AC36: Local headline, "Long Beach America's Cup Bid Takes Step Forward"
LONG BEACH (#1225) — Long Beach Yacht Club's Jr. Staff Commodore (immediate past commodore) Bill Durant is an excellent sailor and, we can say from personal experience, an all around good guy. The accompanying photo of Commodore Durant was taken in July by boating reporter Jo Murray after his LBYC team, racing the classic S&S yacht CHUBASCO, won their division in the 50th edition of the 2019 Transpac (Los Angeles to Honolulu).
According to an article yesterday in The Grunion, the Long Beach community newspaper, Comm. Durant is taking the lead on local fund raising for LBYC's Stars+Stripes Team USA, "with major sponsors in place." Really?
Excerpt from Jo Murray's Grunion article:
With the major sponsors in place, Durant said, “We have just entered the next phase of our campaign, where we are ready to accept donations from individuals and small to mid-size local businesses.”
In a letter to Long Beach YC members last week, the following question was asked and answered: “Does our team have a chance against the ‘Big Money' teams? “
“Yes, we do and everyone loves an underdog.” The letter continued, “America was built by entrepreneurs who didn’t take ‘no' for an answer and followed their dreams until they became reality.”
The donations are being managed by the Long Beach Sailing Foundation, the nonprofit that serves as trustees for the Catalina 37s, used in Congressional Cup. Club members consider Congressional Cup a “must do” regatta for America’s Cup sailors, so this is a natural association.
Durant’s team looks forward to speaking service clubs, and yachtsmen’s luncheons, where Mike Buckley, the team’s CEO, is passionate about including youth groups, like the Boys and Girls Club, out sailing on numerous occasions.
It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall of the LBSF Board meeting that approved this. For the record, the members of the Board are listed here.
The only "major sponsor" that has been announced is a potential reality TV show involving team co-founders Mike Buckley and Taylor Canfield. The press release mentioned no financial support; strangely, it didn't even mention Long Beach Yacht Club. The announcement by the team, in a text to AP sportswriter Bernie Wilson, that management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. was joining S+S as "lead technology partner" has not been publicly announced by that firm.
The other four AC36 "super teams" are well-funded, and all have now splashed their first of two AC 75s. S+S's solo AC 75 is only partially built and remains at a standstill in a facility in Holland, Michigan.
As usual we discussed the plight of the LBYC's S+S challenger on Friday's TFE LIVE, our twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays) webcast. Watch a replay of yesterday's show here.
As much as we would love to see the Long Beach Yacht Club's challenge succeed, with the first mandatory regatta for all Cup teams set for Cagliari, Sardinia (ITA) in only six months (April 23-26), and the start of Challenger selection series only 14 months away (January of 2021), to call S+S "an underdog" is the biggest understatement in your Ed.'s four decades in the Cup.
Read Jo Murray's full Grunion article here.
CHUBASCO, the 67' S&S yawl commissioned in 1939 and still racing successfully today under co-owners John Carpenter and LBYC Jr. Staff Commodore Bill Durant.
For our readers not familiar with the SoCal fish after which the Long Beach newspaper is named, courtesy of the cheeky Venice Oceanarium.