Sir Keith Mills launches British bid for 2009 and 2011 AC

Further to our previous story , Sir Keith Mills, the British businessman who ran London’s victorious bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has today announced the creation of a new British America’s Cup sailing team, ‘with the ultimate aim of bringing oldest trophy in the world home’ for the first time in the event’s 152-year history.

Named ORIGIN, Sir Keith’s team will participate in ‘at least’ two America’s Cup campaigns, the 33rd and 34th editions, likely to take place in 2009 and 2011 respectively. The team’s crew, boat designers and management teams will be recruited over the next six months, and will be officially announced following the completion of the current 32nd America’s Cup event in Valencia this July. This is to ensure that the new team is ‘ready to start as soon as the current competition ends’, and can optimise their chances in the next edition of the Cup, said Sir Keith.

America’s Cup campaigns are far from cheap, and the British project will have a yearly budget of 30 million Euros for the duration of the two campaigns, wholly underwritten by Sir Keith. Despite Britain’s last Challengers, Peter Harrison’s GBR CHALLENGE, being unable to compete in the 2007 America’s Cup due to difficulties in securing sponsorship, Mills is hopeful that his project will succeed where the last failed. He ‘expects that around 50% of the total cost of the campaign’ will eventually be funded by commercial sponsors, and stated that he had already been approached by several interested parties.

Rod Carr, CEO of the RYA, was also present at the press conference. He confirmed that he has been speaking to Sir Keith about the project for over six months, and is in strong support of the announcement, saying that it came at a very good time; as ‘British sailing has never been so successful’.

Picture: Sir Keith Mills with British Minister for Sport, Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP