Ehman’s San Francisco Yacht Racing Challenge will Compete in One-design “Super 12s"

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
12-Meter yachts competing in the 1987 America’s Cup in Fremantle, Australia, during the Golden Age of America’s Cup racing. Photo by Daniel Forster

12-Meter yachts competing in the 1987 America’s Cup in Fremantle, Australia, during the Golden Age of America’s Cup racing. Photo by Daniel Forster

Those lucky enough to have been on the scene at the 34th America’s Cup will be familiar with the spectacular backdrop the city of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay provided to the equally spectacular racing.
Indeed, it seemed as if the Auld Mug had found its new spiritual home; so much so that it was a shock when it was announced that AC35 would be contested on the waters of Great Sound, Bermuda.

It did not take long for Tom Ehman, vice-Commodore of the golden Gate Yacht Club, to fill this void, as well as the one created when Cup racing matriculated from monos to multis in AC33’s Deed of Gift Challenge back in 2010. In 2017, a fleet of turbocharged 12-Meters will take to San Francisco’s waters in a new international racing series, chasing $500,000 in prize money.

Teams entering Ehman’s San Francisco Yacht Racing Challenge will compete in one-design “Super 12s,” with carbon-fiber hulls and decks, modern rigs and a bare minimum of electronics to place the emphasis squarely on sailing skills and teamwork. “It’s going to be like watching Tony Bennett singing a duet with Lady Gaga,” said Ehman, “or a reincarnation of the Beatles…the music that everyone loves.”

While the Challenge is not affiliated with the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the annual event will place a premium on competition between different yacht clubs, much like Cups of yore, and will be contested with mixed-gender crews of high-level sailors.
Ehman says all teams will be challengers—meaning there won’t be an entitled defender—and all racing will take place, year-on-year, on San Francisco Bay, giving the event a permanent, reliable home, like the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
“There’s a lot of international interest in monohull racing with strong teams, in classic-looking boats,” says Ehman. “There’s a nostalgia and romance with the 12-Meters, and to have those boats racing in a lot of breeze on spectator-friendly San Francisco Bay will remind people of the halcyon days of racing 12-Meters in big breeze off Fremantle, Western Australia, during the 1987 America’s Cup.”

The “Super 12s” will be built from the same female mold by the same builder, all rigging and deck hardware will be identical, and each team will use the same restricted sail inventories. Instrumentation is limited to just a handheld GPS, a VHF radio, a depth sounder, a compass and a Windex.

“We’re talking about Lasers,” says Ehman. “The boats need to be identical in order for the owners and teams to have confidence and want to participate.” Also, all boats will be wet-sailed, with the teams only allowed one haulout per year.
Competitors must be invited, and the SFYRC will enforce strict nationality rules: all members of each 12-person crew must be from the same country. Additionally, the SFRYC will include an age rule that stipulates that at least two crewmembers must be 22 years old or younger, while at least one crewmember (the so-called 12th man) must be at least 62. All teams will also be required to sail with at least two female crewmembers (or, on a mostly female program, at least two male sailors). Owners can drive some or all of the time, or they can opt to have a professional take the wheel. A 13th spot allows for VIPs, media and sponsor sailing days.

Critically, Ehman envisions annual budgets of around $1 million and an initial build cost of under $3 million, which he hopes will make this breeze-on series attractive to owners and sponsors who were either priced out of the America’s Cup or who have grown disillusioned with the current Defender’s “vision” for AC35. For more information, visit sfyrc.com.

August 2015

Click for more racing news here

Related

Tilly-1

Gear: Tilley Polaris Hat

A True Blue Tilley Sailing is all about fun in the sun, but it sometimes doesn’t take long to get too much of a good thing, especially when on a prolonged cruise or offshore passage. Enter the Tilley Polaris, the latest lid developed by iconic Canadian hat-maker Tilley. ...read more

Sand-TOWEL_MODEL-3

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel

Sand Be Gone! The summer is hot and full of terrors—not the least of which is the sand that sticks in your beach towel in the hopes of a free ride back to your car or boat. Fortunately, there's now the CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel, engineered in polyester to not only dry quickly ...read more

01-Blowup-Tiwal2_sailing-(3)

Gear: Tiwal Inflatable Sailing Dinghy

Blow-up Boating A few years ago, the French company Tiwal arrived on U.S. shores with that most improbable of products, an inflatable sailing dinghy that actually sails the way a boat is supposed to. Now, nearly 1,000 Tiwal 3’s later, the company is back with its Tiwal 2, an ...read more

Koozy

Gear: 22 Below Koozie

Killer Koozie For all that sailors love the warmth of this time of year, that same warmth can also wreak havoc on their otherwise icy-cold beers. (Unless, of course, you drink them very, very fast. But we won’t go there.) To help deal with this terrible hardship, North ...read more

Cool-Specs

Gear: Gill's Race Fusion Sunglasses

Wicked Cool Specs Is there anything in the world of sailing more fun than a cool pair of shades? Heck, no! And it would hard to find a cooler pair than these new Race Fusion specs from longtime weather-gear manufacture Gill. In addition to looking great, they include a number of ...read more

North_new

Gear: North Sails Waterproof Pack

A few years ago, North Sails made a big push into the apparel business with all kinds of sharp-looking button-down shirts, shorts and fleeces. That doesn’t mean, though, that the North Sails Collection isn’t still plenty practical, as is evident in its new roll-over waterproof ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Sort the charts  Lying here on the cockpit seat is my iPad, loaded with Navionics charts. It’s a classic example of the benefits of GPS-assisted paper chart navigation and the wonderful electronics ...read more