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Defender at a glance



Bill Koch, who built a fortune developing alternative energy, has built his first America's Cup defense syndicate on technology, talent and teamwork, the three elements that led to the name America3, as in America cubed.

Koch will find out whether his syndicate's talent and teamwork are as good as the technology that produced four boats and dispatched Dennis Conner and Stars & Stripes in the defender finals.

Koch has had great success in maxi-boat racing with Matador, a breakthrough design and has used that maxi-boat technology to develop his offerings to the new International America's Cup Class yachts.

A third of the syndicate's $60 million budget is Koch's money, and Koch seems to feel that he deserves to play with his toys as he sees fit. That might be a problem against a top-flight skipper like Italy's Paul Cayard. Remember, that Koch outspent, out-built and only barely out-sailed Conner to win the defender role.

Koch may have to give way to experienced skipper Buddy Melges, who has won two Olympic medals and a slew of other world sailing titles, throughout the races of the Cup series rather than steering the reaching legs himself.

Key players, important stats:

Skipper: Bill Koch

Helmsman: Buddy Melges

Design team: Heiner Meldner, Jerry Milgram, Dough Peterson, Jim Pugh, John Reichel, Vincent Moeyersoms.

Builders: Hercules Aerospace, Goetz Custom Boats.

Sailmakers: Halsey, North, Sobstad.

Number of boats: Four (Jayhawk, Defiant, America3 and Kanza). America3 won the defender finals.

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