Honolulu Star Bulletin (06/12/99)
By Ray Pendleton
Quick! What time is it?
If it's not 3:30 p.m. yet, you still have time to get down to the Aloha Tower Marketplace and see Hawaii's America's Cup challenger, Abracadabra 2000.
As all loyal Water Ways readers should know by now, Abracadabra 2000 is the 70-plus-foot boat that has been under construction - and under tight security - in a warehouse out at Barber's Point Deep Draft Harbor.
Now rigged and ready to sail, she is the Waikiki Yacht Club-Aloha Racing Team's entry in the up-coming America's Cup Races in Auckland, New Zealand, and she has been seen by virtually no one, other than her builders, since she came out of the mold many weeks ago.
One of the few non-builders that has seen her, though, is perhaps the world's most famous contemporary sea life artist, Wyland.
It will be Wyland's artistry that will be gracing the hull of this highest of high-tech America's Cup racing machines, as she is officially blessed and christened in Honolulu Harbor, along side of Gordon Biersch and Don Ho's restaurants.
The boat blessing festivities began at 11:30 a.m. with Hawaiian-style music and entertainment, while the actual blessing took place at 1 p.m.
Following the blessing and christening, there will be ample opportunity to meet Abracadabra 2000's construction and racing crews, along with her designers and her skipper, John Kolius.
Now, of course, while this will be your first chance to see the very first America's Cup boat ever built in Hawai`, it certainly won't be your last.
Until Abracadabra 2000 (together with a sister vessel that is still under construction) is shipped to New Zealand, her crew will be training in the steady tradewinds offshore of the Ko Olina Resort near Barber's Point.
And then, once she begins the America's Cup challenger selection series in Auckland in October, with worldwide coverage by ESPN, Abracadabra 2000's eye-catching, Wyland-painted topsides will be highly visible in your home on prime-time television.
The challenger selection series (presently with 12 likely challengers) will proceed through December with three round-robin contests and culminate in a semifinal match race series in January, 2000, and a final match race series in February.
The actual, best-of-nine-races, America's Cup Race in February and March, 2000, will match the winner of the challenger series against the next generation of New Zealand's earlier Cup-winning boat Black Magic.
The bottom line: if Abracadabra 2000 triumphs, the Cup will find a new home in Hawai`i - specifically at Waikiki Yacht Club - as when Dennis Conner won it back from the Australians in 1987 and took it to the San Diego Yacht Club.
Could it happen? Let's put it this way: Aloha Racing's research, technology, construction and racing skills equal or surpass any of its competitors, so why not?
And, if Aloha Racing brings the Cup to Hawai`i, our economy may well expect to see over $2 billion dollars in total revenues generated locally by a America's Cup defense in about 2004.
Aren't those sufficient reasons to get behind this historic effort to capture the oldest trophy in the sporting world? This is history in the making.
Drop this paper right now and hurry on down to the Aloha Tower Marketplace, then you can say, "I supported Aloha Racing from the start."
HoloHolo Hawai`i Ocean Sports News