Since there is no ACWS racing until April, people on some sailing forums are discussing nationality rules.
Let’s look at history…
For those arguing in favor of nationality rules for the crew and designers, here are a few inconvenient facts:
- America won the Cup in 1851 with an English pilot and six English sailors on board.
- When the America’s Cup competition was created in 1857 (by the first Deed of Gift) there were no nationality requirements, not even “constructed in country.”
- The current (3rd) Deed of Gift of 1887 only requires the yachts to be constructed in the country of the challenging Club.
- In the 19th century, it was common practice for American defending yachts to use foreign sailors and an all American crew in 1899 was significant news.
- Most of the crew (of 66! seamen) of Reliance in 1903 were Scandinavian fishermen. I believe the 6? afterguard members were Americans.
- During the J-Class era (1930-1937) and the 12-Metre period in Newport (1958-1983), a practice had developed to use crew from the country of the competing yacht.
- In 1958 when the Australian Livingstone brothers enquired about engaging an American designer, the New York Yacht Club passed a “Trustee Interpretative Resolution” requiring designers of a yacht to be nationals of the country of the competing Yacht Club.
- In 1980 after American Andy Rose sailed on Australia, the New York Yacht Club passed another Trustee Interpretative Resolution, requiring sailors to be nationals of the country of the competing club. After nationality could be acquired by merely having a house or apartment available in a country, the rule had little efficiency.
So, see, it was not until 1980 that there was a “rule” about crew nationality.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not necessarily against nationality rules. In fact, I think nationality rules (at least for the crew) would be the lowest cost way to spike interest among the general public.
Just don’t argue that “we should go back to the old tradition of nationality rules.” The only such rules were made by the NYYC and (to my knowledge) were never challenged in court.
I can see it now… The next Defender and their pre-selected CoR institute Nationality Rules, and back to the NY Supreme Court we go, as other teams sue to ensure that the DoG is respected. Wouldn’t that be entertaining?
What do you think? Post a comment!
(Bonus question: When were the Trustee Interpretative Resolutions abandoned and by whom? Hint: one of the parties is the current Defender.)