French Aleph team announces its challenge for the 34th America’s Cup

First came the announcement that a fourth Challenger had signed the appropriate paperwork to take part in the 34th America’s Cup, then came the confirmation.

Aleph, the challenge, headed by Bertrand Pacé and Alain Gautier, has been confirmed by the Golden Gate Yacht Club. Aleph is officially a challenger for the 34th America’s Cup, read the official statement. With the backing of the French Sailing Federation, the French challenger has taken on the official mantle of ‘French Team for the 34th America’s Cup’, and has been re-named ‘Aleph-Équipe De France’.

“It is very satisfying that this campaign which we support has been selected as an official challenger. It is an important step and we are delighted,” said Jean-Pierre Champion, President of the French Sailing Federation. “The entry also means that we can add the title of “Équipe de France”, as we had promised. Following the French Olympic Sailing Team and the French Match Racing Team, this is the 3rd French Team, and we wish them as much success as the other two French

Statements from Pace and Gautier read:

Bertrand Pacé : “Representing one’s country is a huge privilege, and one more reason to be at the top of our game and
not disappoint. In line with its strategy, Aleph – Equipe De France will continue to bring together French talent focusing on performance-oriented team players.”

Alain Gautier : “This is a moment of pride and emotion for every single member of the team. The team spirit prevalent In the French national teams of handball, athletics, swimming and more recently the superb French Olympic Sailing Team is a source of inspiration for Aleph – Equipe De France: success is built on the strength of a team, both in
individual and team sports”.

So who are the teams so far and which are the ones that have declared publicly? James Boyd helped us put together the list of current entries, maybes and wild guesses which will be continually updated as and when we hear more.


Already in:

BMW Oracle Racing – Defender
Mascalzone Latino Audi Team – Challenger of Record
Artemis – CEO Paul Cayard, helmsman Terry Hutchinson
Aleph Equipe De France – Bertrand Pacé and Alain Gautier
Anonymous entry – thought to be Team New Zealand

The maybe and wild guess list:

Synergy – Russian campaign backed by three Moscow-based businessmen, the most high profile being Russian diplomat Valentin Zavadnikov.

All4One – Stephane Kandler and Jochen Schuemann Franco-German team. The union of Kandler’s K-Challenge and Schuemann’s German campaign for the 33rd America’s Cup.

Korea – Korea Match Cup organiser Dong Young Kim was at the meeting and is said to have backing for a team. This seems to be a serious proposition.

Offshore Challenges – Charles Derbyshire was at the Dubai meeting

Argo Challenge – Lars Grael’s disabled team based in Italy

Herbert Dercksen – Dutch Tornado Olympic sailor, Extreme 40 co-creator and businessman

China Team – represented in Dubai by Thierry Barot (who skippered the China Team Extreme 40 earlier this year)

Canadian team – Royal Canadian Yacht Club, represented by Kevin Reed, a Toronto investment banker and RCYC member who is chair of Red Maple Racing, the bid’s name if and when it takes off.

Greek Challenge – competed in the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland in 2009.

Luna Rossa -Despite having no interest in a catamaran America’s Cup, Luna Rossa is believed to be entering the Extreme Sailing Series next year with a team led by Paul Campbell-James. What could this mean?

Baron Benjamin de Rothschild – behind the Gitana team and for more than a decade a top exponent of multihull racing in France.

Bruno and Loick Peyron – the French multihull kings. Loick has previously attempted to mount a French campaign with Bertrand Pace

Olivier de Kersauson – French round the world and offshore veteran was also at the meeting in Paris.

Australian campaign

Victory Challenge – Sam Murch was in Dubai, presumably representing Hugo Stenbeck

Talk of a second US defender with several names being bandied about, the strongest being former Alinghi helmsman Ed Baird and multihull skipper Cam Lewis, who raced on Dennis Conner’s America’s Cup catamaran in 1988.

End Dec 2010 – venues announced
Early Jan 2011 – racing format announced
Mid Jan 2011 – launch first AC45
Feb 2011 – Boat avail for testing by teams
April 2011 – Progress sea trials test race course, systems etc.
June 2011 – First AC World series regatta Europe

Beyond this there are few confirmed dates and no venues but, the AC34 Host and Venue Agreement that has been drawn up by San Francisco who are preparing their bid for the event throws some light on what the schedule could be.

Challenger selection series
Round Robin – 1-13 July-4 August 2013
Quarter finals – 8-11 August 2013
Semi finals – 16-19 August 2013
Finals – 23 August-1 September 2013

America’s Cup (best of nine)
Over 7-22 September 2013