Ocean Racing Team, Team 888, Charters Kingfisher for North Atlantic Challenge

Organizers of the DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge announce the addition of Team 888, led by co-skippers Mark Denton and Jonny Malbon of the U.K., to the fleet registered for this June’s historic 3,600-nautical-mile offshore race from Newport, Rhode Island to Cuxhaven, Germany and on to Hamburg. The team has chartered Ellen MacArthur’s Open 60 Kingfisher, which will be sailed under the banner Team 888 for the season ahead, and has put together an ambitious calendar for the inaugural year.

Kingfisher was the yacht originally designed and built for Ellen MacArthur’s Vendée Globe 2000 campaign. In that race she finished second and gained international acclaim. Recognized as one of the fastest monohulls afloat, Kingfisher, 60 feet long and constructed largely of carbon fiber, is the epitome of this new breed of high-technology racing machine. "We’re absolutely thrilled to have finalized the charter and we can’t wait to get on the water," said Denton. "There’s some stiff competition in the DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge, so it’s heads down from here on in."

Neither skipper is a stranger to ocean racing or Kingfisher. Mark Denton’s last campaign was commanding BP Explorer to third place in the BT Global Challenge 2000/1. Jonny Malbon has been an integral part of the Ellen MacArthur success story since 2001, when he joined the Kingfisher team as boat captain. "We can’t wait to take it on," said Malbon. "to be out there racing in this event, against some formidable opposition, on one of the fastest monohulls in the world. Even more exciting is the fact that this will be the boat’s first real foray out of class, which gives us an opportunity to demonstrate what a weapon this Open 60 really is."

The rest of Team 888 is yet to be announced. The Daimler Chrysler North Atlantic Challenge starts June 14 and 21 from Newport. Team888 will start with the second fleet, which includes Robert McNeil's MaxZ86 Zephyrus V.

After the Daimler Chrysler North Atlantic Challenge, Team888 plans to take part in the Round Britain and Ireland Race--a class race for the Open 60s, scheduled for July 13. Next will be the Rolex Fastnet Race, to start on August 10, which will give the team a chance to showcase the boat's performance against the extensive fleet put together for this classic.

The DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge 2003 is an offshore sailing race to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt, a long-standing sailing club based in Hamburg, Germany. Over 60 of the world's most exotic racing yachts are expected to compete in this once-in-a-lifetime test of endurance and skill. The race will start on June 14 and 21, 2003 from Newport, R.I., USA and travel 3,600 nautical miles across the North Atlantic Ocean, north of the British Isles to Cuxhaven,
Germany, and on to Hamburg on the river Elbe.

The event organizer will host a maritime festival from July 4-12 in Hamburg with daily social activities to coincide with the finish of the race. The race is organized by the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein, Hamburg with the support of the New York Yacht Club. Other sponsors include Holsten Brewery, Deutsche Bank, SAP, World of TUI, Hanseboot International Boat Show from Hamburg, and Marinepool.

For more information about the DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge, go to their website at www.dcnac.de.