The foam has barely settled from the chop that Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA churned up on San Francisco Bay during the 34th America’s Cup, and already there is a challenger to Oracle Team USA for the 35th running of sailing’s most storied race.
Australia’s Hamilton Island Yacht Club is the Challenger of Record for the AC35, whose details are expected to be announced in early 2014. As the winner of AC34, Oracle Team USA gets to choose the venue for the next race as well as consult with the Australians about the boats, rules and format.
The Hamilton Island Yacht Club is led by winemaker Bob Oatley, whose boats (always called Wild Oats) have won six of the past eight Sydney-Hobart races. He will go up against the U.S. team once again owned by Larry Ellison of Oracle software fame.
Notably, the challenge was sent to Oracle’s host club, the Golden Gate Yacht Club, on the 30th anniversary of Australia II’s win in the America’s Cup against U.S. skipper Dennis Conner in Newport, Rhode Island. That was a historic loss for the United States, ending the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year reign as the Cup’s defender.
Can you say early smack talk? Let the next battle begin!