It's over for TP52 Platoon while Team Germany faces problems
According to the German sailing magazine Yacht, the German America's Cup team is sadly a fresh victim of the financial crisis as AUDI decided to stop its support of the "Platoon, powered by Team Germany" project. The owner of the only German team in the TP52 racing circuit, Harm Müller Spreer, is not willing to bear the burden of a 2009 campaign on his own and as a result the planned construction of a new TP52 yacht has stopped. The 2008-generation boat has already been sold to Bigamist, the Portuguese team.
Jochen Schuemann, skipper of the team, expressed his disappointment about AUDI's decision. The new contracts were about to be signed, all parties had good intentions, but as the financial crisis spread a big sponsorship deal was abandoned.
"We were just a small part," says Schuemann, but that didn't change the outcome. "We only had a one-year contract, which had to be renegotiated". The title sponsorship of the AUDI Medcup series remain intact as the contract runs for three years.
Platoon racing in the first event of the 2008 AUDI Medcup. Alicante, 14 May 2008. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing
That was the second serious blow for Schuemann within a short period. A week ago the planned participation in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland had to be abandoned, victim of cutbacks. The potential sponsors withdrew their commitment for an estimated budget of 400,000 euros.
The German America's Cup ambitions have also come to a screeching halt. Alinghi and the rest of challengers have so far held three meetings in Geneva, discussing the rules and regulations of the 33rd America's Cup. Schuemann was only present in the first one and didn't attend the other two.
The Platoon project had a good performance this year, finishing 5th in the AUDI Medcup circuit and 3rd in the TP52 World Championship in Puerto Calero. "We simply do not come to a common denominator while making an assessment of the situation," explained the German skipper on the discussions with the management of United Internet. "But I do not give up. We will continue to try everything in order to have a good German team at the start of the next cup", concluded Schuemann. United Internet will only start considering discussions for a German AC team when certainty exists.