9/04/2015, Tokyo (JPN), Softbank Team Japan launches its Challenge, Kansai Yacht Club signs with Japan AC team leader, Kazuhiko Sofuku Left Mr.Kou Watanabe/KYC Commodore, right Kazuhiko Sofuku/team leader. Photo - Yoichi Yabe / SoftBank Team Japan, courtesy of americascup.com

Left: Mr. Kou Watanabe/Kansai Yacht Club Commodore – Right: Kazuhiko Sofuku/SoftBank Team Japan team leader. Photo – Yoichi Yabe/SoftBank Team Japan, courtesy of americascup.com

SoftBank and the Kansai Yacht Club have agreed to enter into the 35th America’s Cup challenge.

The 35th America’s Cup has already fired up news feeds around the globe. Australia, the original Challenger of Record, withdrew from the 2017 America’s Cup in 2014. New AC class boat design and decreased size incited controversy. The Italians, second Challenger of Record, are out. The Kiwis are iffy due to funding issues after the venue for the Qualifiers was pulled from Auckland and moved to Bermuda where the 2017 America’s Cup will take place. Emirates Team New Zealand is still pursuing an appeal. And this is the first time in the regatta’s history that a defender (Oracle TEAM USA) selected a venue outside their country for the competition.

But now there is exciting news for the 35th America’s Cup. Japan has confirmed its entry of SoftBank Team Japan in the 2015 World Series races and the 2017 America’s Cup. This is the first time Japan has competed in the America’s Cup since 2000. Japan’s participation will ignite a renewed interest in the AC throughout Asian communities and enhance the competition for all the teams and spectators. Japan’s entry is confirmed. But, the rumor that former ETNZ helmsman Dean Barker will take the helm for SoftBank Team Japan, remains unconfirmed. Read more

The Teams:

Challengers: Artemis Racing- Sweden, Ben Ainslie Racing- Britain, Emirates Team New Zealand,  SoftBank Team Japan, Team France

Defender: Oracle Team USA