SAN DIEGO » Australia’s Hamilton Island Yacht Club has withdrawn as the Challenger of Record in the America’s Cup, perhaps the first public sign of dissatisfaction with the direction sailing’s marquee regatta is heading.
The move came six days after competitors met in Los Angeles to air their concerns. Among them are costs, not knowing the venue before the first installment of the $2 million entry fee is due and unhappiness that San Francisco was eliminated as host city.
Most challengers are reportedly unhappy that Bermuda is under consideration to host the challenger semifinals and finals, and the America’s Cup match in 2017. They feel it will be a logistical nightmare to take the competition to the British territory in the Atlantic Ocean. Bermuda is competing with San Diego to host the racing.
Hamilton Island was the first foreign yacht club to challenge Oracle Team USA after the American team successfully defended the America’s Cup in September. Its sailing team, Team Australia, is now out of the Cup.
Team Australia head Iain Murray, who served as regatta director of the last America’s Cup, didn’t return a call and email seeking comment.
It wasn’t immediately clear which syndicate will replace Hamilton Island as Challenger of Record, which represents all foreign syndicates in dealing with Oracle Team USA.