Britain's Chris Draper is revealed as Team Korea's skipper and helmsman
Team Korea, known locally as the White Tiger Challenge, celebrated its entry to the 34th America’s Cup with a press briefing at the spectacular Seoul Marina on the Han River in Seoul.
This was the first time that the Americas Cup trophy (the oldest trophy in international sports at 160 years old) had ever touched down on Korean soil, and it was similarly the first time that the magnificent Louis Vuitton Cup (first contested in 1983) had been to the country.
The CEO of Team Korea, Kim Dong-Young said, ‘’I am very proud to have helped create a new chapter for the sport and in the history of the America’s Cup by being involved with the first ever Korean Challenge. It has been a dream of more than 10 years for me, ever since I first saw the old America’s Cup yachts racing in New Zealand’. He continued, ‘’It is simply amazing for us to have the America’s Cup and the Louis Vuitton Cup together here in Seoul, with so many distinguished guests on a day that the whole of Korea is proud of – we have truly joined the America’s Cup family now”.
Team Korea finally revealed their skipper and helmsman, a young man who has been one of the dominant forces in the light and fast 49’er dinghies over the past decade, Britain’s Chris Draper. He said, ‘‘I consider it an extremely proud honour to have been chosen by Team Korea as their skipper, and I would like to thank Mr Kim and his team for the trust they have put in me. I am looking forward to the first regatta in Portugal next month, and an intense period of training ahead of that with our new crew. We have selected experts I have been sailing with for many years, and will be formally announcing them all next week. It’s a team that I believe will be able to quickly get our ‘White Tiger’ flying around the course at top speed. We are entering an exciting phase now and expectations are high, with a new format, new race courses and new technology tracking every move, but we are certain that Team Korea can quickly be up to speed with the best”.
Having focused mainly on the fast and light 49er ‘skiff’ dinghy in his career, the 33-year-old is a two time world champion in the class, multiple vice-world champion, two time European champion, and an Olympic bronze medallist. He’s sailed many different types of yachts and races in between his Olympic campaigns including time with Britain’s America’s Cup team, and in 2008 switched to the Extreme Sailing Series where he initially finished fourth, then in 2009 was crowned World Champion with the Oman Sail Team.
In acknowledging a forward thinking appointment, Mr Kim said, ‘’We know some may be surprised at our decision, but he’s young, keen, hungry and can sail fast. We wanted someone who could sail the angles in small high-speed dinghies around the course, but who also has experience of catamarans, as much of the racing in the ACWS relies on fleet racing, and here, high speed control is vital to success”.