Stars & Stripes 86 (US-56)
Stars & Stripes 86 (US 56) was the third iteration of the Stars & Stripes series of challengers developed for the historic 1987 America’s Cup. She was purpose-built for the challenging sailing conditions found in Fremantle, Australia.
Designed by Britt Chance, David Pedrick and Bruce Nelson, Stars & Stripes 86 was built in 1986 by Robert E. Derektor Inc. Below is an explanation of each of the Stars & Stripes variants developed:
- Stars & Stripes 83 (US 53) – Built in 1985, she was shipped to Hawaii for initial testing.
- Stars & Stripes 85 (US 54) – Built in 1985, she features a new faster, more radical hull.
- Stars & Stripes 86 (US 56) – Built in 1986, she was designed with a different keel and more freeboard to accommodate the heavy seas and winds expected in Fremantle, Australia – the location for the 26th America’s Cup in 1987.
- Stars & Stripes 87 (US 55) – Built in 1986, she incorporates all of the knowledge and experience gained from the development of the first three designs. She won the trials to become the official challenger, edging out Stars & Stripes (US 56) for the honour of competing in the 26th America’s Cup in 1987. After 223 individual yacht races, including 48 that included Dennis Conner and Stars & Stripes, she went on to the America’s Cup finals against the Australian defender Kookaburra III. Stars & Stripes 87 won 4 races to nil to bring the Cup back for the USA in what is considered by many to be the greatest America’s Cup of all time!
Stars & Stripes 86 was purchased by Colin Percy, founder of the St. Maarten 12 Metre Regatta, in August, 1995. An immediate move was planned to bring her to Sint Maarten for refurbishing in time for the ’95-’96 season. However, two weeks later Hurricane Luis changed those plans in a dramatic way, and priority was redirected to rebuilding our premises and repairing our other four boats! Stars & Stripes 86 eventually joined the fleet in January, 1996.