Australia Returns to the Cup

It’s been 30 years since Australia became the first country to take away the America’s Cup, and 26 years since Perth, Australia, staged one of the all-time great AC regattas in its defense.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
 Hamilton Island Yacht Club

Hamilton Island Yacht Club

It’s been 30 years since Australia became the first country to take away the America’s Cup, and 26 years since Perth, Australia, staged one of the all-time great AC regattas in its defense. (Who can forget the way Dennis Conner, the American who had lost the Cup, completed his crusade to regain it—to the cheers of a disappointed but deliriously hospitable OZ?) More recently, it’s been 13 years since the country last fielded its own challenge.

Now Australia is back, after the Hamilton Island Yacht Club’s bid to become Challenger of Record for the 35th match was accepted in September by the defender, Golden Gate Yacht Club, amid expectations—no immediate announcements or guarantees—of races in 2017 on San Francisco Bay (the year 2015 being too soon to develop the boats, and 2016 being an Olympic year).

Australia’s ocean racing legend Bob Oatley, known for his support of many of young Australian Olympians who now populate AC teams, and for a series of maxi ocean racers named Wild Oats, will head the challenge along with his son, Sandy. Together father and son run the elegant Hamilton Island Yacht Club—and almost everything else on this boutique island in Queensland’s Whitsunday archipelago—as a business, so we appear to be taking yet another step from the Cup’s traditional “yacht club” foundations.

All indications are that the Oatleys anticipate a highly nationalistic challenge. But don’t expect Oracle Team USA’s Aussie-born skipper Jimmy Spithill to head Down Under any time soon. With an American wife and kids, not to mention a winning program here in the United States, he’s likely feeling pretty American himself these days. 

kimball

Longtime Cup follower Kimball Livingston

is based in San Francisco

Related

grenadapromo_0

A Grand Grenada Charter

I have often sailed in the swath of more accessible West Indian islands that lie between Antigua and Puerto Rico. But I had never before cruised around any of the islands south of Antigua, so I jumped at the chance last April to step aboard a Lagoon 380 catamaran from Horizon ...read more

SunFast-600x

Video tour: Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300

Jeanneau America's Mike Coe takes SAIL aboard the brand new Sun Fast 3300 for an exclusive tour. This mid-sized stripped-down racing boat has a perfect balance of amenities and weight-saving simplicity to make it a blast to sail. Though it boasts sleeping space for up to six, ...read more

furlex2

Know-how: Installing an Electric Furler

Push-Button Reefing Boats have never been easier to sail, and yet, designers and builders still strive for that extra iota or two of convenience. A case in point is the growing acceptance of powered headsail furlers. Roller-furling headsails are ubiquitous not only on cruising ...read more

New-Lead

Know-how: Modify a Blackwater System

My dissatisfaction with the head and holding tank plumbing arrangement on our 1987 Sabre 38 had grown as we cruised the boat away from the comforts of a marina for longer periods of time. When we are tied up at a marina, the use of regular bathrooms generally trumps the ...read more

01-LEAD-Suzuki-55f19d31e297c

Choosing the Right Outboard

Two of the most indispensable items on board a cruising yacht are a dinghy and an outboard motor. At anchor or on a buoy, of course, they are your only means of getting ashore. They also have a thousand other uses. For example, they can allow you to motor across to friends’ ...read more

2019-giftGuide

2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Sailing America Rizzoli International Publications has released this striking portrait of American sailing by nautical photography legend Onne van der Wal just in time for the holidays. Featuring 200 stunning photographs spanning the length and breadth of the sailing scene—from ...read more

01-Sailing-La-Vagabonde,-Outremer-48

Cruising: the Vagabonde Life

Once upon a time conquering your dream of sailing off into the sunset was enough, but these days it seems like you have to be popular on social media too. Balancing the stresses of sailing around the world while keeping a successful—not to mention financially lucrative—social ...read more

191114

Video: 11th Hour Racing Arrives in Brazil

Team 11th Hour Racing finished in fourth place this past week among the 29 IMOCA 60s competing in the 4,335-mile doublehanded Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre, France, to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Aboard were American Charlie Enright and French sailor Pascal Bidégorry, ...read more