1 Oct 2013

America's Cup challenge lodged by Hamilton Island Yacht Club

1:06 pm on 1 October 2013

Australia is back as an America's Cup challenger. The Golden Gate Yacht Club on Tuesday accepted the Hamilton Island Yacht Club as Challenger of Record for the 35th incarnation of the race.

Winemaker Bob Oatley and son Sandy submitted an official challenge with Team USA, owned by Larry Ellison, as soon as Oracle crossed the line to retain the Cup last week against Team New Zealand, winning the series 9-8 after overcoming an 8-1 deficit.

The boat was skippered by James Spithill of Australia.

"Hamilton Island's challenge was filed on the day Australia was celebrating the 30th anniversary of Australia II's historic win in the 1983 America's Cup off Newport, RI, which ended New York Yacht Club's reign as the Cup's defender," said Golden Gate Yacht club Vice Commodore Tom Ehman.

AAP reports a lunch was held in Sydney last Thursday to mark the 30th anniversary of the America's Cup triumph by Australia II, owned by Alan Bond.

"Given Australia's previous success in the America's Cup, the Admiral's Cup and Olympic yachting, and as proud Australians, we think it is time for our nation to be back in our sport's pinnacle event," Bob Oatley said in a statement.

"The America's Cup in San Francisco has revolutionised the sport for sailors and fans, and we were excited to see how many Australians played key roles on the teams and in the regatta organisation."

AAP reports the Oatley's legacy on Australian racing is well known - their Wild Oats yachts have dominated ocean racing in Australia for years, including winning six of the last eight Sydney-Hobart races.

Australia has not entered a Cup campaign since losing to the United States off Fremantle in 1987 in defence of their 1983 title.