As the International America's Cup regatta starts on Monday there is no doubt what will catch several curious eyes: Örn, the Swedish Victory Challenge syndicate's newly built boat.
It is the first time that a boat built for the next America's Cup, which starts with Louis Vuitton Cup on October 1st, will participate in a competition.
"We wish to compare, to collect experiences and see where we are standing and which weaknesses we have" says the project manager Mats Johansson, who himself will be tactician during the regatta. "Besides, Örn is for us a prototype for the next boat, which we will start building later on during this quarter of a year."
Helmsman will be the Dane Jesper Bank, twice gold medallist in the Olympic Games with Soling, latest in Sydney 2000. Soling is sailed both with fleet racing and match racing.
Team New Zealand will once again use the winner boat NZL 60 at the regatta. Dean Barker, the team's new star skipper, steers the boat at the regatta, just as he did at the training against Jesper Bank and Örn latest.
This is a definitive change from the traditions of America's Cup. The challengers normally wish to be as far away from the Defender of the world's oldest sailing trophy, this time Team New Zealand, that won the America's Cup both in 1995 and in 2000. Normally all the challengers wish to conceal their design secrets from the Defender - everything is supposed to be kept secret until the America's Cup-final, as the winning challenger of Louis Vuitton Cup meets the latest America's Cup-winner. That is why several of the challengers have turned down the invitation to participate in the international regatta that Team New Zealand has invited them to, but not Victory Challenge, the American OneWorld and the British GBR Challenge.
GBR Challenge has announced that they will use the previous JPN 52, which with great success was sailed by the Japanese Nippon-syndicate in the three round robin-races at the latest Louis Vuitton Cup. OneWorld has not announced which one of their two training boats they will use - USA 51 (formerly America True) or USA 55 (formerly Stars & Stripes).