Thursday, March 27, 2008

K-Challenge, French Challenger for the 34th America's Cup

The America's Cup situation move on positively last week with the NY court decision, the project of a competition with challengers series in 2011 is more realistic than ever.

After a preparation period which began at the end of the last America's Cup in Valencia, K-Challenge never stopped working, and the team is now happy to reveal its program for the 34th America's Cup.

The essentials of K-Challenge 2

K-Challenge is back in the America's Cup quest and will carry again the colors of its yacht club, Le Cercle de la Voile de Paris, with a determined group built around a “core team” whose members want to work and to succeed together.

The team’s strategy will consist in building and capitalizing on the experience and the assets of K-Challenge 1 in the 32nd America's Cup, while relying on a new generation to benefit from its talent and its enthusiasm.

K-Challenge already has significant assets that make it an operational team: an operational base and boats ready to sail in Valencia, a structure, tools and tested methods, but the team also benefits from a selection of the best French and international specialists, thanks to an experience of more than 20 years in sailing at the highest level.

An Executive Committee, led by Stephan Kandler, defines the general strategy of the project and ensures the daily management of the team through 3 main departments (Sailing, Technical and Administrative). The Executive Committee manages this new generation team, which will get the chance to express itself through K-Challenge with its talent and its great motivation.

A board of trustees made of French top managers and experienced personalities, (Bertrand Meheut, Laurent Bourgnon are part of the ones who already joined this board), will also assist the Executive Committee in the key moments of the project and will help to promote this national challenge beyond sports and sailing.

Moreover, K-Challenge is officially supported by the French Sailing Federation.

Bertrand Meheut: “The accumulated experience of K-Challenge and the tenacity of Stephan Kandler are at the base of a credible and powerful French challenger ready to go for the next America's Cup. This ambitious and solid project represents a real chance of success for the French match-racing. And I am proud, on a personal basis, to give them all my support there.”

Sébastien Col (left) and Sébastien Josse. Paris, 27 March 2008. Photo copyright K-Challenge

The new generation: K-Challenge’s talents

K-Challenge is proud to count among its sailors some of the confirmed talents of the new generation such as Sebastien Col and Sebastien Josse.

Both lived various experiences with real responsibilities in ambitious projects, such as the America's Cup, the Vendée Globe or the Volvo Ocean Race.

These two key members of the future sailing team are already strongly engaged in their respective sailing preparation from 2008, which will enable them to get additional experience.

Sébastien Col will be involved in particular on the international match racing and the RC44 circuits, where he will regularly sail against some great names of the America's Cup like Russell Coutts or James Spithill.

Sebastien Josse, skipper of the BT IMOCA 60 (which will be christened on April 29) is engaged in the IMOCA 2008 - 2009 championship. His first priority will be to be fully dedicated to his sports program including the Vendée Globe, before increasing his involvement in the K-Challenge project in 2010.

This mix of a popular offshore sailor and an America’s Cup specialist will also make it possible to create a larger interest from the public.

Sébastien Col: “we are clearly in the continuity of the first K-Challenge project which was already based on an open minded concept. The new team will make it possible to gather people around sailors of the new generation, and who already have experience in various fields. This new project will pay a very particular attention to the balance of the group, and the complementarities between its members.”

A guaranteed budget to deliver performance!

The first steps of the K-Challenge program will be the detection of new members, research and validation of design processes and tools, the start of common team work, in particular for the Design Team, already at work, and which will be officially presented in April 2008.

The principal objective of K-Challenge is now to gather sponsors to guarantee the irrevocable participation of the team in the America's Cup in 2011, with a minimum budget of 20 million Euros.

A 4 years program is marketed by the team with a title sponsor accessible for 5 million Euros per year.

Stephan Kandler concludes: “K-Challenge 2 is the fruit of a reflection carried out since the end of the last America's Cup. Our concept is inspired by our first experience, but more especially by the model developed by Team New Zealand at the end of the Eighties. The ambition is to rely on a talented generation and a strong will to work together without fear of the competition. We know that the road is long until we reach the level of this model, but France has the potential, and the people of K-Challenge 2 have the capacity to do it. I particularly thank our first partner who was convinced so early by our values and our project.”

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