Late last week the New York Yacht Club announced that they would be challenging for the 36th America’s Cup. The New York and Newport, RI based club is no stranger to the Cup races of old, as they held the cup as winners from 1851 until 1983 when the Aussies showed up in Newport with their transformational winged keel. The club again challenged for the Cup with Dennis Conner at the helm back in the 2002-03 series, but came up short. The time seems right to the club to partner with yachtsmen “Hap” Fauth and Doug DeVos, two very decorated sailors and program leaders for Team Bella Mente and Team Quantum Racing – which brings top notch American sailor, Terry Hutchison, into the picture as well.
These sailors have proven themselves and their winning team strategy and structure on both long and short courses, around the buoys and on the open oceans. And with NYYC behind them, they plan to create a team that can snatch the cup back – hopefully to Rhode Island Sound, off NYYC’s Harbor Court location in Newport, RI.
With Oracle and Larry Ellison’s futuristic foiling multihulls a thing of the past Cup races, the Club felt the time was right to become involved again with traditional monohull races being considered for this next Cup series. NYYC likes the way the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is heading and has faith that they will present a world-class regatta that honors the tradition and spirit of former Cup matches which the club embraced until the ’86 loss.
Keep your eyes on the emerging teams that are forming to challenge the Kiwis. Challenger of Record, Luna Rossa is no stranger to Cup racing either, with former challenges under the Prada flag playing an even bigger role. In this next Cup edition, the Prada Cup will replace the long standing sponsored Louis Vuitton Cup for the challenger series that precedes the Cup races to determine the eventual only challenger for New Zealand.
Changes in the Cup protocol are desired by many who felt the extremely technological foiling multihull developments of the recent cups were too far removed from the sailing masses and their level of interest. Others contend the cup has always been about pushing the envelope and showcasing the future of the sport – as fans seeing Australia II must have felt in ’86 with their crazy wing keel that surprised everyone.
Change is good – and maybe this is a step backwards in technology – but we won’t be sure until the full details of the new America’s Cup foiling? monohull are announced in the Spring. One thing is for sure – you won’t be watching 12 Metres or J Class yachts doing windward leeward courses. Change is afoot, albeit on one hull. And it’s most likely for the better now that a local American club and 2 motivated yachtsmen sponsors are involved. Either way – we know who we’ll be cheering for when it comes time to challenge those Kiwis!