Exclusive: America’s Cup World Series race coming to Fukuoka


Staff Writer

Japan will play host to an America’s Cup World Series race for the first time ever, The Japan Times has learned. The final race of the 2016 campaign will be held in Fukuoka in late November, a sailing source confirmed Friday.

The America’s Cup World Series, which began in 2011, is a slate of preliminary two-day events used as heats for the next America’s Cup set for Bermuda in June 2017. It was announced last year that Japan would be returning to the America’s Cup competition for the first time in 17 years.

The first race of the America’s Cup World Series this year was staged in Oman last month where SoftBank Team Japan finished fifth. New York (May), Chicago (June), Portsmouth, England (July), and Toulon, France (September), are also scheduled be the sites of races in 2016.

The other competitors in the America’s Cup World Series this year are from France, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Dean Barker, formerly of Team New Zealand, is the skipper of SoftBank Team Japan’s AC45F (13.4-meter) catamaran, which is sailing for the Kansai Yacht Club. The 42-year-old Barker is competing in the America’s Cup for the sixth time in his career.

Japan has previously participated in three America’s Cups (1992, 1995, 2000).

The America’s Cup was first awarded in 1851. The event in Bermuda will mark the 35th installment of the sailing classic.

Oracle, representing the Golden Gate Yacht Club, scored a dramatic victory over challenger Emirates Team New Zealand in the 2013 America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay. Oracle staged a phenomenal comeback, rallying from an 8-1 deficit to triumph with eight straight wins.