(Reuters) - Australian wine magnate Bob Oatley’s Hamilton Island Yacht Club have been confirmed as the Challengers 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 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.
“Hamilton Island’s challenge was filed on the day Australia was celebrating the 30th anniversary of Australia II’s historic win in the 1983 Americas Cup off Newport, Rhode Island, which ended New York Yacht Club’s 132-year reign as the Cup’s defender.”
Ehman said both parties would now 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 US$100 million and cited as the main reason why so few teams went to San Francisco.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Ken Ferris