"Equipe Team France", headed by Bertrand Pacé, first French potential America's Cup challenger
With a very tight schedule for the 34th America's Cup, potential challengers don't have the luxury of sitting around and time must be one the most precious resources. As a result, the first potential challenger from France was known yesterday, according to a report from Agence France Press (AFP). Not only that, it will be officially presented exactly one week from now, on September 30th, according to the report.
The project, provisionally named "Equipe Team France" is structured around figures like Bertrand Pacé, an America's Cup veteran and match racing champion, and has received support from the French Sailing Federation (FFV), according to Philippe Ligot, the project's general director.
The funding of the team, estimated at 50 million euros, is not yet assured, and the team has set a deadline by the end of February 2011 to secure it. "Some teams will have budgets of 200 million euros but we could make it with 50 million. We are optimistic", stated Ligot to AFP.
According to Ligot, they have been working on this project for 6 months and were hoping the multihull option would be selected for the new boat. He claimed that in France there is all the necessary human resources to design, build and sail such yachts. His aim is to "unite the energies, develop a spirit of "Team France", with one goal: to obtain a good result". Still, he doesn't exclude the possibility of "synergies" with "other French projects" on foils, wings, etc.
If funding is secured, the schedule will be as follows, according to Philippe Ligot: start of the design of the future AC72 in 2011, launch of the yacht in early 2012, participation in the six pre-regattas scheduled for that year and then construction of a second AC72 for a launch during the winter of 2012-13.
The day after BMW Oracle made the official presentation of the new boat in Valencia, Bertrand Pacé had stated that it was a "superb opportunity" for France since his country is "very advanced in the fields of aeronautics and multihulls".
According to the French match-racing specialist, "the French designers, engineers and sailors are at the origin of most of the innovations and developments in these areas. From the 60-foot trimaran circuit to the offshore record-breaking maxi catamarans, from the catamarans of The Race to the Hydroptère, the French are undoubtedly the best."
He went on saying that his wish was to "bring together the best design and sports teams possible. We want to unite the offshore racing French talents, as well as the match-racing and the Olympics sailors. Competence, skill and teamwork will be the criteria that will dictate our choices."