Japan to host first Asian leg of America’s Cup World Series
by Chris Jefferies
The organisers of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series have announced that they will be hosting a Japanese event later this year.
Fukuoka, the fifth largest city in Japan, will be the first Asian venue in the series and will play host to the sailing event from November 18-20.
Russell Coutts, CEO of the 35th America’s Cup, said: “This is an incredible opportunity to showcase this compelling sport to new audiences, not only in Japan but across all of 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.”
He added that the participation of SoftBank Team Japan played a huge part in deciding to take the World Series to Fukuoka.
The first Japanese team to enter the America’s Cup for 17 years, SoftBank Team Japan features general manager Kazuhiko “Fuku” Sofuku, a veteran of that 1999 team.
“I was greatly moved to hear that the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series will be held in Japan,” he added. “As a Japanese sailor, it is extremely meaningful to be able to have the race in Japan.”
Fuku and his team will be hoping to improve upon their fourth place overall finish at the most recent America’s Cup World Series event in New York.
The Japanese event ties in with Fukuoka’s wider ambitions to be a leading city in Asia and mayor Soichiro Takashima has said he is “looking forward to an exciting race”.
Other cities due to host the America’s Cup World Series in 2016 include Chicago (June 11-12), Portsmouth (July 23-24) and Toulon (September 10-11).