All change at China Team
China Team, the official Chinese challenger for the 34th America’s Cup, has created a new line-up of sailors for the next World Series in Plymouth, taking place over 10-18 September.
Thierry Barot, CEO of China Team, explained: “What we are aiming to do is to build a real sports team where each member plays a key part, and at the same time, has the flexibility to be capable to move around as we race in different waters and under different weather conditions; this will truly maximise the potential of each member and enable them to add the most value to the team. With this in mind, today we are announcing the new line-up for Plymouth."
Charlie Ogletree (right) is China Team’s Skipper. Ogletree has been with China Team since its start, in the role of tactician, and will now take on the role of Team Captain/Skipper. Ogletree is a legend in the world of multihull sailing, as an Olympic medalist (2004), World Champion, as well as numerous #1 rankings worldwide and in the US. He was runner-up Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in Olympic Racing (2005), and holds many other world titles as well.
Newly joining China Team is Austria's Andreas Hagara, who will take on the role of helmsman. Charlie and Andreas have a long history of working together and Hagara (brother of the double Olympic gold medallist, Roman) brings with him his extensive multihull proven skills, as a World Champion, European Champion and World Champion bronze medallist as recently as 2010.
Charlie and Andreas will be training in Plymouth as of 1 September with the rest of the sailing team, including a number of Chinese potentials who are under trial and training to become core members of China Team come 2013. They replace Mitch Booth who was skipper of the team in Cascais.
Thierry Barot reiterates the challenge that is set upon China Team to ensure that China Team achieves its goal to be a truly Chinese challenger by 2013, powered by mainly Chinese sailors: “Our challenge throughout the next 18 months will be to place well in the World Series but also train the Chinese sailors: unlike all our competitors, for China Team, our race practices are split in half to enable the training of the Chinese sailors at the same time, but we will have it no other way, and will continue with our ambition on this path. We will be fine-tuning this process in Plymouth and continue to improve on it at every opportunity. Our ambition is to build a Chinese team capable of winning the America’s Cup, and that is what we are doing”.
Meanwhile Derek Clark has joined China Team as Head Coach. Clark has unique skills in coaching as well as being part of the team. He has coached the Tornado team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, been part of five America’s Cup challenges since 1983 in different roles (crew member, tactician, engineering, coach) and has participated in a number of other Olympics in various roles, including design and project management.
Clark understands the dual challenge facing China Team: “We will need to define and start executing a very specialized training program that will address the 2 goals of China Team, continuing to raise the game for the international sailors while at the same time, working with the Chinese athletes to ensure that they become some of the best sailors in the world. This is a 2-tier process that will require tight planning and execution”.
China Team, unlike all the other challengers, needs to focus its training on both the core international sailing crew as well as training the Chinese sailors who will be part of the team in 2013 in San Francisco for the America’s Cup on the China Team China-built AC72. China Team has committed that most of the sailors on the AC72 will be Chinese. “And that is what we are going to train to achieve,” Clark concludes.