Team Germany would appear to have got its next challenge right, with an excellent sponsorship line up, probably the second fastest V5 boat, a first class skipper & helmsman and a man who played a big part in Alinghi's America's Cup win and successful defence.
Marian Martin talked to Jochen Schuemann about the way he sees the future.
Why did you leave Alinghi & join Team Germany?
Obviously, I'm a German sailor and this is a German team. I was with Alinghi for a very successful period of two Cup cycles and there comes a time when one looks for new challenges and I think it was a perfect moment, after being so successful with Alinghi, to have a change and a new challenge. Having a German team already in place was a great opportunity for that new challenge.
At present, you seem to be a sailing director, without sailors, other than a skipper. Is that the right perception?
Not really, we have relaunched the team and it will take us some time to build a completely new sailing team, but at the same time I'm not only the Sport Director I'm also co-CEO for the German team and the team chief, in charge of the strategy of the team, for both sports and sailing issues.
Some teams have already signed up a number of sailors? Might you run out of talent?
No, I don't believe so, firstly only five teams have made an entry so far and, in the last Cup, we had twelve, so there are plenty of sailors around. Also, in other disciplines of sailing - Olympics and other classes - there is plenty of sailing talent and we want to build a young, new team, so we have to find younger, new sailors.
Will many of those be German?
I would hope so, but at the same time I'm quite realistic. We are looking for the right competitors, so we don't care really if they are Chinese, French, English. We just want to bring the right competitors together to build a strong team. So, I would be happy to take German sailors, but also OK with other guys.
You, probably, have the best V5 boat now, apart from the America's Cup winner. Would you have preferred to stay with V5 boats?
No, I think it is good to level it for all the teams, with a new class, so this is a great opportunity for us, with a new class rule and a new team. I think this levels the battlefield, obviously. Take Team New Zealand, they've had nearly 20 years sailing the different versions of the same boat. Now everyone starts with the design office at zero.
Can you tell us who you will be using for tank testing and computational fluid dynamics?
We don't know yet; we are making plans, but that's not yet for the public.
How do you feel about Alinghi competing in the challenger series?
Due to the situation where there is only one boat to sail at a time, for all the teams, and only the official racing as an opportunity to practice against each other. I think if we want to have a fair competition and a fair preparation, all the team have to practice together in the official races or practice weekends. So I think it is quite normal that Alinghi will participate in the challenger series, in the beginning, otherwise there would be no practice for these guys. I don't have a problem with that.
Is having a Competitors Commission, rather than a Challengers Commission, a step forward?
Yes I think it is; I think it is helpful to not have different committees, but one. All the competitors are now involved and ACM is involved in this commission, so I think it's good that everyone involved in the competition is sitting around the same table. That will shorten the process of solving problems.
Some protocol changes were announced yesterday. Do you think this will stop the court case?
I don't know, I think it's a sign. There are only two battling; one has made a sign, now let's see what the other one does.
Last night the Supreme Court scheduled an informal discussion meeting, for before the hearing, on October 22. Do you think that is a good sign?
I didn't know that. I think, for sure, this proposal is a good sign already and I think that now everyone is waiting for the next sign, from the other side. Hopefully, it will come and they'll start talking about this. We are all looking forward to when this court thing will be resolved and we'll all be back on the water to race for the America's Cup; not being in Court for the America's Cup.
Last year, United Internet Team Germany was very disappointed with where it finished. You are, clearly, aiming higher this time?
For sure, that's why we bought SUI91, so there could be no excuse; we'll go out and race, with a good boat, in the 2008 ACTS and have all the opportunity to race well and, hopefully, we will be amongst the top teams.
Then we will see how our design team is working and how good we can get our new class boat to be. We are planning to be among the top four.