Viva La Tom: Super Twelves in SF!

Bay & Delta Yachtsman “Front Rudder” Column, July 2015, by Mark Wharton Reid — When is a great idea more than just a good idea? We live in one of the great sailing, boating and recreation areas in the world! Sailors from all over the planet want to sail and compete here. They covet competition in this place. So when one door closes, another one opens, right?

When the America’s Cup left town, in a somewhat exasperating move to nowhere in the middle of the Atlantic, a void needed to be filled for the old and young alike, amateurs and professionals, men and women who want to compete on a high level in a challenging environment.

In a bold move, Vice Commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) Tom Ehman appears to have broken from the club’s chartered path in defending the America’s Cup (in Bermuda) and plotted a new course in founding the San Francisco Yacht Racing Challenge (SFYRC).

Members of the yacht club’s hierarchy like Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts have been strangely silent on the whole affair since it was announced last month. Clearly, Ehman, who was front and center in the GGYC’s efforts to challenge for the Cup in court and later on the water when Oracle Team USA (OTUSA) won, then defended the trophy, has now separated himself from the whole Bermuda mess and is planning an inaugural event here on San Francisco Bay set immediately after the America’s Cup races in July 2017.

For me the America’s Cup has always been the tapestry that has been interwoven into the fabric of my life and now I understand the frustration of many who have made the event their life as it clearly has fallen to the “dark” side and is floundering in the doldrums, lost to much of the world in Bermuda.

Ehman said, “This is an opportunity to do something for the sport and the former Cup community. I think this is the best venue in the world for showcasing yacht racing and that was shown in the last Cup. There’s a crying need in the world of yacht racing for such an event, especially in monohulls and especially in a lot of breeze.”

Ehman was also the executive director with America 2 and then with the America’s Cup management group in San Diego when the event was there.

The new San Francisco Yacht Racing Cup, to be sailed in Super 12s, has apparently attracted worldwide interest from 20 teams from 12 countries. The new regatta will be the richest in the sport, carrying a total prize money of $500,000, with $300,000 going to the winner, $150,000 to second and $50,000 for third place.

See the entire article here: Front Rudder – July 2015.

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