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One and Done? New York Yacht Club Drops from America’s Cup

At some point in the future, there will be a friendly competition between nations to decide the next winner of the America’s Cup. Until then, there’s a lot to be decided, including who’s going to be racing and where. One disappointing development for the Kiwis is the announcement from the New York Yacht Club that they won’t continue as a challenger for the 37th America’s Cup.

Since 1983, the organizing and running of an America’s Cup event has been a tumultuous and contentious process. As you’ve seen at your local yacht club, there’s nothing like a fancy piece of engraved silver to get otherwise friendly sailors to spoil a good weekend of sailing.

Luna Rossa and American Magic
The NYYC American Magic campaign in the 36th America’s Cup.
© 2021 COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

The initial September 17 date to announce the venue has come and gone, leaving challenging teams wondering exactly where and when they will be racing. With uncertainty in the air, NYYC decided to pass. They sent out a press release yesterday, stating, “Yesterday, in a letter to the Trustees of the New York Yacht Club, the Flag Officers of the Club announced the Club was pausing its pursuit of the America’s Cup.”

“There are few private clubs that enjoy a stronger bond with a single competition than the New York Yacht Club does with the America’s Cup, which we founded and held for 132 years,” said NYYC Commodore Christopher J. Culver. “However, we ultimately have a responsibility to act in the best interests of our membership. Given the continued uncertainty regarding the 37th America’s Cup, we have decided to pause our challenge for this edition.

“For more than six months, the New York Yacht Club along with other potential challengers have waited for clarity regarding the venue, timing and rules for the 37th America’s Cup. Time is never on the side of new teams in this great contest, but at some point, we must recognize when there simply isn’t enough of it left to build a competitive challenge.

“We will continue to advocate for what we believe to be essential changes to the structure of the America’s Cup. This evolution will retain the competition’s unmatched history and appeal while enabling it to compete on today’s increasingly competitive modern sports landscape. Our passion for this competition remains as strong as ever.

“Stars+Stripes USA, led by members Mike Buckley and Taylor Canfield, will carry forward with their plans to challenge for the 37th America’s Cup. We wish them the best of luck. They represent the future of American yachting.”

Besides New Zealand, the other venue options appear to be Saudi Arabia, Ireland and Spain. So it will be a while longer before the America’s Cup returns to the best venue on the planet.

There is one thing we keep in mind as we lament the current Cup  process: We’re very happy we’re not Grant Dalton! If we were the leaders of the America’s Cup we’d run a very different Cup. Would our ideas end the debates and controversy? Not a chance. What about you? What would you do?

5 Comments

  1. David James 7 months ago

    If I were the custodian of the oldest trophy in international sports (which is RNZYS not Grant Dalton, by the way) I would host it in my home city. I would contest it in a displacement monohull under a design rule something like 72′ mini-maxis or STP 65’s. This would be less expensive and would bring back the match racing starts, sail handling, downwind blanketing and other elements that are recognizable to 99% of sailors.

  2. vivaceskipper 7 months ago

    Couldn’t agree more with the comment by David James….sailing in one-design, traditional non-foiling
    boats is the heart and soul of the America’s Cup.
    The advent of the Sailing Grand Prix which has become popular and is admittedly exciting to watch can satisfy our desire for Nascar Yachting. …To those who believe foiling is the new wave and so-called future of sailboat racing…I would remind them that 99% of all the sailors in the world sail traditional mono-hulls and want to see a world-wide competition like the America’s Cup sailed in boats which look like theirs and helmed and crewed by athletes that look like them (not astronauts) and with tactics that spectators can identify with.
    The two forms of racing, traditional and foiling, can exist side by side, with each benefiting from keeping their style of sailing competition robust and inclusive.

  3. Memo Gidley 7 months ago

    Hmmm…hard to say what is best for boat technology and the Americas cup. I come from 4 wheel racing also…and the top level F1, Indy Car and LeMans style prototype are not like the cars that average or basically every person drives on the street! They are MUCH, MUCH faster, look, feel and sound so much differently! It seems most people watch because of this difference in speed and technology.

  4. Tim Dick 7 months ago

    I don’t believe that the AC can return to nostalgic displacement monohulls, which have plenty of top-tier active formulas from the Wally Class to TP52 and IRC. Relevant fact: catamarans outsell monohulls these days. The AC has always been the epitome of technology – which is not to say that the formula should change wholesale every Cup cycle. If it were up to me, I’d refine the last rule so teams could capitalize on their previous investments. I believe this would attract the largest AC fleet for years.

    • John Arndt 7 months ago

      Tim – it’s hard to know what’s going to help the America’s Cup recapture its glory days. Some like the current format, some don’t. However, a fact check shows monohulls continue to outsell multihulls. The 2020 industry report shows about 386 sailboats over 20′ were imported and 169 were multihulls. In the US we manufactured 2730 sailboats of which 657 were multihulls. In the brokerage market, monohull sales outpace multihulls at least ten to one. You can see that in the Latitude 38 Classified pages, in the broker ads in our magazine or on any online yacht sales site. It is true that multihulls have dramatically increased their market share – especially when it comes to dollar volume. In the end, it may not matter what people sail vs. what is the best design to sail in the America’s Cup. The America’s Cup is for billionaires at the technical fringe of the sailing. We know everyone has a strong opinion on what boat should be raced in the America’s Cup but, if you sail a Flying Scot, a 110, a Hobie Cat, a foiling moth or a Lagoon 400 does it really matter to you?

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