All American Challenge Planned for America’s Cup in New Zealand in 2021

SAN DIEGO (LOG News Service) — A group of professional sailors, industry leaders and financial backers is working to put together an all American challenge for the 2021 America’s Cup in New Zealand.

The unnamed group would become the second American challenger for the 2021 America’s Cup in New Zealand. The New York Yacht Club, which once held the Auld Mug for 132 years, announced in October that it would challenge for the first time since 2002-03.

New York Yacht Club member Mike Buckley said he started the initiative for a team of American sailors, engineers and innovators one year ago.

“Our initiative is about creating a winning culture in American sailing,” Buckley said in a phone interview on April 27. “We believe that it’s kind of been a long time coming since there’s been a team of Americans that has challenged for the America’s Cup. My main goal is to change that. It wasn’t to change it for myself. It was to change it for American sailing.”

While the New York YC’s team is American-backed and has an American skipper, Terry Hutchinson, it’s not 100 percent American. Its helmsman is New Zealander Dean Barker and there are other Kiwis on the crew. That’s been the trend during the last several America’s Cup, when nationality rules were blurred and then tossed aside. A partial nationality rule has been restored for the 2021 event, but Buckley wants to take it further.

“We believe we’re selling a different product,” Buckley, who lives in New York, said. “Our focus is on a group of Americans trying to win the America’s Cup.”

Buckley declined to divulge his team’s budget but said it has “a significant amount committed.” He said the group needs one or two more partners.

“We certainly have enough to get started,” said Buckley, 35, once an All-American sailor at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.

There haven’t been multiple American challengers since the 2002-03 America’s Cup. While Oracle Team USA won the America’s Cup in 2010 and 2013, and unsuccessfully defended last year, there were few Americans on the boats.

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