of their challenge Friday, April 29, 2005. Nic Clarke is Team Manager. John Morgan is Design Director. The team web site also lists Patrik Erlandson, Michael Richelsen, and Stefan Winberg in the sail department, though Richelsen was earlier reported to be hired by Alinghi and is listed on the Alinghi website. Sweeney told CupInfo in April that crew and design staff were already selected, and that the team would build an innovative new boat unlike previous ACC yachts. Sausalito Challenge was represented at the April, 2004, challenger meetings by Tina Kleinjan. Team Site (new) Challenge Series Site CupInfo Feature: Interview with John Sweeney
Sicilia Challenge - Italy - The following is a rough translation from a ANSA Press Agency story, posted February 19, 2004, on the www.iacc-city.it forums: A new Sicilian challenge could be under way. According to voices in the "Associazione Sportiva Vela Mare 83" located in Messina, a group of local businessmen have delegated to a renown Neapolitan skipper the responsibility to start up this new challenge and guaranteed a budget of 150 M €. The formal launch of "Sicilia Challenge" is expected with a press conference, an advertising campaign, and involvement of the Sicilian satellite TV channel. The above story is believed to be an example of a "mardi gras" joke, similar to April Fool's Day.
B-Linghi - This German team was announced as a tongue-in-cheek attempt to draw public attention to German sailing, though B-Linghi leaders say if a sponsor is willing to support them, then they will become a serious challenger.
abbreviation : challenge name (yacht club, country, year(s) )
AOne : AmericaOne (SFYC, San Francisco, USA, '00)
A3 : America3 (SDYC, San Diego, USA, '92, '95)
ATrue : America True (USA, '00)
GGC : Golden Gate Challenge (USA '87)
Il Moro : Il Moro di Venezia (Compagnia della Vela, ITA, '92)
Liberty : (NYYC, USA, '83)
OneAus : One Australia (AUS, '95)
S&S : Stars&Stripes (SDYC, San Diego, USA, '87, '92, '95, '00; NYYC, New York, USA, '03)
TAG : Tag Heuer Challenge (Tutukaka South Pacific YC, NZL '95)
TNZ : Team New Zealand (RNZYS, Auckland, NZL, '92, '95, '00, '03)
OWC : OneWorld Challenge (Seattle YC, USA, '03)
YAus : Young Australia, (AUS, '00)
YA : Young America (NYYC, New York, USA, '95, '00)
Inquires please contact: