Stars & Stripes up for challenge
Taylor Canfield’s dream of competing for the oldest trophy in international sport became reality yesterday after the racing syndicate he co-founded was accepted as the fifth Challenger of the 36th America’s Cup.
The multiple and reigning Argo Group Gold Cup champion is the co-founder and helmsman of Stars & Stripes Team USA, who are the second US challenge after American Magic and the first all-American team in more than 15 years to compete for the “Auld Mug”.
“It has been my professional goal to compete in the America’s Cup my whole life and I am confident we will be very competitive in Auckland,” said Canfield, who is a also a multiple Congressional Cup winner.
“I think this will be a defining moment for American sailing.”
Canfield triumphantly raised the King Edward VII Gold Cup for the second time in six years after beating past winner Johnie Berntsson, of Sweden, 3-1 in the first to three points final of this year’s $100,000 regatta contested in Hamilton Harbour.
Stars & Stripes Team USA represent California-based Long Beach Yacht Club who are renowned for the Congressional Cup, the premier match racing event in the world outside the America’s Cup.
“We’re proud to have been a part of Taylor’s professional career and believe his match racing pedigree will add to Stars & Stripes Team USA’s competitiveness in Auckland,” said Bill Durant, the Long Beach Yacht Club Commodore.
“We couldn’t be happier to partner with the team in their bid to bring the Cup back to America.”
The racing syndicate’s name is a tribute to former American helmsman Dennis Connor who won the America’s Cup four times between 1974 and 1987 to earn the title as “Mr America’s Cup”.
“Our name is a nod to Dennis Connor’s ‘Stars & Stripes’ campaigns that defined all-American, America’s Cup racing for decades,” said Mike Buckley, the Stars & Stripes Team USA co-founder, who competed alongside Canfield in this year’s Gold Cup.
“We are the next generation.
“Our goal is to win the America’s Cup by building an inclusive and authentic, American team that reignites the passion for sailing in this country.”
The next America’s Cup will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2021 and contested in 75-foot foiling monohulls.
Emirates Team New Zealand, representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, is the Defender and Italy’s Luna Rossa the Challenger of Record.
INEOS Team UK, of Britain, and Malta Altus Challenge, of Malta, are the other Challengers having been accepted.
Bermuda hosted the 35th America’s Cup last year, which saw Challenger Team New Zealand thrash defender Oracle Team USA 7-1 in the Great Sound.