AC36: America's Cup 'icons' believe monohulls will be a shot in the arm for the event
AUCKLAND – Excerpt from a New Zealand Herald story published today, Tuesday, September 12:
One of the men responsible for introducing multihulls to the America's Cup believes Team New Zealand are doing the right thing in returning the event to monohull sailing. The Kiwi syndicate yesterday announced they are working on a new design class rule for a high performance monohull boat for the 36th America's Cup, supporting the rumours that has been circulating since Team NZ got their hands on the Auld Mug in Bermuda in June. The move has been well-received by America's Cup traditionalists, but there will be some sailors disappointed with the decision to ditch the high-speed foiling catamarans that have been used in the past two events.
Sailing Illustrated editor Tom Ehman, the former vice commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club - Oracle Team USA's representative yacht club, has backed the move from Team NZ.
He told Radio Sport he believes returning the Cup to its roots will attract more challengers to the event. "This is great news for the Cup, there are some people who will be disappointed, but this will be a big shot in the arm for the event," Ehman told Radio Sport. "Monohulls are what 90 per cent of the sport does and knows. Therefore there'll be more spectator interest, there'll be more media interest, in turn there'll be more sponsor interest, which will lead to more teams." As a high ranking official in the GGYC and advisor to Oracle boss Larry Ellison, Ehman was involved with the bold decision to go with catamarans for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco. "I was a proponent of the multihulls when we moved to that in 2013 ... but as we saw in San Francisco [in 2013] there were only four teams [including the defender], as we saw in Bermuda this year there were only six teams, three of which were Ellison teams, so really you only had four independent teams."
"But go back in history and how many teams were there in Newport Rhode Island in 1983 when the Aussies won it? There were 10. In Australia in 1987, there were 17 teams. Every other match - think about Auckland in 2000 and 2003, there were 10 or more teams. That's because other sailors, other clubs, get behind what they know, which is monohulls."
The return of monohulls has also received a tick from America's Cup icon Bruno Troublé. Trouble said this week's revelation that foiling monohulls would replace the cats was "nothing new", the Team New Zealand decision being a fait accompli once Luna Rossa was confirmed as the challenger of record. "They will be fast, amazing, impressive - maybe they will sail at 24 knots instead of 40 but on television it won't make much difference," he said from Monaco.
Tom Ehman (USA, left) and Bruno Troublé (FRA, right) at the opening ceremony for an AC World Series event at Newport, RI in June 2012. Ehman has been involved in every America's Cup since 1980; Troublé since the mid-1970s. Icons, indeed. They must be getting old!