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10 May 2005, 04:48 pm
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America's Cup 2007
Langenargen, Germany

They won Olympic gold in Sydney with Jesper BANK (DEN) at the helm. Three years later, they joined him in the Swedish AC syndicate, Victory Challenge. Now once again, Henrik BLAKSKJÆR (DEN) and Thomas JACOBSEN (DEN) will team up with BANK for United Internet Team Germany, the first ever German America's Cup challenge.
Their plan is to improve on their fifth rank in Auckland, New Zealand two years ago. 'We're looking forward to the United Internet Team Germany and the new crew, ' said BLAKSKJÆR and JACOBSEN. 'And as we have a couple of open bills in the Cup, we're dying to challenge them all'.

At the premiere of the Swedish campaign in 2003, they had surprisingly reached a very respectable fifth place. According to BLAKSKJÆR: 'But we have made so many mistakes that we are now aware of and will take care not to repeat'.

For Victory Challenge, BLAKSKJÆR mostly did the pit, but he is also good in trimming the spinnaker and in serving as a tactician. For United Internet Team Germany, he will do different jobs on board - just like JACOBSEN - to pass on his experience. 'Efficiency and teamwork will be the keys to success', explains BLAKSKJÆR.

32-year-old JACOBSEN has studied sports sciences and is as good a bowman as a trimmer at the traveller, so his job options on board a cupper are manifold. JACOBSEN believes that solid preparation is, 'the best you can do to prevent poor performance'. With his Sydney 'gold boys', who helped him beat - of all adversaries - the most successful German sailor and current America's Cup defender with Alinghi, Jochen SCHÜMANN and crew in the Soling, BANK has now mounted the first two pillars of his on-board team. Two or three experienced international Cup sailors are to follow. They will be the core around which BANK plans to build a crew of both experienced hands and the best German sailing talents.

'I can a 100% rely on Henrik and Thomas. We're working blindly hand-in-hand,' said BANK of his first crew members, both of whom he had had at the back of his mind ever since signing his contract in January. They have achieved their greatest victories as successful trio. Apart from winning Olympic gold medal in 2000, they had already become match race world champions and fleet race European champions in the Soling in the same year and won the ISAF Match Racing World Championship in 1999. For United Internet Team Germany, the triumvirate of BANK, BLAKSKJÆR and JACOBSEN will make their debut as soon as tomorrow at the warm-up for the ISAF Grade 1 Match Race Germany in Langenargen on Lake Constance.

Also on board their Bavaria 35 Match will be 49er ace Michael HESTBEK (DEN), who BANK plans to integrate into his AC team, and Markus WIESER (GER), one of the best German match race sailors. They will meet with the world elite of various America's Cup syndicates and numbers one and two in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, Ed BAIRD (USA) and Peter GILMOUR (AUS).

'As newcomers to this series, we will fight and do our very best', said BANK. 'We'll be like the fox among the chicken - just like we will be later on our way to the America's Cup'.

Andreas Kling (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The successful trio on the way to Olympic gold:© Nick Wilson/Getty Images
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