Welcome, Team Korea
Korea became the newest country to introduce itself to the America’s Cup when
the White Tiger Challenge from the Sail Korea Yacht Club in Gyeonggi Province,
about 45 km southwest of the capital city, Seoul, was announced last Wednesday,
Founder of Team Korea is Kim Dong Young, an accomplished sailor and the
organizer of one of the biggest prize money sailing events in the world, The
Korea Match Cup. Young founded the event in 2008 with a prize purse in excess of
US$300,000, making it the richest event on the tour.
The regatta was launched as part of a US$230 million initiative on behalf of
the South Korean government to expand and promote the leisure boating industry
in Korea, which included the construction of four large-scale marinas.
South Korea is recognized as an emerging market by some lists and marketing
opportunities would seem ripe. The country is home to some of the world’s
largest companies and industrial conglomerates such as Samsung Electronics, LG
and Hyundai Motor, all recognized by Fortune magazine as being among the top 80
companies in the world (based on total revenue), and its estimated GDP of US$1
billion ranks it among the top 15 in the world.
South Korea’s population of some 50 million gives it a huge fan base from
which to draw. Young hopes Team Korea and the White Tiger Challenge will boost
public interest in the sport of sailing and knowledge of the America’s Cup, and
hopes to attract new people to take up sailing as their support for the team
Young acknowledged his team’s lack of experience in Cup sailing, but he has
the quiet support of New Zealander Peter Lester, an America’s Cup veteran who
sailed aboard the giant monohull KZ-1 in the 1988 match against
Stars & Stripes.
But the move to catamarans for the 34th America’s Cup is seen by some as
leveling the playing field because the new class of yacht opens up new design
possibilities. And the physicality of the boats means a new style of crewwork,
one that also is open for development.
“Now it is Korea’s turn to enter this famous competition for the first time,
at the start of what will prove to be one of the biggest changes the Cup has
ever seen, with these new high speed, radical, wing-sailed catamarans, designed
to appeal beyond those already interested in sailing,” says Young. “This is a
unique opportunity for us to create excitement around the sport in Korea, and
introduce newcomers to the events through the awe-inspiring TV images we expect
“We see this America’s Cup campaign as a learning experience which we can
build on for the future, while improving through the regatta series this year,”
Young continues. “We have discussions ongoing presently which we hope will
provide the necessary resources, sponsorships and long-lasting commitments we
desire, and aim to make more announcements shortly in what is proving to be a
very exciting time in the ongoing evolution of the America’s Cup.’’
Read the article: Team
Korea enters 34th America’s Cup
Related stories at: Bangkok
News Asia, ESPN,
York Times, San
Francisco Chronicle, Sports
Photo: Kim Dong Young, founder of Team Korea
(Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images).
34th America’s Cup Entry List
Potentially 15 teams could partake in the 34th America’s Cup and Louis
Vuitton Cup, scheduled for July to September 2013 in San Francisco:
Team New Zealand
Latino (Italy, Challenger of Record)
Three challengers – Confirmed/Confidential
challengers – In vetting process
World-class, cost-effective technology package offered
In the past America’s Cup design programs have often been treated with the
secrecy of a country’s defense program. You might’ve been able to find a
designer willing to talk about the possibilities a class rule offers, but rarely
would they share specifics about their yacht.
Now, like Perestroika swept through Russia in the early 1990s, an era of
openness and cooperation is sweeping through the America’s Cup community.
The America’s Cup shared design program is being offered by America’s Cup
Regatta Management (ACRM) to entered teams to jump-start their design programs.
For US$1.8 million (€1.25 million) a team can purchase a full design – including
hulls, beams, wing and laminate schedule – from an array of leading designers,
engineers, researchers and companies.
“This solution is being offered to close the gap on the front-runners, and
provide all teams, large and small, the opportunity to be competitive within the
time remaining before racing starts in the new AC72 catamarans next year,” said
Iain Murray, regatta director, ACRM. “Technology is a critical piece of a
Cup-winning program and we want to ensure teams have access to the right people
and the latest tools to design a fast boat while still managing their
The ACRM AC 72 will be comprised of a platform designed by high-performance
multihull design leaders VPLP of France and a wing and sail package designed by
the North Technology Group (NTG), a global company headquartered in the USA.
VPLP, including co-founder Vincent Lauriot-Prevost, has been designing
winning multihulls since 1984. The company’s recent work includes USA
17, the ORACLE Racing trimaran that won the 33rd America’s Cup in February
2010, and Banque Populaire, the largest racing trimaran afloat at 130
Representing NTG is Michael Richelsen, recently of Alinghi and the author of
some of North Sails’ most significant computer programs.
The project will be coordinated for ACRM by Andy Claughton, now full time
again as the principal research engineer for the highly regarding Wolfson Unit
at the University of Southampton in the UK after a long association with
Emirates Team New Zealand. Michel Marie, yet another veteran of Cup teams, is
ACRM’s technical consultant for VPLP and NTG.
Read the article: America’s
Cup teams get jump start with shared design program (Apr.