Just after ORACLE defeated Team New Zealand in the final race of the 34th America’s Cup on Sept. 25, Australia’s Hamilton Island Yacht Club (HIYC), led by famous sailor and winemaker Bob Oatley, challenged for the 35th America’s Cup. The challenge, filed on the 30th anniversary of Australia II’s win in the 1983 America’s Cup, which ended New York Yacht Club’s 132-year reign as defender, was accepted by Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC).
This challenge marks Australia’s return to the Cup for the first time since 2000. Oatley, whose Wild Oats yachts have won six of the last eight Sydney-Hobart races, is thrilled to be the Challenger of Record. “Given Australia’s previous success in the America’s Cup, the Admiral’s Cup and Olympic yachting, and as proud Australians, we think it is time for our nation to be back in our sport’s pinnacle event,” Oatley said. “The recently completed America’s Cup in San Francisco has revolutionized the sport for sailors and fans, and we were excited to see how many Australians played key roles on the teams and in the regatta organization.”
After the Defender of the Cup decides on the venue, both HIYC and GGYC will consult venues, sponsors and prospective challengers to negotiate dates, boat class, format and rules of the AC35. Despite the ever-changing rules and hurdles that occurred in this year’s America’s Cup, both clubs are “keen to have multiple challengers, as has been the norm since 1970, and to cut campaign costs for all teams,” said GGYC’s Vice Commodore Tom Ehman.