America’s Cup racing is coming to Asia for the first time in the 165-year history of the event.
The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is scheduled to bring exciting, fast, unpredictable America’s Cup racing to Fukuoka, the fifth largest city in Japan, from November 18-20, 2016.
“This is an incredible opportunity to showcase this compelling sport to new audiences, not only in Japan but across all of Asia,” said Russell Coutts, the CEO of the 35th America’s Cup.
“With the challenge from SoftBank Team Japan marking the return of Japan to the America’s Cup, enthusiasm is building for the sport in Asia. The new, foiling, flying AC45 catamarans produce exciting, exhilarating racing and show our sport at its best. This is what we are bringing to Fukuoka.”
SoftBank Team Japan is the fourth Japanese challenge for the America’s Cup, and the first since 1999.
Kazuhiko “Fuku” Sofuku was a bowman with that 1999 team and he has returned to the America’s Cup with SoftBank Team Japan as General Manager and sailing crew member for this new challenge. He says holding an event in Japan for the first time will build interest in the America’s Cup to new heights.
“I was greatly moved to hear that the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series will be held in Japan. As a Japanese sailor, it is extremely meaningful to be able to have the race in Japan. On behalf of SoftBank Team Japan, I know we’ll be putting all of our efforts into producing a great result,” said Fuku.
Soichiro Takashima, Fukuoka City Mayor, commented: “Fukuoka is aiming to be a leading city in Asia, so being able to host the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Japan for the first time is truly wonderful. I’m looking forward to an exciting race, full of high-speed action. All of us at Fukuoka City will work together to make the event a big success.”
Hirobumi Kawano, Japan Sailing Federation President, said: “The news that the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is coming to Fukuoka reinforces Japan as a great sporting venue, following the decision to hold the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. We’re very pleased that Japan will be hosting an America’s Cup event, and not just racing with the SoftBank Team Japan challenge. The Japanese Sailing Federation will work closely with the Fukuoka organizers to put on a great race.”
The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is a global circuit of events building towards the America’s Cup in Bermuda in 2017. The six America’s Cup teams are competing for points that count towards the next stage of racing, the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers.
In 2016, the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series includes stops in Muscat, Oman; New York and Chicago, USA; Portsmouth, UK; Toulon, France; and Fukuoka, Japan.