America’s Cup Update. Aleph-Equipe De France Confirmed as Challenger.

Aleph Team France - America's Cup Challenger

Aleph Team France will challenge for the 34th America’s Cup

Lazy communications and journalism all round last week as the Aleph Yacht Club signed up as a challenger for the next edition of the America’s Cup. The ‘cut and paste’ school of blogging couldn’t really decide Aleph was challenger number 4 or 5 which is partly because of secrecy around one of the entries and a casual approach to the word challenger, which in the case of the America’s Cup has specific meaning.

As we understand it, there are now 5 teams in total for the next edition. The Defender – BMW ORACLE, the Challenger of Record – Mascalzone Latino and 3 other challengers; Artemis, a secret entry and now Aleph. So 4 challengers.

America’s Cup Race Management were ‘pleased’ with the announcement.

Aleph-Equipe De France has the the backing of the French Sailing Federation and is a member of the World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA), but doesn’t have any club history, with the new Aleph Yacht club meeting only the most basic conditions for a competitor under the Deed of Gift.

Jean-Pierre Champion, President of the French Sailing Federation:

‘It is very satisfying that this campaign which we support has been selected as an official challenger. It is an important step and we are delighted. The entry also means that we can add the title of ‘Équipe de France’, as we had promised. Following the French Olympic Sailing Team and the French Match Racing Team, this is the third French Team, and we wish them as much success as the other two French teams!’

Bertrand Pacé:

Representing one’s country is a huge privilege, and one more reason to be at the top of our game and not disappoint. In line with its strategy, Aleph – Equipe De France will continue to bring together French talent focussing on performance-oriented team players.

Alain Gautier:

‘This is a moment of pride and emotion for every single member of the team. The team spirit prevalent in the French national teams of handball, athletics, swimming and more recently the superb French Olympic Sailing Team is a source of inspiration for Aleph – Equipe De France : success is built on the strength of a team, both in individual and team sports.

The team have signed up to the new vision of enormous media value being generated by the America’s Cup, but they haven’t got the sponsorship deals done just yet. The team is hard at work to secure all financial partnerships before March 2011 and they hope that new format laid out by the organisation will deliver unprecedented media coverage for any Aleph – Equipe De France’s sponsors.

Aleph – Équipe De France does have the advantage of being a nationally based campaign, unlike the mercenary ‘rock-star’ ensembles of BMW ORACLE and Artemis. As such it is hoped that the challenge will embraced by the French public.

With just a few months to go until the deadline for entries, the Golden Gate Yacht Club and BMW ORACLE is doing everything it can to get teams signed up to their new vision. As pointed out by Valencia Sailing, the Americans spent a lot of time and a lot of money in the courts of New York to throw out Alinghi’s Challenger of Record based on it’s status as a yacht club under the Deed of Gift.

Now it has accepted an entry from a yacht club that was formed only a month ago with the intent of challenging for the America’s Cup. Aleph Yacht Club has made sure that they “have had” an annual regatta, but it’s the kind of cynicism that makes selling the new deal America’s Cup as anything different more challenging.

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