by Jane Eagleson
On Sunday afternoon, on the waters off Valencia, Spain, BMW ORACLE Racing became the first American challenger in 23 years to win the America’s Cup.
For team founder and afterguard member Larry Ellison (USA), the win is the culmination of a 10-year quest to win the oldest international trophy in sport, and sailing’s biggest prize.
“I’m enormously proud of this team,” Ellison said following the prizegiving ceremony Sunday evening. “It’s been a fabulous experience and I’m exceptionally proud to bring the America’s Cup back to the United States of America after a very long absence.”
Ellison’s BMW ORACLE Racing team represents San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club.
For skipper James Spithill (AUS), the victory comes in his fourth attempt at the Cup. After becoming the youngest ever helmsman of a Cup team in 1999, on Sunday, at the age of 30, he became the youngest skipper to win the America’s Cup.
“It still hasn’t really sunk in,” Spithill said on Monday afternoon. “The only downer is we don’t get to sail the boat (anymore). We all really look forward to sailing every day. It’s a very special boat and so rewarding to sail.”
The last time an Australian skipper won the Cup was in 1983, when John Bertrand used the power of a winged keel on Australia II to upset the Liberty team and break the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year stranglehold on the trophy.
This year, sailing the most innovative trimaran ever built, Spithill flew around the race course powered by the biggest wing sail the world has ever seen.
On Monday afternoon team CEO Russell Coutts confirmed that Club Nautico di Roma, and its sailing team Mascalzone Latino, is the Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup and reaffirmed that details of the next edition would come following a period of consultation with the America’s Cup community.
“There will be independent management of all competitive aspects of the regatta,” Coutts confirmed. “I think that’s important for all of the competitors to know the rules will be fair and equal for all.”
The team will fly with the America’s Cup to San Francisco on Friday. More details on the USA homecoming to be confirmed soon.
BMW ORACLE Racing