FOR the first time ever, there will be an America’s Cup race in Asia as the organisers have decided that 2016 should see the Japanese Softbank Team Japan take on the might of the other challengers in home waters at Jigyohama, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City from November 18 to 20.
Led by former winning America’s Cup skipper Dean Barker the crew includes well-known veteran Japanese sailor Kazuhiko Sofuku, whilst the SoftBank Team Japan is made up of a multi-national collaboration of sailors, boat builders, and support crew from the professional sailing industry.
SoftBank Team Japan, the first Japanese team to take part since 2000 will benefit from local support as it attempts to win the 35th America’s Cup sponsored by Luis Vuitton with the finals to be held in Bermuda in 2017.
The team will be competing in all Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series events in 2016 and 2017 and all the while, training at their team base located on the Great Sound in Bermuda. The Japanese team started slowly in the qualifying series of races but is steadily improving and this, the last race of 2016 should be very important to them, especially as the winning team in Japan will carry valuable points forward to Bermuda.
Kazuhiko “Fuku” Sofuku was present when the news of the Japanese round was announced and said “As a Japanese sailor, I am really thrilled that the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series will be held in Fukuoka. Together with Fukuoka City and SoftBank, our team has been working very hard to make it happen.
“For me this is a dream come true moment and I cannot be happier.
“With this joy, we will do our very best to show all of you a great race and a great result.” By bringing the race to Japan, the sponsors and the Japanese team hope that they will help to build a whole new following for this most famous of competitions.