Kicking off with the Daimler Chrysler North Atlantic Challenge in June, which finishes in Europe in time to take part in the Calais Round Britain and Ireland Race - a class race for the Open 60's. And finally, the Rolex Fastnet Race, which gives the team a chance to showcase the boats performance against the extensive fleet put together for this biannual classic.
The name comes from the existing sail number of Kingfisher, 888, which is also a very lucky Chinese number!
Currently the campaign is self-funded. Co-skipper Mark Denton: "We have had to take a big punt in order to secure the boat, but we will be on the start line in Newport. That said there's still some financial mountains to climb for the team going forward, so we are hoping to attract some corporate partners who will realise for themselves the significant commercial benefits and branding opportunities available from sponsoring such a team. It's a bit of a gamble for us without a doubt, but the opportunity just couldn't be missed, and we believe we have put together a great package - experienced and dedicated sailors, three high profile events, and a legendary boat that needs no introduction."
Team 888 is the result of many years waiting for the right time to take the stage ourselves - it will enable us to take on some top flight events, and draw on the skills and experience of those people Mark and I have met and worked with over the past few years. I am so excited about the formation of this development team, and cannot wait to get stuck into the season ahead," commented co-skipper Jonny Malbon.
Ellen MacArthur also expressed her support for their campaign and said, "Jonny has looked after Kingfisher for the last 18 months as Boat Captain and raced as part of her crew. He has a strong attachment to her and I know he will take care of her - it's good to know she will be back out there. She is still very, very competitive and Jonny knows better than anyone how to optimise her performance."
The Daimler Chrysler North Atlantic Challenge is a trans-Atlantic race from Newport, Rhode Island, USA, to Cuxhaven, Germany. A race of some 3500 miles, taking the high latitude route, leaving the British Isles to starboard.
The Calais Round Britain and Ireland race is a non-stop drag race around the British Isles, run by Royale Productions, the team who organised last year's incredible Route du Rhum.
The Rolex Fastnet Race rounds up Team888s programme in August. The team plan to leave some berths open for contributing corporate partners to experience actually sailing the boat in this notorious action packed race.
Neither skippers are strangers to ocean racing or indeed Kingfisher. Mark Denton's last campaign was commanding 'BP Explorer' to third place in the BT Global Challenge 2000/1, and Jonny Malbon has been an integral part of the Ellen Macarthur success story since 2001, when he joined the Kingfisher team as Boat Captain. The rest of the team will be announced soon.