2017-10-12 / Front Page

Effort Underway to Bring America's Cup

By Sam Crichton

Oracle Team USA racing in the 34th America's Cup. A new mono-hull design is being proposed for the next challenge. (Photo credit Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images) Oracle Team USA racing in the 34th America's Cup. A new mono-hull design is being proposed for the next challenge. (Photo credit Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images) The New York Yacht Club announced a joint America’s Cup team effort on Thursday, Oct. 5 with the goal of returning the Auld Mug to Newport in 2021.

It has been 15 years since NYYC has been involved in a cup competition, but with representation by Bella Mente Quantum Racing Association, it is preparing a challenge for the 36th America’s Cup. The syndicate will be led by two of the most successful American yachtsmen of the last decade: John J. “Hap” Fauth and Doug DeVos.

Since 2005, Fauth has reached the top of the podium in numerous distance and buoy races in North America, Europe and the Caribbean at the helm of three successive yachts named Bella Mente. He is a three-time world champion in the Maxi72 class. DeVos and the Quantum Racing program have set the standard for excellence on the 52 Super Series circuit, and its predecessor, the MedCup, with five wins in the last nine years.

Terry Hutchinson and Hap Fauth (Photo credit Rolex /Daniel Forster Terry Hutchinson and Hap Fauth (Photo credit Rolex /Daniel Forster A common link between the teams is Bella Mente Quantum Racing Association skipper and CEO Terry Hutchinson, a two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and a veteran America’s Cup competitor. Hutchinson, like Fauth, is a long-time New York Yacht Club member.

“The America’s Cup has always remained close to the heart of the New York Yacht Club, even in the years where we didn’t participate as a challenger or defender,” said NYCC Commodore Philip A. Lotz. “For this cycle, a lot of elements have come together in the correct way for the club to enter another challenge.

“First and foremost is the desire of two great American sailors and businessmen, Hap Fauth and Doug DeVos, to take aim at sailing’s ultimate competition. We know they will mount a competitive effort that is respectful of the club’s long history with the cup and the competition itself. Second, we have confidence the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, represented by Emirates Team New Zealand, will host a world-class regatta that honors the spirit, tradition and majesty of this great event.”

Doug DeVos. (Photo credit Nico Martinez-52SuperSeries) Doug DeVos. (Photo credit Nico Martinez-52SuperSeries) Lotz said that the return to a more traditional style of yacht and the windward-leeward courses represents a unique opportunity to re-engage “the grass roots of the sport and re-energize American sailing.”

“A lot of what we’ve built with the Bella Mente program, and what Doug and his team have created with Quantum Racing, will go into the foundation of this campaign,” he said. “But there’s still a tremendous amount of work to do over the next three-plus years. I’m excited to get started.”

Sam Crichton, a transplant from Australia, has worked in the sailing industry for more than 16 years both locally and internationally. Sam Crichton, a transplant from Australia, has worked in the sailing industry for more than 16 years both locally and internationally. For DeVos, sailing is a family tradition that started with his father, Richard. Doug and his siblings grew up sailing the Great Lakes on their father’s boats. These days, Doug can often be found sailing with his son and daughters, passing along the passion and skill he absorbed from his father. He’s also an industry stakeholder as an owner of Quantum Sails, one of the world’s leading sail manufacturers.

The Quantum Racing program has acted as a test bed for sail design and construction technology, with DeVos and his son, Dalton, serving among the team’s stable of helmsmen. The America’s Cup challenge is a natural evolution for the program. It’s also a return to the competition for the DeVos family. Richard DeVos was the chairman of the New York Yacht Club’s America II syndicate, which fell just short of the semifinals in the 1987 challenger eliminations in Perth, Australia.

“Building Quantum Racing from scratch into a program synonymous with hard work, team spirit and success has been tremendously satisfying, and I’m eager to take everything we’ve learned there and apply it toward sailing’s ultimate test,” Doug DeVos said. “Between Hap, Terry and myself, we have the nucleus of a successful campaign, both on the water and off. We’re honored to represent the New York Yacht Club in this historic competition.”

Even though entries won’t officially open until Jan. 1, and the class rule for the AC75 won’t be finalized until early spring, there are many pivotal decisions ahead. The return to monohulls will enable the team to pool the technological resources of two elite sailing programs and get a jump on the competition.

“The decisions we make over the next six months will play a significant role in determining the ultimate success of our campaign,” said Hutchinson, who sailed as tactician for Emirates Team New Zealand in the 2007 America’s Cup match, the last to be contested in monohulls. “The early support of Hap, Doug and the New York Yacht Club puts us in a very strong position. But we can’t take anything for granted. The race for the 36th America’s Cup has already begun.”

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