Sixth Challenger announced

K-Challenge go official in Marseille

Friday September 3rd 2004, Author: Peter Rusch, Location: France
With a christening ceremony in its home country, the French K-Challenge has become the sixth Challenger for the 32nd America’s Cup. The team was officially accepted as a Challenger with a letter from Pierre Yves Firmenich, the Commodore of the Société Nautique de Genève, the Defender of the America’s Cup. This letter was delivered to Commodore Philippe Gontier, Président of the Cercle de la Voile de Paris, the challenging Yacht Club.

K-Challenge is an international, multi-cultural team, led by CEO Stephane Kandler, and America’s Cup winner (1992) Dawn Riley, the General Manager for the team.

“This is a major step for our campaign; we’re moving forward,” said Kandler said. “Of course this was one of our goals for this year, to acquire a boat, to set up our design team, and to sail in the Acts. I think it’s clear that the America’s Cup is growing in stature, and this is a great opportunity for our partners now and in the future. We have been working towards this day since 2002. We have a good team, good spirit, and we’re very excited to be racing next week.”

The skipper, Thierry Peponnet, is a two time Olympic medallist (Gold-1988 and Bronze-1984), who has competed in two previous America’s Cups in 1995 and 2000. The design team is led by Bernard Nivelt, Dimitri Nicolopoulos and Guillaume Verdier, who have a range of experience across previous America’s Cups, plus Open 60s and catamarans.

This challenge marks the 11th time since 1970 that France has been represented as a challenger in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the longest such streak in the Cup (only the United States, as a Defender as well as Challenger, can rival it).

“We are happy to welcome K-Challenge as a full Challenger for the 32nd America’s Cup,” said Michel Bonnefous, the CEO of AC Management. “This team has been working very hard to become a Challenger since before the end of the last America’s Cup in New Zealand. They have a strong plan, they have experienced people in place, and we wish them the best of luck.”

K-Challenge has recently acquired NZL-57 and NZL-60, from the winning Team New Zealand defence in 2000, and will use that boat as a training and testing platform until its new yacht is built.

As part of the announcement K-Challenge will sail in familiar waters in the Marseille Louis Vuitton Act, beginning on Sunday, ahead of Acts 2 and 3 in Valencia, the Host City of the 32nd America’s Cup, in October.

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