African Diaspora Maritime (ADM), a non-profit corporation created to motivate, inspire, and teach problem solving and cooperation by introducing early disciplines of maritime knowledge, is suing America's Cup host, Golden Gate YC, for not letting them compete.
Charles Kithcart, President - America’s Cup 2013
'I just want to integrate a sport that really needs some integration,' Charles Kithcart said with more than a twinge of frustration in his voice.
Kithcart is the founder of the North Carolina-based organization which is dedicated to getting more African Americans involved in yacht racing, a sport that tends to be cultural shorthand for 'wealthy and white.' His dream is to build a multicultural team of sailors to compete in the world's premier sailing competition, the America's Cup.
The Golden Gate Yacht Club, isn't allowing ADM to compete against Oracle Racing for the right to represent the United States, when the event comes to the San Francisco Bay next summer.
'We want to compete. We want to participate,' said Kithcart, who has submitted the $25,000 entrance fee to the GGYC and lined up legendary yacht designer Dave Pedrick to create his boat. 'We don’t want to be excluded. There's a history of exclusion of African Americans in this country, and it doesn't look good when a team of African Americans is excluded from something like this.'
Kithcart is suing the GGYC, demanding to be allowed in. The case will soon be heard before the New York Supreme Courtt, which has historically ruled on legal issues related to the America's Cup.
Representatives from the GGYC, on the other hand, claim they have done nothing wrong.
'The suit is totally and utterly without merit,' said Tom Ehman, GGYC's Vice Commodore. 'At best it's a PR stunt, and at worst it's holding us up for money.'
Ehman explained that ADM's application made it clear that the team simply didn't have the resources to make such an enormous commitment. 'We're under no obligation to accept multiple teams,' he said, noting the club refunded ADM's entrance fee after rejecting its application. 'It's a huge distraction when teams compete without the proper preparation, only to get immediately walked all over. It could easily end up with one of the boats getting damaged or the sailors getting hurt.'
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African Diaspora Maritime website
Americas Cup website