Australians challenge America’s Cup

Oct 28, 2013 by Guest Writer

The day after Oracle Team USA retained the America’s Cup in late September, Australia winemaker and sailor Bob Oatley challenged the defender for the next America’s Cup. The challenge, accepted by Oracle owner Larry Ellison, was made by the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, located on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Hamilton Island Yacht Club will be the challenger of record, helping shape the rules for the 35th America’s Cup along with the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) and other challengers.

“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 in a statement. Australia hasn’t competed in the America’s Cup since 2000 when its effort was led by skipper Jimmy Spithill, who was then 20, according to a story in the Associated Press.

Spithill led Oracle Team USA to back-to-back America’s Cup victories, and was one of four Australians on the 11-man crew, which had only one American onboard for the final 14 races.

In 1983, Australia II beat Dennis Conner’s Liberty to end the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year winning streak in the America’s Cup.

The GGYC and Hamilton Island Yacht Club are expected to have a protocol for the 35th America’s Cup in place by early next year, the AP reported. That document will have the dates, venues, class of boat and other details.