Tim Jeffery speaks to Stephane Kandler about K Challenge's struggle towards the America's CUp
There is something Darwinian about the America's Cup. The weak fall by the wayside; the adaptable survive. And in surviving, there is the opportunity for ambition. This sums up the position of France's K-Challenge. The chattering classes of the America's Cup world expressed concerns about survivability of the weaker of the 11 challengers, the likes of K-Challenge, Sweden's Victory Challenge, China Team and Italy's +39. What would happen to these after the hard realities of winter? 2006 is the year when the money has to be there for a new boat and even small teams can't dodge the budget hike that a new boat demands. Well all four are still here though no one is pretending things have got easier. "I am sure K-Challenge will continue all the way through America's Cup 32," says Stephane Kandler unequivocally. "Our intention is to carry on an prove it is possible to enter the top four." K-Challenge's survival has required it to re-size. It will be a one boat team, not two, and will launch later because of it. But carry on it will is the message from the team. Certainly those who have followed the sailing business enterprises of Ortwin Kandler and Stephane can see that this father and son team see things through. Even when their radical wingmasted Juan-Kouymoudjian-designed IMS boat was declared illegal mid-way through the 2001 Admiral's Cup, they might have packed their bags and left Cowes but they still persevered by later modifying the boat. And they remained committed high level participants in grand prix sailing. "We still have the same motivation because we have proven it's possible to be competitive with a small team and a small budget," explains Stephane. "When we decide to do something we always complete it. People of have thought we were doing things that we impossible, like