Sixth Challenger announced
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.