Published: Monday, 08 June 2015

Chris Draper, an Olympic medallist, multiple European and World champion, and America’s Cup helmsman, is joining SoftBank Team Japan.

The team will compete in the 2015 America's Cup World Series events, and challenge for the 2017 America's Cup in Bermuda.

Olympic Medalist Joins Softbank Team Japan

Draper is a world champion in the Olympic 49er class and won a Bronze Medal at the 2004 Olympic Games.

In addition to his sailing duties, Draper will take up the role of Sailing Director. He’ll race with SoftBank Team Japan CEO and skipper Dean Barker as well as, General Manager Kazuhiko Sofuku, at the first Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, UK next month.

Barker will be on the helm when racing starts at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, with Draper in a tactics/wing trimmer role.

“The opportunity to join a new team and build it from scratch is very exciting,” says Draper. “I think we’re going to have a fantastic team.

He was recruited to join Team Korea during the America’s Cup World Series in 2011 and made an immediate impact, driving the rookie team to solid results against experienced Cup crews. 

“When Dean approached me with an offer to join this team it was clear this was a unique opportunity to build something new,”
Draper says.

“We learned a lot about each other during our time together during the last campaign when we trained with Luna Rossa in Auckland,” says Barker. “Chris is a very skilled sailor and brings a lot to our team. We’re fortunate to have him.”

SoftBank Team Japan is led by skipper and CEO Dean Barker, along with General Manager Kazuhiko Sofuku, and Sailing Director Chris Draper. They are building a team to challenge for the 2017 America’s Cup.

“The team has huge aspirations. With a competitive boat, we have as good a chance going in to the Cup in 2017 as anyone else and that’s all you can ask for,”
says Draper.