Getting Back into the America’s Cup

Published on October 8th, 2017

No club in the USA can match the connection with the America’s Cup as can New York Yacht Club, and after nearly two decades being absent from the event, the club is now throwing its hat back in the ring. Commodore Phil Lotz comments on this new initiative.

Phil Lotz

How is it for NYYC to be getting back into the America’s Cup?

Simply stated, we’re pretty excited about the challenge. We’re excited to partner with the team, Bella Mente Quantum Racing Association, and in particular its principles of Hap Fauth and Doug DeVos, as well as its skipper Terry Hutchinson. If Oracle had won, we obviously would still not be participating in America’s Cup. So this was an opportunity that obviously presented itself to the New York Yacht Club, and we are glad it did.

The terms of the Deed of Gift state that teams are represented by clubs, but the clubs are now significantly less involved since NYYC’s era with the event. How do you see the club’s participation in this campaign going forward?

Yes, things have changed a bit, however, we’ve got a lot going on ourselves. There’s a tremendous amount of development and sailing that New York Yacht Club has done since our previous involvements in America’s Cup. So we see this as a good fit.

This proposal came to us, and while we do expect some of the membership to be involved in the syndicate, it’s not going to be a club-wide supported activity; we’re not going to solicit the club for support. Our intention is to continue what we’re doing in all of our other sailing activities as well as enjoy being part of a very well thought-out and promising challenge.

Since the 2007 America’s Cup, what with court battles and format changes, not everyone has agreed with the direction of the event. As a past trustee, has there been a time when the club wanted to ‘rescue’ the trophy?

No, there hasn’t been any of that. At this point we’re looking forward. Things have come together to allow us to be a participant again. With New Zealand winning and having Hap and Doug come to us and present a challenge, we are pleased with the situation.

Clearly, we’re somewhat excited about the protocol and what’s been announced so far. We’re very sympathetic to what they’ve already announced and the way they look to be running it. In short, we’re involved because we think New Zealand, as well as our Challenger team, has the event heading in the right direction.

To be blunt, how nice is it for the Larry Ellison roadblock to be out of the way for the rest of the country?

We’re fully focused on what we’re about to do here. We’re pretty excited about the opportunity. There’s a lot of good things we’re hoping to achieve in this challenge. We’re hoping that whatever we accomplish here will be good for sailing and the sport sailing in the US.

Not to say that what has occurred in the past hasn’t been good for US sailing. But we’re trying to build on whatever we can do, not only to be competitive, and do the best we can, and hopefully win this thing, but also do what we can to invigorate and support sailing in the US.

When the club announced this challenge, Hap made mention to how the event would now embody “a more traditional style of yacht and the windward-leeward courses with which the vast majority of racing sailors are intimately familiar…” Does this infer the America’s Cup got off track with the previous few additions?

A lot of great things have happened in the last couple rounds. Technical stuff and some pretty interesting developments. If you like sailing, you had to be interested in everything that happened in the America’s Cup in the last go-around.

However, as an organization, I think we look to what New Zealand’s proposed in terms of monohulls and format, and from our point of view, it’s a little closer to what we as a club are more familiar and comfortable with. We see it as an event we would like to be involved with. As a club, the event plan is more relevant to our experience and the boats we sail.

As a result, we’re more sympathetic to the format proposed and therefore we’re very happy to be involved.

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