Clock Ticking on Super 12 Cup

Published on May 19th, 2016

Since the internet was launched, the promotion of new projects takes only a few key strokes. The distribution of information is quick and the investment is minimal. Ideas are easily hatched, and with strategic promotion, can gain credibility. Maybe even see fruition.

Tom Ehman is hoping his project sees fruition.

Since the America’s Cup moved to multihulls, and then moved from San Francisco, Ehman has been selling the idea of the San Francisco Yacht Racing Challenge (aka Super 12 Cup), an annual event to be held in a new 65-foot one design class by Farr Yacht Design.

But with the first event scheduled for July 21-30, 2017 on San Francisco Bay, the clock is ticking for entries to step up. As Ehman admits, “It’s never as easy or as fast as you hope, but 2017 is just the first year of an annual event.” Here’s an update:

• Notice of Race: Originally expected by early 2016 but is still being refined.
• Construction: Originally planned to begin in May with the first boat to be launched in September. Now, hull mold soon to be built with first boat to be launched by end of 2016.
• Cost: Originally quoted as $1.9 million but now total cost estimated to be $2.5 million.
• Fleet size: Original plan was for five or six boats by 2017 but now more likely to be four boats for first event.
• Entries: One team representing St. Francis Yacht Club has informed Ehman of their intent to challenge. Ehman says 20 prospective teams from 13 countries are interested.

Here are additional notes Ehman has provided:
• $500,000 purse prize.
• Total cost with sails, all other race-ready equip., cradle, launched (at Newport Shipyard in Newport Beach, CA) and sail-tested will be about $2.5m.
• Live TV streamed, free, to the internet. Executive Producer is Geoff Mason, Hall of Fame broadcaster, winner of 23 Emmys (including ESPN coverage of the 1987 Cup in AUS), and lifelong sailor (crewed in the AC Defender Trials in ’67). Geoff and his team have some exciting new technologies (not just the ‘by now usual’ race graphics).
• 100% nationality rule. Team’s must “challenge” through a proper yacht club (in existence at least 10 years and member of their MNA, etc.), and the location of that Club determines the nationality of the team. For multiple passport holders or citizens of one country and domiciled in another, they can choose their nationality but after that cannot change — same as the Olympics.
• Open to all sailors. No pro/am restrictions. Twelve crew, with a minimum two women, two men, two age 22 or under, and one age 62 or over.
• Sail inventory limited to 1 AP main, 3 jibs, 3 symmetrical spinnakers. Sailmakers open, to help support the industry, but with strict measurement controls.
• Instrumentation is limited to a mast head Windex, boat speed and wind speed. No computers, no targets, no AWS, AWD, etc.
• Boats have a 55hp Yanmar, small nav station, marine head, and kelp-cutter on keel and rudder.
• Boats built in the USA (Westerly Marine) with Harken gear and Hall Spars. To have attachable running lights and stanchion pockets built-in with Offshore Regs into account so boat can be raced in coastal races if desired. And no Jones Act chartering problems.

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