by Craig Heydon
Yachting Australia would like to congratulate the Hamilton Island Yacht Club on being announced as the official Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup.
Hamilton Island Yacht Club announced this morning that they had challenged the Golden Gate Yacht Club and Oracle Team USA for the America’s Cup following the American’s win in San Francisco last week.
The Hamilton Island Yacht Club, led by Bob and Sandy Oatley, will work with their American counterparts to plan the 35th America’s Cup.
Yachting Australia CEO Phil Jones welcomed today’s announcement, saying that it came at a great time for Australian sailing.
'On behalf of the Australian sailing community I’d like to congratulate Bob and Sandy Oatley, and the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, on being announced as the Challenger of Record for the next America’s Cup,' said Jones. 'The most recent America’s Cup was incredibly exciting for old and new sailing fans and we look forward to seeing an Australian boat compete for the oldest trophy in sport once again.
'Australia has a proud sailing history and it’s great to see Hamilton Island Yacht Club and the Oatley family announce their challenge less than a week after an Australian skippered Oracle Team USA to victory and we celebrated the 30th anniversary of Australia II’s win,' he said. 'We look forward to working with the club to create a pathway for Australia’s young sailors to compete at the top level.
'This challenge will help to inspire Australia’s next group of champion sailors as the dream of racing for the America’s Cup on a boat with an Australian flag will now be within reach,' said Jones.
Australia was the most represented country in this year’s America’s Cup, despite the country not having its own boat. Australians featured heavily on both Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand, with James Spithill, Tom Slingsby, Kyle Langford and Joe Newton racing with the Americans, and Glenn Ashby and Adam Beashel with the New Zealanders.
The 35th America’s Cup will be the first time that Australia has had an entry in the event since the 30th edition in Auckland in 2000, when James Spithill skippered the Young Australia entry.
The Oatley family has been heavily involved in Australian sailing for decades, including owning Wild Oats XI which has won line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart six times, and the handicap trophy twice.
Bob and Sandy Oatley are also patrons of the Australian Sailing Team, with Hamilton Island a long-standing major co-sponsor of the team.