Note: With the second AC World Series San Francisco fast approaching (Oct. 2-7), we’ll be previewing the teams that’ll be competing in the lead-up to racing.
Team Korea’s White Tiger Challenge is one of four challengers entered in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series. The team heads into the second AC World Series San Francisco holding third place in the 2012-13 AC World Series standings.
Team Korea is led by young skipper Peter Burling of New Zealand, at 21 the youngest skipper in the fleet. Burling comes to Team Korea after winning a silver medal in the 49er Class at the London Olympic Regatta, highlighted by a second place in the medal race finale.
Burling, however, is hardly green behind the ears. He began sailing at age 8, was a double world champion by the age of 16, and competed in his first Olympic Regatta at the age of 17 in the 470 Class. Now he heads into the heated competition of the America’s Cup as a silver medalist.
“All the yachting I do, I’m always the youngest, it doesn’t bother me anymore,” says Burling, a tall and soft-spoken New Zealander. “It’s always been that way; I just go with it… I’m looking forward to a bit of racing.”
“Peter shows good promise in the 49er and the Moth, and those guys are leading the way in this class at the moment,” says Team Korea’s wingsail trimmer Troy Tindill. “They’re used to the apparent wind type of sailing that seems to bring out the strength of the AC45s.”
Burling isn’t the only new crewmember for Team Korea. Andrew McLean replaces Mark Bulkeley as the headsail trimmer. A mechanical engineer who goes by the nickname “Animal,” McLean, 33, raced aboard Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand in the Volvo Ocean Race as co-navigator/pitman.
“Andy is a strong, fit guy,” says Tindill. “We’ve got a bunch of good guys this regatta and would like to push to the top of the fleet.”
Prediction: With a new, young skipper Team Korea would seem to have low expectations coming into the regatta, but Burling’s record suggests he’s capable of pulling off some upsets.