America’s Cup: Not their kind of party

Published on October 24th, 2021

When New York Yacht Club entered the 36th America’s Cup, they did so after a decade and a half away from the event, motivated to influence the direction of the competition. But you can’t change it if you don’t win it, and when they didn’t win it, they sought to change it anyway.

Not surprisingly, the New Zealand defender did not welcome this advance, and now that New York Yacht Club has opted out of participation, Kiwi journalist Duncan Johnstone offered his opinion of the turn of events. Here’s an excerpt:


New York’s high-handed attitude is bemusing, coming from a club that set the tone of the winner-takes-all attitude engrained in 132 years of holding the Cup before Australia broke that stranglehold in 1983.

The prestige the famous club brings to the regatta will be missed, but not the baggage that comes with them. The cheek of releasing an alternative draft protocol in May – when they have no say in the runnings of the regatta as a well and truly beaten challenger in late January – defied belief.

Just as mystifying was the decision to jettison their American Magic team in July, replacing it with the unproven Stars + Stripes syndicate. Now that budding team also find themselves looking for a new club to back their challenge.

The most pleasing news out of the United States this past week was the commitment from American Magic and Stars + Stripes to stay in the game. Right now, the America’s Cup needs them more than it needs the New York Yacht Club.

Time is always the greatest commodity in the Cup, and it is ticking by.

November 17 is looming on the countdown clock, and Team New Zealand will be hoping it can arrive without more dramas – maybe a tough prospect as whispers continue to swirl of potential legal action to see the Cup sailed in Auckland.


The America’s Cup held by Larry Ellison saw tradition under strain, and there was widely held hope that New Zealand would provide some stability to help sustain the oldest trophy in international sport. That hasn’t happened.

The Kiwis have arguably done the opposite, increasing complication and cost such that few can participate, with even the defender struggling to defend. Every challenger does so at the mercy of the defender and this was a party NYYC no longer wanted to attend.

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