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

01-LEAD-View-of-the-Bow

Know-How: Marlinspike Seamanship in the Arctic

I was crewing aboard a boat named Breskell, a 51ft cutter-rigged, cold-molded, mahogany sloop. We were voyaging from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Port Townsend, Washington, via the Northwest Passage. A few days before setting sail, the captain, Olivier Huin, asked me to secure ...read more

Prop-Coat-Barnacle-Barrier-Quart-No-Background

Gear: Prop Coat Barnacle Barrier

Prop Coat Barnacle Barrier 1792 is now available in a quart-size can and, as always, can be used on all underwater metals, including saildrives, shafts, strainers and folding and non-folding props. Two or three coats are recommended, after which the coating will purportedly ...read more

DY_171021_6877

Boat Review: Seawind 1600

Seawind Catamarans introduced its 52ft 1600 model in Europe last year, where the boat promptly started winning awards. The more jaded among us may look askance at such things, especially when it comes to a bluewater-rated catamaran billed as a providing a combination of ...read more

01-LEAD-Sailing-upwind.-300-dpi

Cruising: Australia’s Rugged Southern Coast

After a hard 33-day crossing in the Roaring Forties from Cape Town, South Africa, Jeannie, my wife and shipmate of over four decades, and I arrived to kiss the dock in Albany, a small but well-serviced Victorian town on Australia’s southwestern coast. We were glad the trip was ...read more