Aloha Racing Sets Its Sails
for America's Cup Selection Series

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (2/14/98)
By Ray Pendleton

In the 1976 Summer Olympics, among the many medal winners were three sailors you may remember. One was Hawaii's own Michael Rothwell, who now is Waikiki Yacht Club's present commodore.

Two other medalists - Dennis Conner and John Kolius - went on to become world-renown America's Cup skippers and are currently mounting individual efforts to recapture the Cup from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in the race scheduled for February, 2000.

Last week, Commodore Rothwell introduced John Kolius to the media at a press conference held at the Waikiki Yacht Club. Together they announced the exciting news that the club's America's Cup challenge syndicate - the Aloha Racing Team, with Kolius at the helm - has posted its $250,000 performance bond to the America's Cup Challenge Association (ACCA) and is now one of 16 officially recognized challengers, worldwide.

By putting up the quarter-million-dollar bond, Aloha Racing is essentially guaranteeing its participation in the Challenge Selection Series races, which will be held in New Zealand in October, 1999. If it doesn't show, it forfeits the bond.

ACCA president Dyer Jones spoke earlier of his delight in the strong response from the challengers.

"We always knew we could count on nine to 12 challengers to post the bond, but this is amazing. Seventeen of the original 18 yacht clubs are still in the game. This is going to make for a very exciting Challenger Selection Series."

Ten countries will be represented: Australia, China, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Along with the Aloha Racing Team, which will represent the Waikiki Yacht Club and the state of Hawai`i, the following U.S. teams have posted a performance bond: Team Dennis Conner of the Cortez Racing Association in San Diego, California; Young America Challenge from the New York Yacht Club; AmericaOne Challenge from the St. Francis Yacht Club of San Francisco; Team Caribbean from the St. Thomas Yacht Club in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and the America True Challenge from the San Francisco Yacht Club in California.

Currently, Kolius reports, the Aloha Racing Team is well underway with its design and tank-testing program, as well as its crew training aboard syndicate chairman Dr. Jim Andrews' OneDesign 48, Abracadabra.

"I am very pleased with the progress our design team has made," Kolius said. "Ian Burns' and Andy Dovell's experience on the design teams of seven America's Cup campaigns are a strong asset to our challenge."

"I am really excited about the direction we are headed."

In the recent Key West, Fla., Race Week, the Aloha Racing Team crewing Abracadabra won first place and the coveted Boat of the Week Trophy in competition against a fleet with two other America's Cup Challenge teams.

"It is especially gratifying to see how well we performed," Aloha Racing Team board member Dan Doyle said. "Momentum is building in Honolulu and the aloha spirit is being carried by the Aloha Racing Team as it moves forward."

And his point should be made abundantly clear. Aloha Racing's bid for the America's Cup, and the attending international media coverage, will provide a huge promotional opportunity for the state and for all who become a part of the team.

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