The ‘Little America’s Cup’ is an event that has a small and loyal fanbase in the world of sailing. Whatever the PR people at the real America’s Cup want you to believe, international competition on wing-sailed catamarans is not a new thing and the C Class Catamaran Championship will continue to be hotly contested despite the next event going head to head with the reinvented America’s Cup in September 2013.
The 2012 ‘Little America’s Cup’ will take place in Falmouth in the UK from the 25th of August to the 1st of September. The timing, a week before the final America’s Cup event in San Francisco, could mean enormous publicity for the smaller event, or it could mean that it is totally lost in the noise, but it is one of those events that won’t mind too much either way.
If anyone can find us a picture of the Mornington Peninsula regional phone book from around the time the Little America’s Cup was contested of McCrae in Victoria, Australia it would confirm that this event has actually been the trend-setter for decades.
The Little America’s Cup should deliver Falmouth some media attention and generate some inbound teams and close supporters, but it’s unlikely that too many fans will travel to see the event specially. Nevertheless, hosting the event will give the town some visibility. Up to 20 teams could attend the event.
A consortium from Restronguet Sailing Club, Mylor Yacht Club and Windsport International will host the event in the village of Mylor at the upper reaches of Carrick Roads and look forward to creating a great event.
The winner of last years championship, Fred Eaton said:
“We are looking forward to defending the International C Class Catamaran Championship at Falmouth. I have had the pleasure of racing in Falmouth before in International 14s and will enjoy returning. The town and the area are rich with inspirational history for a sailor and the people are very welcoming. I know that it will provide a great test for both the boats and crews at our next Championship.”
UK Team Invictus won the right to choose the event’s location by winning the event in 2010. To fund their 2013 challenge, the team have secured a number of new sponsors, including Atlantis Weathergear, ANSYS for structural and aerodynamic analysis and Advanced Composites Group for materials. The team are also in discussions with a few potential sponsors to cover both the build of 2 new boats and for the event itself.
It remains to be seen what (if any) impact the new AC45 series has on the Little America’s Cup. The AC45 is supposed to be a stepping stone for youth to be able to carve out a career in the America’s Cup, but to the casual observer, there is not a lot of difference between a C Class, wingsailed catamaran and an AC45. With 20 teams predicted for the Little America’s Cup and perhaps 8 with the budget to fund an AC45 campaign, the biggest difference is cost – and heritage.
The AC45 has yet to race an event in anger, while the ‘Little America’s Cup’ has been around since 1961. The ‘cult’ following of the C-Class catamaran should mean that the ‘Little America’s Cup’ will be around for a long time to come, whatever happens to the more well known event.