Tag Archives: SoftBank Team Japan


by americascup.com


Delivery of AC45s testing boat to mark next www of development program

SoftBank Team Japan will take delivery of their first AC45S in December and according to sailing team manager and tactician Chris Draper, the sailors can’t wait to put the turbocharged race yacht through it’s paces.

Draper and his crew will take delivery of the first AC45S test boat that ORACLE TEAM USA built and had been using as a training platform this summer.

“Being able to sail our own AC45S test boat really marks a significant step up in our development,” Draper said. “As a sailing team, up until now, we’ve been restricted to racing at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series events.

“Our plan is to take delivery of the new boat early in December. We’ll get it ready, make some adjustments, get our full sailing crew relocated here to Bermuda after the holiday break and start sailing in January.”

Draper says having access to the first development boat produced by ORACLE TEAM USA will make the team competitive despite its late start as a new team.

“Getting a jump start on our development is fundamental to being competitive on the water in 2017,” Draper said. “It’s a very similar model to what we did with Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand last time.”

As helmsman of the Italian Luna Rossa team in the last America’s Cup, Draper raced a boat built to a Kiwi design. The close training relationship between the teams then led to a strong bond between Draper and SoftBank Team Japan CEO and skipper Dean Barker that remains to this day.

“I learned a lot about Chris through working with him during the last America’s Cup so it was natural to reach out to him when we started building SoftBank Team Japan,” Barker explained.

“Looking forward, both of us know how important getting this AC45S boat is to our team. It really makes the challenge possible. By early January, our Bermuda base will be operational and we will be out training with our sailing team on the Great Sound.”

Barker and Draper, along with General Manager Kazuhiko Sofuku, are currently in Japan overseeing crew tryouts with the aim of recruiting two Japanese crew members.


SoftBank Team Japan announces challenge for the 2017 America’s Cup

By Johno Fullerton

Kansai Yacht Club Commodore Ko Watanabe and SoftBank Team Japan General Manager Kazuhiko Sofuku "Fuku", sign the challenge papers.  Photo: SoftBank Team Japan / Yoichi Yabe

Kansai Yacht Club Commodore Ko Watanabe and SoftBank Team Japan General Manager Kazuhiko Sofuku “Fuku”, sign the challenge papers.
Photo: SoftBank Team Japan / Yoichi Yabe

SoftBank Corp and the Kansai Yacht Club announced they have come to an agreement to challenge for the 2017 America’s Cup. As SoftBank Team Japan, the team will compete in the 2015 America’s Cup World Series events, and challenge for the 2017 America’s Cup in Bermuda.

The campaign was confirmed today by Kazuhiko Sofuku, “Fuku”, a veteran of four previous America’s Cup campaigns who has been appointed as the team’s general manager.

“To lead a Japanese challenge for the America’s Cup is a dream come true,” said Fuku, who last raced with a Japanese team for the Cup 15 years ago as bowman for Nippon Challenge during the 1999/2000 Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series.

“This is a great opportunity for Japan and for Japanese sailors to get back into the America’s Cup game,” Fuku explained. “We are planning to build up our team using America’s Cup World Series events to recruit and train Japanese sailors for our crew.”

SoftBank Group representative Masayoshi Son said, “I am thrilled to announce that we will be supporting Team Japan at the America’s Cup.” He added, “Taking on this major challenge at the pinnacle of yacht races matches with the SoftBank Group’s aim to be the global No.1. We look forward to cheering on Team Japan along with all of their supporters.”

SoftBank Team Japan is challenging under the banner of the Kansai Yacht Club, among the most distinguished clubs in the country.

“It is an honour for the Kansai Yacht Club to try for the America’s Cup for the first time,” said Commodore Ko Watanabe. “This is a great challenge to take on, not just for our club, but for the entire country. With support from across the entire nation, I am sure we will represent Japan with pride.”

A base level of technical assistance from Oracle Team USA will be provided to SoftBank Team Japan as it prepares for the 2015 America’s Cup World Series events.

“SoftBank Team Japan is a very positive addition to the America’s Cup,” said Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller. “The Japanese challenge will increase interest in the America’s Cup across Asia which is good news for all of our teams and partners.”