Australia returns to challenge for America's Cup

Tue Oct 1, 2013 1:50am EDT
 
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - 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 Tuesday.

Oatley and his son Sandy issued the challenge to the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) minutes after Larry Ellison's Oracle Team USA beat 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.

"Dad always wanted to do it, we just went last week to the 30th anniversary of Australia II winning the America's Cup from Liberty and so its sort of been building for a while."

The GGYC confirmed Hamilton Island Yacht Club's (HIYC) 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.

SAILING PEDIGREE   Continued...