Kingfisher, the open 60 is being chartered under the banner of 'Team888'

Kingfisher, the open 60 originally designed and built for Ellen MacArthur’s Vendée Globe 2000 Campaign, is being chartered under the banner of ‘Team888’by co-skippers Mark Denton and Jonny Malbon.

Denton and Malbon have worked together on many occasions and have joined forces to get ‘Team888’ off the ground. Ellen MacArthur commented: “Jonny has looked after Kingfisher for the last 18 months as Boat Captain and raced as part of her crew. He has a strong attachment to her and I know he will take care of her – it’s good to know she will be back out there. She is still very, very competitive and Jonny knows better than anyone how to optimise her performance.”

According to Malbon: “Team 888 is the result of many years waiting for the right time to take the stage ourselves – it will enable us to take on some top flight events, and draw on the skills and experience of those people Mark and I have met and worked with over the past few years. I am so excited about the formation of this development team, and cannot wait to get stuck into the season ahead.”

Team888’s season kicks off with the Daimler Chrysler North Atlantic Challenge in June, which finishes in Europe in time to take part in the Calais Round Britain and Ireland Race – a class race for the Open 60s. And finally, the Rolex Fastnet Race, which gives the team a chance to showcase the boats performance against the extensive fleet put together for this biannual classic.

Denton added: “We have had to take a big punt in order to secure the boat, but we will be on the start line in Newport. That said there’s still some financial mountains to climb for the team going forward, so we are hoping to attract some corporate partners who will realise for themselves the significant commercial benefits and branding opportunities available from sponsoring such a team. It’s a bit of a gamble for us without a doubt, but the opportunity just couldn’t be missed, and we believe we have put together a great package – experienced and dedicated sailors, three high profile events, and a legendary boat that needs no introduction.”