K-Yachting announce challenge
At a ceremony in St Tropez, the K Challenge was blessed by its 'godmother', Florence Masnada, who smashed champagne over the campaign's two IC45 training boats: K Challenge ONE and K Challenge TWO. A triple medallist at the Olympic Games and Ski World Championships, Florence Masnada was chosen because it was felt she summed up many of the campaign's values - she works in extreme sports and women will play an important role in the K Challenge for the 32nd America's Cup.
Aside from K Yachting's Ortwin and Stephane Kandler, K Challenge's Team Manager is American yachtswoman Dawn Riley, who successfully defended the Cup in America3 and who will be bringing many of the core values to the team from her America True campaign from the last Cup.
madfor sailing asked Riley what she felt made this campaign different. "For me, learning to speak French! It is the first time a team have gone totally active before the end of the previous America's Cup. It's is a lot of the America True system translated into French - a co-ed team, with less experienced crew working with the more experienced crew".
Of the 41 crew members, currently eight are women and 16 not from France. K Challenge also wants to develop younger talent. Among the main players are match racing specialist Thierry Peponnet, plus 1991 Admiral's Cup winner Alain Fedensieu, 1998 ISAF World champion François Brenac and former Junior Match Racing World Champion Nicolas Charbonnier.
In their blurb K Challenge describe themselves as 'an open challenge. We wish to integrate the best skills from a worldwide talent pool. Women, and young sailors will be encouraged to be a part of the team. We think that wealth and creativity of the project depend on the diversity of the people and finally, the most important factor will be a sense of teamwork.'
With illbruck recently announcing their campaign for the Cup after this one, it is apparent that more and more syndicates - particularly new ones without the technical foundation of existing campaigns - are starting up their programs early.
Currently K Challenge are looking for sponsorship and want to raise at least 50% of the necessary 45-60 million Euro campaign budget by this time next year. "If you can take America True and get another few million, you will see a very very successful campaign on the water, instead of a plain successrful one," commented Riley.
Part of K Challenge's training will involve racing one of their IC45s in the One Ton Cup, to be held on 7-12 October in St Tropez, and which is organised by their parent company K Yachting. Aside from their America's Cup activities K-Yachting been involved with sailing in France and abroad for more than 13 years and currently have many sides to their business: charter, project management, racing and sport boat sales, electronic and marine equipment sales, international and national events management and sponsor consultation. Currently, the company employs 11 people between their head office in Toulouse and their sailing base in Toulon. They have a turnover of 1.6 million Euros.