When the Defender of the America’s Cup, ORACLE Racing announced that the next edition of the trophy would be sailed in giant multihull catamarans, they created a new challenge for themselves. If the marketing line was to work, and there was a groundswell amongst professional sailors for this change, then well known multihull specialists would have to announce challenges early in the process.
It’s still early in the process. The venue was only announced on the 31st of December, but the team that may allow the America’s Cup Event Authority some respite from tough questions, has made it’s intentions known. Energy team backed by the Yacht Club de France has been launched this week, headed by multihull specialists Loïck and Bruno Peyron.
Energy Team was officially registered for the 34th America’s Cup on the 27th January 2011. The entry brings the number of challengers to six.
Richard Worth, Chairman, America’s Cup Event Authority, who should have relieved as well as pleased at the announcement has learnt his one-liner well saying:
“The 34th America’s Cup will feature the world’s best sailors on the fastest boats and with this in mind we are pleased to welcome the Yacht Club de France and its Energy Team, which features sailors who are well-known for their strength and experience in multihull sailing.”
With the backing of the Yacht Club de France, energy team is aiming to be one of the most competitive challengers. According to the launch statement, the team plans to compete in the next two editions of the event in order to win the America’s Cup for France. Bruno Peyron will be General Manager of the project while Loick will be the official Skipper and head up the design team.
Part of the French team’s strength will come from expertise in the country around the design and construction of large multihull boats. While Oracle have a certain head start, learning much from their campaign for the last edition of the America’s Cup, Energy Team have combined with Multiplast to build an AC72.
The Vannes (Brittany) based boatbuilder, which construced Orange I and II, Groupama 3 has an exclusive deal with Energy Team. The construction of the first AC72 catamaran will begin on 1st September with her launch planned for April 2012. Yann Penfornis, managing director of the yard, will be coordinating the AC 72 design and construction teams, under the supervision of Loïck Peyron.
When Oracle Racing decided to go to a catamaran format, Energy Team is the kind of potential challenger that they may have hoped for and wished against. With significant resources, this team could make the event a race.
While other challengers wait for a sail in the AC45 and enter into the Extreme Sailing Series to get some catamaran experience, Energy Team will have 17 boats including four Class A boats, four F18s, a D35, an X40, a G-Class (the former Orange II), twoAC45s and two AC72s… plus four “F25s”, which are a 1/3 scale model of the AC72s, which will be used for the America’s Cup.
The Energy Team base will be set up on the Atlantic coast of France. It will include three centres: one in Vannes, the Multiplast yard, which will be the construction and technological development base; one in Lorient, which will be dedicated to the AC72 and G-Class catamarans; and finally one in La Baule, which will both bethe main training centre for the squad and the operations centre for all the work with partners and the media.
Core Members of the Team
The core members of the Racing Team are already in place and bring together a wealth of experience in four major areas that are vital for performance. The core members so far appointed include the following:
- Loïck Peyron, Skipper of the AC45 and AC72: 6 times F60 world champion, 8 times F28 Trophy Champion winner,
- Bruno Peyron: 8 times world ocean records champion, skipper of the G Class, which will be the ambassador for Energy Team,
- Yann Guichard: helmsman with Loïck Peyron : Extreme 40 world number 2, Member of the French Olympic team,
- Thierry Fouchier: performance team, the only Frenchman to have won the America’s Cup with BMW Oracle Racing aboard which he was the wing sail trimmer.
- Jean-Christophe Mourniac: performance team, member of the French Olympic team, one of the world’s top 5 Tornado and F18 racers over the past ten years.
- Yves Loday: coach for young talent. Former member of the French Olympic team, he was Tornado gold medallist in Barcelona in 1992.
It’s not just the athletes that are bringing talents to the table. The commercial and executive team around the team, drawn from partnerships with the Yacht Club de France will give the team a level of investment that should see the sailors given the best platform, not just to compete, but win. Executive team members include Philippe Court, President and Gérard Petipas, Vice-President of the Yacht Club de France.
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