MOST OF OUR DEAR READERS will know by now that Aussie sailors are in the afterguards of three of the six AC35 teams: Jimmy Spithill (helm) and Tom Slingsby (trimmer/tactician) for OTUSA, Glenn Ashby (trimmer/tactician) for ETNZ, and Nathan Outteridge (helm) for Artemis Racing. OTUSA, often called OTAUS (by wags, not the dyslexic) also has an Australian General Manager, the veteran Grant Simmer, who was a member of the winning AUSTRALIA II crew in 1983, and has won several Cups since as a manager with Alinghi and Oracle.
Indeed, last Friday, Nick Vindin wrote a long piece for the Guardian (UK) newspaper headlined, "Australia set to dominate America's Cup – without even having a team."
But there's more to the story, as often is the case, that only SAILING ILLUSTRATED has picked up on.
The top three regatta officials are also Australian: Regatta Director Iain Murray (Sydney), Chief Measurer Ken McAlpine (Perth), and Head of Rules and Umpiring Richard Slater (Sydney).
Longtime friends all, they are real pros and as good as, or better than, anyone else in our sport in their respective positions. Prior to AC35 Richard was OTUSA's rules advisor for the three Cups. That's not lost on the Challengers, and has caused a bit of angst. But Richard's competence and boyish good nature have put the teams at ease, or so we hear. That will all go away if and when there is a controversial rules call that goes in favor of OTUSA. Hopefully that won't happen, but mark my words if it does.
The AC has not been so dominated by Australians since 1983 when AUSTRALIA II won with an all Aussie crew, ending NYYC's 132-year winning streak. At least they had a team that year, and none of the regatta officials were Australian. This year it's a different story.