The 32nd America’s Cup is now a 12-team event. Prior to the 16:00 challenge deadline on Friday afternoon, two new challenging teams from countries that have never before participated in the America’s Cup presented their challenge dossiers to the defending yacht club, the Swiss Société Nautique de Genève (SNG).
Early on Friday afternoon, with all of its challenge formalities completed, the United Internet Team Germany, representing the Deutscher Challenger Yacht Club, was fully accepted as the tenth Challenger for the 32nd America’s Cup. The team, (formerly known as the ‘Fresh 17’ project) will be led on the water by Danish skipper Jesper Bank, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and previous America’s Cup skipper in 2002/2003 with Victory Challenge.
A challenge dossier from China Team arrived on Friday shortly before the deadline and must now be closely evaluated over the coming days by the Société Nautique de Genève, the Defending yacht club, before the team is fully accepted as a Challenger. Confirmation of the status of China Team as a challenger will be issued as soon as possible.
With the passing of the challenge deadline today, this edition of the America’s Cup stands as the most diverse in the 154-history of the event.
“With 11 challengers representing nine countries, this is not just one of the biggest, but it is by far the most diverse America’s Cup in history. We have three countries participating for the first time – South Africa, Germany and China, and five continents are represented, reinforcing the global appeal of the America’s Cup,” said an excited Michel Bonnefous, the CEO of the event organiser. “This is exactly what we wanted for the first America’s Cup in Europe. It is very gratifying to see the hard work that the teams and organisers have put in come to fruition.”
There were 13 challengers from six countries in Australia in 1987, the first time the event was held outside the United States and 11 challengers from seven countries in 1999 in Auckland. This 32nd America’s Cup will be among the largest in history. Between 1851 and 1967 each edition of the America’s Cup featured just two nations – one Defender and one Challenger. Since 1970 the number of challengers for each edition has steadily grown, further fuelled from 1983 by the structure of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
“On behalf of the SNG I am humbled by the scale and quality of the challenging group. Acting as Trustee and Defender of the America’s Cup is new to our club,” said Pierre-Yves Firmenich, President of Société Nautique de Genève. “We are of course now under no illusions about the size of the task that lies ahead and we are already willing our team, Alinghi, on towards a successful defence.”
All of the challengers, along with the Defender, Team Alinghi, will participate in 10 more Louis Vuitton Acts leading up to the main events in 2007. The Valencia Louis Vuitton Acts 4 & 5 will open the 2005 season with racing beginning on the 16th of June in the host city of the 32nd America’s Cup, Valencia.
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