The America’s Cup World Series will undertake its third edition in San Diego, California from 12-20 November. It has now been announced that Pierre Pennec, Christophe Espagnon, and Thierry Fouchier of Edmond de Rothschild Group will be sailing aboard the AC45 Aleph – Equipe de France for the event.
It’s a fantastic opportunity for these three sailors, who will have the chance to hone their preparation prior to the grand finale of the Extreme Sailing Series, which will be contested in Singapore at the start of December.
Thanks to its performance on the Extreme Sailing Series circuit, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group has shown over many months now that it has the talent and the skills to vie with today’s greatest multihull sailors. For this reason Aleph - Équipe de France, which has been competing in the preparation races for the 34th America’s Cup, was keen to team up with Pierre Pennec and his men.
Originally, the proposition from those managing Aleph - Équipe de France extended to all four members of the crew. However, ultimately just three of them were able to accept the offer. Indeed, bowman Hervé Cunningham had to decline due to a lack of availability in his racing schedule.
Meantime, the remainder of the crew, are very clear about the challenge that awaits them and will arrive in San Diego with a great deal of humility. They are well aware that they have a particularly difficult task ahead of them, given how much of an edge those teams already present in the AC World Series have. Today, those same teams are able to helm their fixed wing multihulls to perfection and they boast all the subtleties synonymous with Match Racing.
Cyril Dardashti, the General Manager of Gitana Team, was delighted with this announcement, which perfectly ties in with the objectives of his sports team:
'We have the conviction of a strong team on the Extreme 40 Edmond de Rothschild Group. The results achieved by Pierre Pennec and his men in the Extreme Sailing Series have already more than backed up our selection process. However, the fact that these same sailors have been called up by Aleph - Équipe de France further supports our decision. Indeed, the team managed by Philippe Ligot and competitively guided by Bertrand Pacé were keen to count our crew among their ranks for the next stage of the AC World Series.
With this request slotting nicely into the Extreme 40 calendar, and initially aimed at the whole crew, the Gitana Team were anxious to give them a positive response. It’s a very good opportunity for Pierre, Christophe and Thierry. It will enable them to discover a craft, whose fixed wing has great appeal. Above all though, this multihull competition enjoys a format which is relatively similar to the Extreme Sailing Series so it will be an excellent way for them to stay on the pace and gain even more experience for Singapore, where the much coveted 2011 title will be decided.
In reality, between the Almeria and Singapore Grands Prix there would be over six weeks without sailing were they not to take part in the AC World Series in San Diego. Finally, it’s important to specify that this announcement marks a purely competitive and non-financial exchange between the Gitana Team and Aleph – Équipe de France.'
Philippe Ligot, General Manager of Aleph – Équipe de France: 'As regards the composition of its team, Bertrand Pacé was keen to flesh out the crew we’ve been training up for the first two editions of the America’s Cup World Series by inviting Pierre Pennec, Thierry Fouchier and Christophe Espagnon to join us for the event in San Diego, which will take place from 12 to 20 November 2011.
Thanks to an amicable agreement with Baron Benjamin de Rothschild and Gitana Team, based on a pragmatic exchange targeting performance, this initiative ties in with our strategy to construct the best possible team with which to represent France in the America’s Cup.
Pierre, Thierry and Christophe are both talented and experienced, they’re making Gitana Team stand out on the Extreme 40 circuit and we are convinced that they’ll help to strengthen our crew. We’re lying in sixth position in the overall standing of the ACWS, which is a good result given the competitive context and the very high level in the America’s Cup. However, we’re hoping that Aleph – Équipe de France will further improve its standing with this latest input of talent, as well as better preparing our project which is seeking a major partner with whom we can continue with this prestigious competition.'
America's Cup World Series website