AP Photo/Ben MargotOracle CEO Larry Ellison

AP Photo/Ben MargotOracle CEO Larry Ellison

Australian yacht club first to challenge champs

Australian wine magnate Bob Oatley’s Hamilton Island Yacht Club has been confirmed as the Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup, organizers said on Monday.

Oatley and his son Sandy issued the challenge to the Golden Gate Yacht Club minutes after Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand in a winner-takes-all race on San Francisco Bay last week.

“We’re very proud. We’ve been watching the 34th America’s Cup and watching the catamarans racing around San Francisco Bay and seeing some of our fellow Australian sailors participating and seeing what a shame it is that Australia doesn’t have a team to compete in this arena,” Sandy Oatley told Reuters by phone. “It’s always been on every sailor’s wish-list to compete in the America’s Cup.”

The GGYC confirmed Hamilton Island Yacht Club’s challenge late on Monday, two days after Reuters reported that an employee of the Oatleys had delivered the challenge seconds after Oracle crossed the line to seal victory on Wednesday.

As the Challenger of Record, the club will help shape the rules for the 35th America’s Cup along with the defender. Additional challengers are expected to emerge as the next competition takes shape in the coming years.

“We are delighted to have Hamilton Island Yacht Club and the Oatleys leading Australia back into the America’s Cup for the first time since 2000,” GGYC vice commodore and America’s Cup liaison Tom Ehman said in a statement.

Ehman said both parties would work together to establish the protocols for the next regatta, while the GGYC would choose the next venue with the details finalized by early 2014.

“Both clubs are keen to have multiple challengers, as has been the norm since 1970, and to cut campaign costs for all teams,” Ehman added.

The 34th America’s Cup had only three challengers, with the costs of the campaign, which was raced in high-tech, super-fast AC72 catamarans, put in excess of $100 million and cited as the main reason why so few teams went to San Francisco.

Forbes ranked Oatley as Australia’s 25th richest person with just under $1 billion. Ellison is the world’s fifth richest man with $43 billion.

The 35th America’s Cup will be the first time that Australia has had an entry since Oracle captain James Spithill skippered “Young Australia” in the 30th edition in Auckland in 2000, despite the country’s strong sailing tradition.

Yachting Australia (YA) hailed the challenge, coming after the 30th anniversary of Australia II’s win with an innovative winged keel, one of the nation’s proudest sporting moments.America’s CupLarry EllisonOracle Team USA

Just Posted

London Breed, mayor of San Francisco, on May 26, 2021. Black women achieved a historic milestone as mayors of eight major American cities this year and political analysts say the record number points to “the age of Black women in politics.” (Bethany Mollenkof/The New York Times)
Eight Black women who run some of the biggest U.S. cities

By Jennifer Harlan and Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio New York Times… Continue reading

Salesforce Tower and several other buildings in downtown San Francisco can be seen through the fog; climate scientists report that The City’s beloved mascot may be on the decline. (Courtesy Engel Ching)
Is San Francisco losing its fog? Scientists fear the worst

This isn’t just an identity crisis for San Franciscans. It’s an ecological problem

The Bay Area is vying to be one of 16 communities,<ins> spread across the U.S., Canada and Mexico,</ins> to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup soccer championships. Games would be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. (Courtesy Bay Area Host Committee, World Cup 2026)
Bay Area launches bid to host World Cup games in 2026

FIFA officials pay San Francisco a visit as they tour prospective venues

Molly Welton’s 10-foot-long camper, sporting a custom wood window and bar, is stationed by a rusty gas station on Lincoln Avenue near the windblown, sandy expanse of Ocean Beach. (Photo by Paolo Bicchieri)
The spirit of San Francisco is alive and well in Molly Welton’s mobile cafe

California Kahve near Ocean Beach serves coffee and treats with morals and taste

Most Read