Desafío-Iberdrola: staying sharp is priority

With Paul Cayard as skipper Spain’s 32nd America’s Cup Challenger Series Semi Finalists plan to use the 2008 Audi MedCup Circuit to keep crew race sharp

With the key objective of keeping their sailing team together, sharp and active 32nd America’s Cup Challenger Series Semi Finalists Desafío-Iberdrola will launch a TP52 programme this season with a new Rolf Vrolijk-designed boat which will make its racing debut in Alic ante in May.

Desafío- Iberdrola CEO Agustín Zulueta explains:
“We chose the TP52 Class and the Audi MedCup Circuit because it is the world’s best racing circuit. It allows us to keep the crew not only working as a team, but closely.”

The new boat is on schedule at the moment. Recently painted and on its keel, the boat is unlikely to race at any regattas prior to the Trofeo Alicante, the first leg of the 2008 Audi MedCup Circuit (12-17 May), other than launching and training in Valencia with some other chosen teams.

The boat will feature the latest generation three spreader Southern Spars rig which will complement a North Sails sail programme run by Sandro Benigni and Nihat Aydin, authors of ACC yacht ESP-96’s sail programme during the last America’s Cup.

The crew of Desafío-Iberdrola will be skippered by American Paul Cayard whose talent is proven. In particular Cayard’s varied experience at the MedCup over the first two seasons of the Circuit will be an important factor in getting the boat and crew up to speed quickly.

Laureano Wizner will deputise for Cayard for some of the 2008 Audi MedCup regattas. John Cutler will be tactician while Bruno Fidili joins the team as navigator. The rest of the crew will rotate depending on availability and how the programme dovetails with other sailing campaigns the team have planned for 2008.

Of his objectives and expectations for the Desafío-Iberdrola TP52 team Zulueta says:
“Our goals are not strictly about racing and circuit results. Firstly, we want to maintain ourselves in action and keep race sharp. We are also looking to offer our sponsors some presence and return as well as offering them some interesting hospitality activities. We would like to finish the season in the top 5. We hope to be in the that leading league. Let?s hope we will play a part in contributing to an exciting season.”