The Orient Express Racing Team has announced an experienced race crew as the team prepares for its debut competitive outing with their new AC40 at the first Preliminary Regatta on the road to the 37th America’s Cup in 2024.
Skipper Quentin Delapierre will helm alongside co-pilot Kevin Peponnet with race trimmers Matthieu Vandamme and Jason Saunders entrusted with keeping the high-tech foiling monohull at full pace out on the race course.
“We are super excited to be heading into our first official America’s Cup competition,” said Quentin Delapierre. “It has been a steep learning curve for us these past few weeks, but we’re feeling more and more comfortable on our new AC40 every day and are looking forward to getting out on the water alongside the other teams and doing some racing.“
The event in the cultural centre of Vilanova i la Geltrú, some 45kms west of Barcelona, will see all six of the teams competing in the America’s Cup come together for the first time away from training and practice venues.
At the Preliminary Regatta — from 14 to 17 September — a series of fleet races starting on Friday will determine the top two teams to go forward for one-to-one match races to determine the winner.
The Orient Express Racing Team will be looking to build on some promising moments during recent practice racing aboard their newly arrived AC40.
CEO Stephan Kandler said: “The team has made tremendous progress after only a few weeks with the AC40. Though we have few illusions about the long road ahead to reach our full competitive potential, the team is ready to race and looking forward to the competition.”
It is a philosophy fully endorsed by team coach Thierry Douillard: “In large part thanks to our talented shore team and the excellent simulator they have had valuable time on, Quentin, Kevin, Matthieu and Jason have been able to make a fairly seamless transition to the AC40 out on the water. That said, they are working full-on and out to gain more experience in racing conditions. We all have a lot to learn, but morale is high and we are set to go.”
The Preliminary Regatta in Vilanova i la Geltrú will be followed by a second event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from 29 November to 2 December, with a final pre-regatta in Barcelona next August which will see the teams racing their new AC75s for the first time.
To follow all the action, watch LIVE on the America’s Cup YouTube channel.