Team USA Readies to Sail in New Zealand
Stars & Stripes Team USA has been accepted as a challenger for the 2021 America’s Cup, promising to have an all-American squad in a competition where nationality has mattered little in recent decades. However, while the New York Yacht Club’s American Magic is led by skipper Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, Maryland, the helmsman is New Zealander Dean Barker and there are other international sailors on the crew.
Team USA’s Taylor Canfield said he and skipper Mike Buckley first started talking about doing a campaign after Emirates Team New Zealand upset Oracle Team USA in Bermuda in June 2017, ending tech billionaire Larry Ellison’s grip on the Auld Mug.
Buckley, who lives in New York, said the team’s budget will be less than US$100 million. Funding so far has come from a number of private sponsors the team declined to identify.
“I don’t think we’re too far behind in the whole process,” Canfield said.
The team purchased a design package from Team New Zealand to jump-start its programme and has begun building a boat in Michigan.
Bill Koch won the oldest trophy in international sports in 1992 with a crew he believed to be all-American, although one sailor who was living in the United States at the time was Canadian.
“I really enjoyed having what I thought was an all-American crew,” Koch said. “We bragged about it, as well. I think it gives a little more spirit to the nationality of it. If you have all Kiwis on an American team, you’re not so excited about it.”
Original article by Bernie Wilson, AP, The Washington Post, December 12, 2018.