Big Boat Series and AC35 news—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

USA in action
Dick Mander
The big news in Grand Prix sailing news comes courtesy of San Francisco Bay and the Rolex Big Boat Series, which just wrapped-up on Sunday. Racing was reportedly hot in all classes-as always, in this classic big-breeze event-but competition was especially stiff in the J/105 and J/120 classes.

'It’s one of the more challenging race courses in the world,' said Jim Swartz, owner of the TP52 'Vesper', about the general sailing conditions on San Francisco Bay. 'That’s why we’re here.' For their efforts, Swartz and his crew won both the St. Francis Perpetual Trophy and earned the honor of being named 2013 IRC West Coast Champion.

Teams in action
Dick Mander

Get the full story and some great photo galleries, inside this issue.

Meanwhile, in America’s Cup news, the Australian-flagged Hamilton Island Yacht Club, led by Bob Oatley, has been named the official Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup. Oatley, it will be remembered, has had a series of successful Australian-flagged boats, including 'Wild Oats XI', which has won six of the past eight Sydney-Hobart Races.

'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,' said Oatley. '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.'

Bob Oatley and Jimmy Spithill with The Cup Hamilton Island Race Week 2011
Jeni Bone

For their part, the Defender also seems happy with their new Challenger of Record. '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 Tom Ehman, the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s Vice Commodore and America’s Cup liaison.

'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,' said Ehman. '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.'

Also AC-related, Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) skipper Dean Barker gave a super candid video interview on the prime-time New Zealand TV show, 'Campbell Live' about the crushing experience of having been so incredibly close to winning sailing’s greatest prize. This must-see interview gives interesting insight to the future of the team (especially the 'NZ' part), now that AC34 has drawn to a close. Get the full report, inside this issue.

B Carlin Leg one Clipper

Also inside, get the scoop on the nomination process for US Sailing’s prestigious 2013 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards, check out the latest offshore report from the Clipper Round the World Race, and, for the speed-obsessed, get a preview of the Luderitz Speed Challenge.

May the four winds blow you safely home,