Kiwi America’s Cup Boats Arrive in U.S.


New Zealand’s Mercury Bay Boating Club, defying tradition with red-colored hulls, is the first syndicate to deliver boats of the new International America’s Cup Class to San Diego, where competition for the trophy is scheduled in 1992.

The two boats were scheduled to arrive this morning on a barge from San Pedro, where they arrived Tuesday morning at the American President lines container terminal aboard the Australia-New Zealand Direct Line ship Direct Kea and were transferred to the seagoing barge San Clemente Island.

A third New Zealand boat is scheduled to arrive in January, and one of the three--all designed by Bruce Farr--will be loaned to Japan’s Bengal Bay Challenge for training and competition in the IACC world championships in May. All three boats are considered developmental and will eventually be discarded. According to the rules, Japan must build its own before the competition in ’92.

The 75-foot hulls are painted bright red--a color that has never been worn by an America’s Cup winner. However, the color copies New Zealand’s “big red boat” Steinlager 2, the 85-foot ketch that Peter Blake sailed to victory in the Whitbread Round-the-World Race this year.


Syndicate chief Michael Fay was quoted earlier: “Red was fast for Steinlager 2. Maybe it’ll be fast for us, too.”

However, a syndicate spokesman said the color may be changed according to future sponsorship.

Syndicate employees Gary Richardson and Arthur Ferguson accompanied the boats on their 18-day voyage via San Francisco. Richardson said he wouldn’t mind doing it again, except “the next time I’d make sure the ship had a VCR.”

The boats, built for San Diego’s light winds and smooth water, have low bows and flat decks with roomy, shallow cockpits well forward of the stern. They would be wet to the point of being virtually unsailable in rough weather, but little of that is anticipated at San Diego.