Challengers OK Plan for America’s Cup

Dr. Stanley Reid of Australia’s Royal Perth Yacht Club, the Challenger of Record for America’s Cup XXVIII, announced an agreement on a proposal to replace the 12-meter yachts Sunday.

The Challenger of Record, representing 25 challengers for the America’s Cup, said the new class of boat will be 75 feet on the waterline, 102 feet high, with an 18-foot beam, 13-feet draft and a displacement weight of between 16,000 and 25,000 kilograms.

“It’s no secret we’ve been working extremely hard and close with the challengers (on a boat design) since April,” said Tom Ehman, a member of the San Diego Yacht Club and the executive vice president of the America’s Cup Organizing Committee. “We’re very close to a mutual consent agreement. The SDYC is in favor of the boat design in principle, but we need to look a little further.”

It also was determined:


--If the New York Supreme Court decision favors the San Diego Yacht Club, the America’s Cup will be contested in May, 1991.

--The America’s Cup will be decided in a best-of-7 format.

--There will be a substantial change in the course to provide a more competitive test for yacht designs and crew performance, and to increase spectator appeal.

“I don’t believe there will be any major problems,” Reid said. “We’ve already had discussions with the San Diego Yacht Club, and I think a lot of homework has already been done.”

The next step is for the San Diego Yacht Club to approve the items. Ehman said the yacht club should confirm its agreement by Jan. 21.

“This has progressed faster than anyone expected,” Ehman said. “We may negotiate a few points a little bit, but it’s fair to say we agree in principle now.”

Ehman said the bitterness that has hung over the competition “has evaporated all in the course of a couple of days. Everyone is looking forward to the next event. It’s a very positive atmosphere. There’s been more cooperation than you might expect, mainly because everyone is tired of the fire fights.”

Andrew Johns, the chairman of New Zealand’s Mercury Bay Boating Club, agreed.

“It’s all very positive,” he said. “The challengers as a group have a lot of momentum, and we’re building to a great event in 1991.”