A team representing the hometown St. Francis Yacht Club has become the first challenger for the San Francisco Yacht Racing Challenge, which is scheduled to begin annually in 2017.
Syndicate head Tom Quigg, a past commodore of the St. Francis Yacht Club, said Monday that he has informed SFYRC founder Tom Ehman of the intent to challenge.
The San Francisco Yacht Racing Challenge will be sailed in a new class called the Super 12, a modernized, one-design version of the venerable 12 Meters that were sailed in the America's Cup from 1958-1987.
''Clearly we see this as an opportunity to do something special for sailing in general and sailing in the Bay Area specifically,'' Quigg said. ''We see the opportunity for all sorts of ramifications, as Tom has said, for other generations that didn't have the pleasure of seeing the beauty and elegance of the older monohulls. Clearly it's the desire of the steering committee, with the support of the yacht club, that we want to be a leader in this effort, especially since it's going to be in our backyard.''
Quigg was chairman of the board at St. Francis Yacht Club when it challenged for the 2000 America's Cup with AmericaOne.
Ehman is a former longtime America's Cup executive.
''It's a welcome big step forward with St. Francis now committed,'' Ehman said. ''It opens the door for other teams to join in.''
Quigg said there's still a lot of work to do, both by his group and Ehman's.
Ehman said 22 prospective challengers from 13 countries have expressed interest.
''Something new and innovate sometimes takes a bit of time for others to get their arms around it,'' Ehman said. ''But as other sailing events falter, sailors and sponsors see that racing Super 12s in San Francisco makes a lot of sense. It's a reliably windy and iconically beautiful venue, perfect for powerful, elegant one-design monohulls and for spectators.''
The Super 12s are being designed by Farr Yacht Design in Annapolis, Maryland. They will be built by Westerly Marine in Santa Ana.
''I think it's a great concept,'' Quigg said. ''Not taking anything away from the world of multihulls, but the grace and beauty of the old boats is missed. To do it here with our amazing sailing conditions is going to be impressive.''
The 2013 America's Cup was sailed in 72-foot catamarans on San Francisco Bay, with Oracle Team USA rallying to beat Emirates Team New Zealand. Oracle, backed by the Golden Gate Yacht Club, has chosen Bermuda as the site of the 2017 America's Cup.