Kazuhiko “Fuku” Sofuku is widely considered one of the world’s most active sailors and serves as the General Manager of SoftBank Team Japan. In the lead-up Bermuda in 2017, Fuku leads the first Japanese challenge for the Cup since 2000 and seeks to make history by becoming the first Japanese team to win the America’s Cup.
At the age of 20 Fuku saw an advertisement in a newspaper encouraging readers to try out for the Nippon Challenge. He had never sailed before, but was motivated by the idea of traveling around the world. Fuku gave it his all and successfully joined the 1992 Japanese America’s Cup Team – and he’s been a sailor ever since.
Since then, Fuku has been involved in a number of different international sailing projects. His career highlights include sailing with CONTAINER in the TP52 circuit in 2012 and more recently competed in the 2013 Americas Cup as well as the World Match Racing Tour with Peter Gilmour and the Audi Med Cup with the Audi/Q8 TP52 Team and in 2012 Fuku.
As Fuku now prepares for the Race to Bermuda, he hopes to bring victory home to Japan.
“It’s a very big deal. It’s been 15 years since the last time Japan competed in the America’s Cup. A lot of people have been waiting for this moment and you can feel there is building excitement about a new challenge under the Japanese flag” (via americascup.com).
With all of the different sailing ventures he has been a part of over the years, if would appear that Fuku’s dream of traveling the world has come true. He’s sailed all over the globe, most recently competing in Oman, New York, and Chicago for the Louis Vuitton America’s World Series. As the Race to Bermuda continues next week, Fuku and his crew will be heading to Portsmouth, England and in the month following SoftBank Team Japan will compete again in Toulon, France.
Despite achieving his early dream of traveling the world, Fuku is now most excitedly looking forward with anticipation to when America’s Cup racing comes to Fukuoka, Japan. Fokuoka is the fifth largest city in Japan and will make history as the first ever America’s Cup racing event to come to Asia.
SoftBank Team Japan is hot off its win the last race of Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Chicago which gave them a podium result. Racing continues next at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth on July 22-24 and Fuku and his crew will be looking to find their spot on the podium again – perhaps even at the top.
Interested in learning more about SoftBank Team Japan? Meet SoftBank Team Japan’s CEO & Skipper, Dean Barker, here.
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