• Taylor Canfield helming his way to victory in the Congressional Cup.
    Taylor Canfield helming his way to victory in the Congressional Cup.

The Daily Journal.  By Bernie Wilson AAP.

SAN DIEGO — A group of professional sailors, industry leaders and financial backers is working to put together an all American challenge for the 2021 America’s Cup in New Zealand.

The unnamed group would become the second American challenger for the 2021 America’s Cup in New Zealand. The New York Yacht Club, which once held the Auld Mug for 132 years, announced in October that it would challenge for the first time since 2002-03. Its crew has several sailors from New Zealand.

The all American effort gained traction last weekend when some of its principals helped crew US One Sailing Team, skippered by Taylor Canfield, to victory over the New York Yacht Club’s Team American Magic in the prestigious Congressional Cup in Long Beach.

US One tactician Mike Buckley said he started the initiative for a team of American sailors, engineers and innovators a year ago.

“Our initiative is not about individuals, it’s about creating a winning culture in American sailing,” Buckley said in a phone interview Friday. “We believe that it’s kind of been a long time coming since there’s been a team of Americans that has challenged for the America’s Cup. My main goal is to change that. It wasn’t to change it for myself. It was to change it for American sailing.”

Canfield, 29, who won his fourth Congressional Cup, declined comment on his America’s Cup plans. Buckley said Canfield wants to helm an America’s Cup yacht “and we hope he’s with us.” Canfield grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands and currently lives in Miami.

While the New York Yacht Club’s team is American-backed and has an American skipper, Terry Hutchinson, it’s not 100 percent American. Its helmsman is New Zealander Dean Barker and there are other Kiwis on the crew. That’s been the trend during the last several America’s Cup, when nationality rules were blurred and then tossed aside. A partial nationality rule has been restored for 2021, but Buckley wants to take it further.

Buckley, who is a New York Yacht Club member, said his group respects the NYYC team and has friends among that crew.

“We believe we’re selling a different product,” said Buckley, who lives in New York. “Our focus is on us. It’s not us-versus-them. Our focus is on a group of Americans trying to win the America’s Cup.”

To do so will take a lot of money.

Buckley declined to divulge his team’s budget but said it has “a significant amount committed.” He said the group needs one or two more partners.

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