Hamo sets sail on voyage to claim America’s Cup
HAMILTON Island Yacht Club (HIYC) has officially set sail on its four-year Australian challenge for the 35th America’s Cup.
Last week, Olympic Gold Medallist and ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year, Mathew Belcher, was announced as skipper of Team Australia’s AC45 catamaran, which was christened on Sydney Harbour.
Val Oatley, Bob Oatley’s wife, unveiled the AC45 wingsail catamaran, at a christening at Team Australia’s Sydney base.
Sandy Oatley, Chairman of Challenger for the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, said this was another milestone in the America’s Cup journey, which will finalise in 2017.
“We’re incredibly proud to put forward this Australian challenge and hope all Australians come together and rally behind us,” he said.
“There is a great sense of pride in Australia striving to win the America’s Cup - importantly, it’s over thirty year’s since we won it [so] our time is now - it’s time to get back in the ring and bring back the cup.”
Olympic and five-time world 470 champion Mathew Belcher said he was humbled and excited by the honour of leading the crew.
“It’s an incredible opportunity and I’m looking forward to the journey, coming aboard and working together with the crew to bring the cup back to Australia,” he said.
Belcher will lead Team Australia’s first training sessions on iconic Sydney Harbour from March to June 2014 alongside Oracle Team USA.
Team Australia will use the training sessions to rotate a number of crew through the boat, introducing them to the AC45 catamaran, as they race against Oracle Team USA.
Iain Murray, Team Australia’s CEO, said Hamilton Island Yacht Club, as the Challenger of Record, was committed to making the 35th America’s Cup more accessi- ble to other challengers by driving costs down as well as ensuring the immense talents of Australian sailors were showcased.
“As a country, we’ve proven we can produce some of the best sailors in the world and now it’s our turn to build an all-Aussie winning team skippered by one of most awarded Australian sailors,” he said.
Team Australia’s crew consists of Mat Belcher, Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton, Ed Smyth, Troy Tindill, David Gilmour, Will McCarthy and Wade Morgan.
TEAMWORK: The Hamilton Island led Team Australia's CEO Iain Murray, newly announced skipper Mathew Belcher and challenger chairman Sandy Oatley at the christening of Team Australia’s AC45 catamaran in Sydney last week. Photo by Andrea Francolini / Team Australia