Gazprom Team Russia heading for AC35?

Newly appointed Extreme 40 skipper Paul Campbell-James shares the latest
While the 35th America’s Cup remains on stand-by until the new Protocol is published (possibly in March) specifying in particular the type of boat (foiling AC60-65ish cat), venue (San Fran probably) and date (2017), a new challenger to emerge from the woodwork could be Gazprom Team Russia. This is certainly the hope of Britain's Paul Campbell-James, who just before Christmas was recruited as skipper of the Russian Extreme Sailing Series campaign that was announced today. As of a year ago, Gazprom was the 21st largest company in the world with a turnover of US$ 164 billion. The Russian gas giant has numerous sports sponsorship properties, including the UEFA Champions League and owns or has interests in football clubs ranging from its own Zenit St Petersburg to Red Star Belgrade to Chelsea. Curiously it also has an increasing portfolio within sailing from the Rolex Fastnet Race winning Esimit Europe 2 maxi, to a pair of RC44s - Bronenosec Sailing Team carries Gazprom branding and there is also Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge, to backing last year’s Swan Europeans and Dragon Worlds and Gold Cup. Perhaps most impressive is the Swan 60 class which they more or less own, with five Gazprom Swan 60s competing in the Baltic (and further afield, in the UK and Med) in the annual Nord Stream Race, which follows the route of the company’s Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic, from Finland to northern Germany. Much of the GazProm sailing sponsorship is directed through the St Petersburg Yacht Club, with its Commodore Vladimir Liubomirov helming the Bronenosec Swan 60 and RC44. Liubomirov has been quoted as saying that his next goal is to field a challenge for the 35th America’s Cup and, with the next Extreme Sailing Series campaign, he would seem to be taking a first step. More