Honolulu, Hawai`i (June 14, 1996) -- Waikiki Yacht Club today became the fourth US yacht club to announce its challenge to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron for America's Cup XXX with its announcement of a new Hawaii-based syndicate.
Jim Bailey, Syndicate Chairman (President of Excel Yachts and prior Project Director/ Vice President of Operations for the Whitbread Round The World Race US entry, America's Challenge), announced the new syndicate with a dose of realism: "The decision to issue this challenge was not made lightly. We have spent the past three years developing our basic operating plan, and selecting the key personnel who will make it all happen. Our excitement and enthusiasm for this project is accompanied by an awareness of the challenges facing us on our four-year road to Auckland in 2000."
Rising to the challenge of funding the estimated $30 million campaign, Bailey announced that both the syndicate executive committee and funding development team have already been put in place. Although no signed sponsors were announced, strong initial interest in the Hawaii-based challenge prompted an earlier-than-planned announcement of the new syndicate.
While Bailey confirmed that a skipper had been selected, he noted that it would be premature to make the announcement at this point, but promised a public announcement shortly.
No stranger to the challenge of America's Cup training, the Waikiki Yacht Club and the state of Hawaii hosted Dennis Connor's Stars & Stripes America's Cup team as its training base for the 1987 America's Cup. "Our experience with the Stars & Stripes syndicate was a very positive one, " noted Waikiki Yacht Club Commodore Dan Doyle. " Not only did we prove Hawai`i to be a worthy training ground, we also witnessed first-hand, the enormous potential of Hawaii's involvement with a Hawai`i-based America's Cup challenge."
Dr. Seiji F. Naya, Director of the State's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, emphasized the department's strong interest, adding that sports events will be highlighted as visitor attractions in future tourist marketing programs.
When asked about the syndicate's prior America's Cup experience, Bailey remarked, "We know we're the new kids on the block, but if every challenger had to have won the America's Cup, it'd be a pretty small fleet racing in Auckland. We may be rookies, but we're shooting for rookies of the year-- 2000 that is!"
The Waikiki Yacht Club syndicate joins three announced US syndicates, (St. Francis Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club and a US Virgin Islands syndicate), eight foreign syndicates (Japan, France, England, Spain, Russia and Hong Kong), and two as yet unnamed syndicates.
America's Cup XXX will see all challenging syndicates squaring off in Auckland, New Zealand in late Fall 1999, for a three-month contest to determine the one syndicate that will challenge New Zealand for the America's Cup.
For more information, please contact:
Waikiki Yacht Club email@example.com
1599 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96815
Telephone: 808-955-4405 Fax: 808-941-5026
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