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Canada's Cup chooses the IC37 by Melges to ring in a new era

by Hannah Noll 16 Dec 2017 07:13 PST
Canada's Cup Committee has selected the Melges IC37 Class as the platform for their new vision for the event. © Melges

The Canada's Cup Committee has selected the Melges IC37 Class as the platform for their new vision for the event. The Canada's Cup is the premier match racing trophy for the Great Lakes. The Cup was deeded in 1896 to be awarded in perpetuity to a winner of a series of match races between a yacht representing a Canadian yacht club and one representing an American club, both located on the Great Lakes. The prestigious event has been contested 24 times between the United States and Canada, with the former holding a 13 to 11 advantage.

"The prize is comparable to the America's Cup, in being for international match race competition, but is limited to clubs on the Great Lakes," wrote the New York Times just before the 12th competition.

To celebrate the history, tradition and competitiveness of the Canada's Cup, the Canada's Cup Committee, co-chaired by Allan Megarry and Past Commodore Jamie Keating, along with the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC), have developed a new vision for the event beginning in 2020: A biennial event through at least 2024, with all events being hosted by RCYC in the IC37 by Melges.

Yacht clubs from around the Great Lakes will be invited to an American and Canadian Defender/Challenger elimination series with one Defender and one Challenger competing for the Canada's Cup in September 2020, 2022 and 2024. The intent is to provide all Great Lakes yacht clubs the opportunity to participate in what is considered the premier event in Canadian big boat sailing.

"The RCYC, as the custodian of the Canada's Cup, is excited with this new vision that offers our Club a stellar long-term signature event platform to celebrate the Cup's history and additional events that celebrate our Veterans, our youth, our heritage and our sport with widespread participation of all Great Lakes yacht clubs," said Chris Mitchele, RCYC Commodore.

The Canada's Cup Committee has selected the IC37 by Melges as the platform for this vision. To ensure the continued success of the Rolex New York Yacht Club Rolex Invitational Cup, the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) partnered with leading marine brands to launch a new one-design class to replace the Swan 42 and carry the Corinthian interclub competition into its second decade and beyond. The Melges IC37 Class is a revolutionary collaboration between NYYC, Melges Performance Sailboats, Mills Design, Westerly Marine and North Sails.

"This is the perfect class to carry the Canada's Cup into the future. The committee has made the right choice in selecting a strict one-design both designed and built to accommodate a wide spectrum of crew skills, targeting Corinthian sailors of the world," said Harry Melges. "The momentum is growing for our brand new class. Great things are on the horizon for Corinthian sailing in the Melges IC37 Class."

The new plan for the Canada's Cup includes three prominent events over six years that will provide potential owners and sponsors with high-level, competitive match racing as well as numerous fleet racing opportunities in the off years hosted by the New York Yacht Club.

Megarry, Canada's Cup Committee Co-Chair, sees this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity. "We will be able to capitalize on utilizing a boat perfectly suited to Great Lakes sailing and will be heavily promoted south of the border given the prominence of the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup and support from the Melges IC37 Class Association. Early interest in the boat is considerable so there is cause for optimism."

Tooling is already underway at Westerly Marine of Santa Ana, California, one of the leading performance boat builders in the world. The first boat is scheduled to be sailing this coming winter. A small fleet of the new class is expected to be sailing in Newport, Rhode Island, next summer, and the complete NYYC fleet of 20 boats is scheduled to be sailing by the spring of 2019. Many new owners have placed their deposit and claimed their spot in the production line. Westerly Marine anticipates a production capacity of two boats per month, which will ensure a steady supply of boats available for purchase by private owners and additional yacht club fleets starting in late 2018.

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