Team Japan hoping for magic November
The month of November promises to be an extremely exciting one for SoftBank Team Japan.
The Japanese challenger are expected to take delivery of the racing yacht they hope to win the 35th America's Cup in the Great Sound in June as well as host this year's sixth and final Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series event at their home port in Fukuoka.
Dean Barker, the Team Japan skipper and chief executive officer, can hardly wait to get his hands on the team's 50-foot foiling AC class catamaran.
“It will be awesome to finally have the boat we'll be racing in the America's Cup next year in Bermuda,” said Barker, a former America's Cup winner.
“It will be exciting to have it in the shed and start installing our modifications to it.”
The world series in Fukuoka will be historical as it will be the first to be held in Asia.
“For us it would be great to have a great result in Fukuoka and we'll work hard to make that happen,” Barker said. “When we turn up for the racing we'll be ready to perform.”
Morale in the Team Japan camp is at a high after securing a third successive podium at last weekend's World Series Toulon.
The team went from last to second on the final day of racing with victory in the sixth and final race in the light conditions in the Mediterranean Sea.
“I think one of the signs of a strong team is the ability to bounce back after a tough day,” Barker said. “It's something I've always worked on with other teams and it really comes down to the character of the people on the boat and the team in general.”
Representing the Kansai Yacht Club and funded by Japanese billionaire and SoftBank chief executive officer Masoyashi Son, Team Japan were the last team to issue a challenge for the 35th America's Cup.
• Tim Patton and crew of Thrash placed seventh in the Corinthian Division and 45th in an overall fleet of 58-boats at last week's Etchells World Championship in Cowes, Isle of Wight.
Patton competed with crew Tom Herbert-Evans, the America's Cup's community sailing manager, and Richard Percy, the brother of Artemis Racing tactician and sailing team manager Iain Percy.
Jesse Kirkland, the Bermudian Olympic sailor, also competed at the event as a tactician aboard Scott Kaufman's American Jane II, which placed 21st after being forced to retire from the final race.
John Bertrand, who led Australia to a famous victory over Dennis Conner's Liberty at the 25th America's Cup to end 132-years of American dominance in the regatta, won this year's championship.
Grant Simmer, the Oracle Team USA general manager, also competed, placing 14th on British entry K2, helmed by skipper Andy Beadsworth.