Presented for the first time in the competition in 1992 with a Japanese vessel, Asia will have two representatives from China and South Korea in the next America’s Cup, a sign of a real thrill for sailing in the region.
China, where the marinas are mushrooming, also starts for the first time in the Volvo Race, race around the world which starts in Spain in October, with Sanya Team, a team supported by the authorities of the Hainan Island.
Already committed in 2007 in Valencia (Spain) with a crew of strong French accent, China will be starting for the 34th America’s Cup in 2013 in San Francisco (California). Among the eight challengers also included Korea, the first team from land of morning calm to attend the event.
The China Team was found in 2007 by Wang Chao-Yong, the founding partner and Chief Executive Officer of ChinaEquity International Holding. Mr. Wang had spent 12 years in the investment banking and financial services industry with Chase, Standard & Poors, Morgan Stanley and the China Development Bank. He headed Morgan Stanley’s Beijing operation for three years.
“From the beginning, the Cup is a kind of dream for him, he has a vision,” says Thierry Barot, the French director general of China Team, himself a veteran of the Cup and the semi-finalists Louis Vuitton Cup in 1987 in Perth (Australia).
“We soon had the support of the Chinese authorities,” comments Mr Barot. “Boating is rapidly developing in China, and in sport, after the Chinese won three medals in sailing at the Beijing Olympic games in 2008, Beijing regarded boating as a potential source of medals.”
“We started on a draft budget of 35 million, which may be reduced because the costs are lower in China,” says Barot, who brings his experience in multihull with a victory in The Race in 2000 the catamaran Club Med.
The China Team will attend the first stage of the America’s Cup World Series in August in Cascais (Portugal), said Mitch Booth, a specialist in Tornado Class.
Among the recruits are other Olympians, like American Charlie Ogletree, four-time Olympian, Olympic silver medalist, and winner of the Little America’s Cup (on 7m long catamarans).
“We will also recruit a group of 50 Chinese sailors, the best of which will go to San Francisco. The goal is to have seven Chinese sailors of the 11 men who sail on the AC72,” said the CEO. “All will be trained for careers in sailing and then find a job in this rapidly developing sector in China.”
The technical management was entrusted to the French naval architect Yann Dabadie and the boat will be built in Zhuhai.
The America’s Cup will take place on 22-meter catamarans (AC72) from September 7 to 22, 2013 in San Francisco.
And it is rumored that another Asian country, Singapore is preparing for a challenge.