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sail-world.com -- America's Cup: Hamilton Island Yacht Club confirmed as Challenger

America's Cup: Hamilton Island Yacht Club confirmed as Challenger    
Wed, 2 Oct 2013

On Monday, September 30th, the following statement was issued by the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC), the defender and trustee of the America's Cup.

Hamilton Island Yacht Club (HIYC), located on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia, has challenged for the 35th America’s Cup. HIYC’s challenge has been accepted by the Golden Gate Yacht Club, which remains the Defender and Trustee of the world’s oldest international sporting trophy after its team, Oracle Team USA owned by Larry Ellison, won the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco last Wednesday.

For the past three decades HIYC has run Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, which has become the largest annual regatta in Australia with some 200 offshore yachts competing in recent years.

HIYC is led by Australian winemaker and sailing legend Bob Oatley, whose succession of yachts named Wild Oats have dominated ocean racing in Australia for years, including having won six of the last eight Sydney-Hobart races. An Australian team led by Mr. Oatley won the last Admiral’s Cup, widely regarded as the world’s top prize in ocean racing.

The challenge was filed by Mr. Oatley and his son, Sandy, on behalf of HIYC shortly after Oracle Team USA won the thrilling deciding final race in the 34th America’s Cup against Emirates Team New Zealand on San Francisco Bay on September 25th.

'We are delighted to have Hamilton Island Yacht Club and the Oatley’s leading Australia back into the America’s Cup for the first time since 2000,' said GGYC Vice Commodore and America’s Cup liaison Tom Ehman. 'Hamilton Island’s challenge was filed on the day Australia was celebrating the 30th anniversary of Australia II’s historic win in the 1983 America’s Cup off Newport, RI, which ended New York Yacht Club’s 132-year reign as the Cup’s defender.'

'Given Australia’s previous success in the America’s Cup, the Admiral’s Cup and Olympic yachting, and as proud Australians, we think it is time for our nation to be back in our sport’s pinnacle event,' Mr. Oatley said. 'The recently completed America’s Cup in San Francisco has revolutionized the sport for sailors and fans, and we were excited to see how many Australians played key roles on the teams and in the regatta organization.'

Vice Commodore Ehman added, 'The dates, type of boat, format and rules are subject to negotiation between the Challenger of Record and Defender following consultation with prospective challengers, venues, sponsors and other stakeholders. Both Clubs are keen to have multiple challengers, as has been the norm since 1970, and to cut campaign costs for all teams. But first we must determine the venue, which, under the America’s Cup Deed of Gift, is decided by the Defender.'

Click here for a Media Conference given by Bob and Sandy Oatley

GGYC and HIYC expect to have a Protocol Governing the 35th America’s Cup, including dates, venue, boats and other details, agreed and published in the first few months of 2014.

Details of the dates and boat, are required to be contained in the Challenge which has not been publicly released. The Defender and Challenger of Record will then negotiate a Protocol, which will open a period in which other Challengers may be lodged. Currently only one other Challenger is believed to be in the mix, with Artemis Racing having appointed Iain Percy (GBR) as its head, and charged with recruiting the best team possible.

Bob and Sandy Oatley appeared on Australian television, on Channel 7's Sunrise propram this morning, and in a media conference later in the day, to announce the Challenge, saying that they expected to draw on the Australian sailors involved in other America's Cup Challenges for their team, along with pulling sailors from the Australian Olympic program.

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The next America's Cup is not expected to be staged until 2017 to avoid a clash with the 2016 Olympics which will he staged in Rio de Janeiro from August 5-21, 2016. The Australian Challenge is expected to have issues similar to those faced by Britain's Team Origin, who opted to flag away competing in the 2013 America's Cup after many of its key sailors were to be involved in their home Olympics, and felt that they would be compromising events to sail in both regattas in a 12 month period.

Pressure will also come on the many Australians involved in the existing America's Cup teams to sail for their home team.

No announcement has been made on any nationality rule or effective campaign cost reductions for the 35th America's Cup.

Americas Cup website

by Richard Gladwell



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