Columnists writing in The Australian Gossip have suggested that a group of wealthy Australian businessmen could be interested in mounting an America’s Cup Challenge.
Australia has not had an entrant in the America’s Cup for 20 years, and by the time the next America’s Cup rolls around, it will be 38 years since Australia won the 1983 event in Newport RI.
The story does not have any concrete statement from the people it names as being potential joint backers/financiers of the team. But it notes that most of the Australians who competed in the last America’s Cup for various non-Australian teams in Bermuda were present at the recent Hamilton Island Race Week.
The likelihood of a nationality rule more stringent than just having one member of the sailing crew as a passport holder of the country of the club of the participating team will cause some tough decisions to be made by the Australian America’s Cup sailors.
They will either have to comply with the new nationality rule – which is likely to be tougher than just being a passport holder, or sail for an Australian team.
The story says that Oracle Team USA’s Jimmy Spithill and Tom Slingsby along with Artemis Racing’s Nathan Outteridge were present at Hamilton Island along with a bevy of owners.
The Australian tips 84-year-old property developer Ervin Vidor, owner of several hotel apartment chains as being involved along with Brisbane office tower developer Peter Harburg, owner of the supermaxi Black Jack. Tom Slingsby was aboard Black Jack at Hamilton Island, and according to The Australian, the 2012 Olympic Gold medlaists is keen to skipper and Australian America’s Cup entry.
The newspaper says that the Oately family are not interested in being involved after their last experience as Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup, before they pulled out ahead of the deadline for closure of entries in mid July 2014.
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The Protocol for the 36th America’s Cup is expected to be announced in three weeks time, before the end of September. As well as defining the nationality requirements and other key details, there will also be a statement on whether the America’s Cup Class will be a monohull or multihull.
by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World NZ