America's Cup- Team Korea makes first splash in Cascais

AC World Series - Cascais 2011 - Team Korea launch and shakedown

Team Korea took to the water in Cascais, Portugal on Saturday morning for its first ever sail, marking another milestone for the first Korean America's Cup challenge.

The team are one of nine competing in the first round of the America's Cup World Series - a preliminary series of regattas staged as a prelude to the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco.

Team Korea is skippered by Chris Draper, a top British 49er sailor and double world champion in the Olympic High Performance doublehander.

'Today was really good, a bit puffy gusting 20 knots or so and there were a few holes around but mostly a really good first sail,' said Draper after returning to shore. 'The most nervous part for me was actually getting off the dock, but once we were out there it was all awesome. So we are very happy.'

Team Korea's AC45 was pushed out of its tent early Saturday morning near Cascais, revealing its spectacular and original livery, featuring a white tiger motif - the emblem of Team Korea - on both hulls.

With the help of America's Cup Regatta Management shore team, the platform was then launched and towed one mile down the Tago river to the temporary training base where the hull was put onshore again to receive its wing, a process closely followed by the other teams preparing their boats: Aleph, Team Energy and Venezia Challenge.

Team Korea was able to take to the water by mid-afternoon, becoming the first team to start training on site in an AC45 before the America's Cup World Series -Cascais.

Except for wing trimmer Troy Tindill, who has been part of the whole trial process of the AC45 for ACRM, the Team Korea crew were all rookies on the AC45, so as one would expect, they approached this initial testing session with caution in the gusty, puffy conditions. The team has more sessions scheduled in the coming days.

'Weather permitting, we will be out the next few days. I don’t know what point it's going to howl, so we want to get as much sailing in as possible before it does,' Draper confirmed 'Sunday looks alright, a bit breezy on some of the models but we definitely are still planning to go out… We need to get our hours up on the boat.'

According to photographer Gilles Martin-Raget, the Korean AC45 made for an impressive site on its maiden test sail.

'It was quite spectacular to watch this boat sail on one hull in front of colourful Lisbon City and its monument including the Belem Tower, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos or the 25 de Abril bridge which looks very similar to the Golden Gate in San Francisco.'

16/07/2011 - Cascais (POR) - 34th America's Cup - AC World Series - Cascais 2011 - Team Korea launch and shakedown