Valencia, 15th February 2007
Today Agustin Zulueta, Technical-Sports Manager of Desafio Español 2007, presented Paul Cayard to the media. Paul Cayard, one of the world’s most accomplished sailors, is supervising the preparation and fine tuning of the new boat ESP-97 in the weeks leading up to the Louis Vuitton Cup that begins in April.
During today’s press conference Zulueta said that he contacted Cayard as soon as he finished the Volvo Ocean Race. “We got in touch with Cayard on the suggestion of our President, Ignacio Sanchez Gallant. He said to go for the best and Cayard is one of the people with the best experience in the America’s Cup.”
When asked about his first impressions since joining the Spanish Challenge on Monday as Technical-Sport Advisor Cayard replied that the Spanish team is very professional. Cayard added, “The team has done a good job preparing over the last two years and is competitive.”
Cayard also said that the purchase of the three boats and equipment from One World Challenge was a really good move, as it gave the team a head start.
Having participated in five editions of the America’s Cup over the last 25 years, Cayard brings a wealth of experience to Desafio Español 2007. He is looking forward to contributing his expertise to the team in his role as Technical-Sports Advisor.
Regarding the team’s performance to date Cayard stated, “I did not see the team race in the recent Acts. However, I know the designers John Reichel and Jim Pugh and it appears that the shore team is doing a good job. I think the team has a strong chance to reach the semi-finals.”
“Everyone in the America’s Cup wants to win and this time around there are several teams – all of which are more or less strong. There are the big teams like BMW Oracle, Alinghi, Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand. However, Victory Challenge, Desafio Español 2007 and Areva all have excellent potential. The possibility exists that any one of these teams could surprise us all and beat out the others.”
As for the differences in the competition since the last time he participated in the Cup, Cayard thinks that the level of every team has risen and that the same can be said for the improvements in the racing, sponsorship and bases. With regards to the boats, Cayard commented that they are longer, narrower and more responsive. He added, “It’s amazing to see how the boats go upwind. They are different from the boats I am used to, particularly the Volvo Open 70.”