Australians pushing for thrifty America's Cup

Tue Oct 1, 2013 3:44pm EDT
 
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's Hamilton Island Yacht Club will push to ensure the next America's Cup does not boil down to a "race of money" with Larry Ellison's Oracle Team USA, but will fight hard to woo the country's top sailing talent back from the defender.

Hamilton Island, owned by wine magnate and sailing enthusiast Bob Oatley and run by his son Sandy, was confirmed by the Golden Gate Yacht Club as the Challenger of Record for the 35th America's Cup late on Monday.

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

As the Challenger of Record, Hamilton Island will help shape the rules for the next regatta with Oracle, whose software tycoon owner has also talked of the need to contain costs after being criticised for the complexity of the hi-tech AC72s.

Sandy Oatley praised Oracle and the beaten Team New Zealand for putting on a thrilling regatta in San Francisco Bay after raising the technology stakes but said lower costs would help attract more challengers for the next incarnation, set for 2016.

"It did cost a lot, the technology, but I think they've taken it into the next realm of sailing," he told Reuters in an interview by phone from Sydney.

"I think the way they've developed it in this case has made it very exciting and all the people who were able to watch it were absolutely amazed.

"I think (overseas competitors) are all welcoming the fact of trying to contain the costs.   Continued...