& STRIPES US-55:
In 1983 following the victory of Australia II, Dennis Conner
was dropped by the New York Yacht Club, and mounted his own Sail America Challenge.
This would prove to be the most thorough, professional program the America’s
Cup had ever seen. Five boats would be involved.
A design team lead by John Marshall with the yacht designers, Britt Chance,
David Pedrick and Bruce Nelson built a completely new 12 Metre boat, STARS &
STRIPES ’85. She was shipped to Hawaii for testing. Months of further
testing resulted in a new faster, radical hull, STARS & STRIPES ’86;
built to take advantage of the heavy seas and winds expected in Fremantle. All
this development lead to the final STARS & STRIPES 12 Metre boat, STARS
& STRIPES ’87. Development and testing continued until it was time
to go to Fremantle. The three new boats were shipped to Australia. So
similar was their overall performance that the final decision of which boat
should race had not been made. Just days before the Regatta would begin
STARS & STRIPES ’87 edged out STARS & STRIPES ’86 for the
honour of competing in the 1987 America’s Cup.
Credits: Bob Grieser, Roberto Ferreira, Sharon
In August 1994 during the Sesquicentennial Regatta commemorating the 150th
anniversary of the New York Yacht Club held in Newport, Rhode Island, Colin
met with Dennis Conner. Conner knew of the 12 Metre program in St.Maarten,
and this discussion led to an invitation to race aboard ’87. On returning
to the dock, discussions were started over a jar, which resulted
in STARS & STRIPES ’87 becoming the next boat in the fleet.
A significant factor in the decision was Conner’s knowledge that this
would bring a lot of pleasure to many American sailors.