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New: Golden Gate Racing Challenge

With the America’s Cup situation in more chaos than ever, Tom Ehman, who is the vice commodore of Golden Gate Yacht Club and who has been part of the America’s Cup for, well, just about forever, is proposing something of an alternative to the America’s Cup. To be called the Golden Gate Racing Challenge, it would be an annual event on San Francisco Bay starting in July 2017 featuring "updated versions of the venerable 12 Meter class."

Although the idea of racing 12 Meters may sound archaic to some, there is still nostalgia for the ‘good old days’ of monohull racing — particularly in strong winds — and there are still plenty of 12s around. 

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"This is an opportunity to do something for the sport and the former cup community," Ehman said. “There is a crying need in the world of yacht racing for such an event, especially in monohulls, and especially in a lot of breeze. We’re seeing that because of what’s happening or not happening in other parts of the sport and in other parts of the world."

Ehman insists he is not going into competition with the America’s Cup.

"I think the America’s Cup is off on its own, and always has been. The America’s Cup will survive the current situation. But there is obviously strong interest in monohull racing with strong teams, in boats everyone has heard of and loves. There is a nostalgia and romance with the 12 Meters, and to have those boats racing in a lot of breeze on San Francisco Bay, where people can watch, will remind people of how great the America’s Cup was in Fremantle in 1987 in windy conditions."

Ehman hopes to attract team owners who have been priced out, or turned off, by the America’s Cup, of whom there are quite a few. There will be a $500,000 purse. Despite the name, the event will not be affiliated with the Golden Gate YC.

Latitude likes the idea of a less expensive annual alternative to the America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay, but the devil will be in the details. After the AC72s, is there still interest in much slower monohulls? And are there enough disaffected team owners willing to sign up for an unproven event? Only time will tell, but we wish Ehman the best of luck.

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