Bill Durant

Bill Durant smiles after completing the Transpac Race.

In 2013, Oracle Team USA won the America's Cup in a climactic final race in San Francisco Bay, and they will be known forever as the “Comeback Team.”

In 2021, Long Beach’s Stars+Stripes USA hopes to be known as the “Underdog Team” that bought home the Cup.

While the year as junior staff commodore at Long Beach YC is designed to be a quiet one, it has been far from that for 2018 Commodore Bill Durant. In July, his team on board Chubasco took first in their division in the Transpacific yacht race to Hawaii.

In addition, Durant and a team from LBYC have been quietly laying the groundwork for a successful America’s Cup campaign.

Just last week, a leak broke out regarding one of the team’s newly signed sponsors — McKinsey & Co. — who will serve as the team’s lead technology partner. Stars+Stripes USA’s original plan was to announce the key sponsors as a group; the current plan calls for additional sponsorship announcements to be made this later week.

First across the finish line is Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE). CNE and Stars+Stripes USA have announced a development deal for an unscripted show that will follow the All-American sailing team of men and women as they challenge the world’s best and commit to bring the America’s Cup back to the United States.

With the major sponsors in place, Durant said, “We have just entered the next phase of our campaign, where we are ready to accept donations from individuals and small to mid-size local businesses.”

In a letter to Long Beach YC members last week, the following question was asked and answered: “Does our team have a chance against the ‘Big Money' teams? “

“Yes, we do and everyone loves an underdog.” The letter continued, “America was built by entrepreneurs who didn’t take ‘no' for an answer and followed their dreams until they became reality.”

The donations are being managed by the Long Beach Sailing Foundation, the nonprofit that serves as trustees for the Catalina 37s, used in Congressional Cup. Club members consider Congressional Cup a “must do” regatta for America’s Cup sailors, so this is a natural association.

Durant’s team looks forward to speaking service clubs, and yachtsmen’s luncheons, where Mike Buckley, the team’s CEO, is passionate about including youth groups, like the Boys and Girls Club, out sailing on numerous occasions,

“I want to inspire kids, I want to show people what the American Dream is, I want to give kids hope that grew up less privileged,” Buckley said. He added, “Community support has been great, for example Long Beach State welcomes us with open arms, allowing us to train in their gym and house our workout equipment.”

The Stars+Stripes USA sponsorship deck includes more details regarding the team’s plans:

“Win the America’s Cup with an All-American team backed by passionate individuals and iconic brands. (We will) make sailing more inclusive: committed to a co-ed and diverse team; (with) open tryouts to recruit best athletes vs. sailing veterans. (We will) use our two-year program to promote innovation, diversity, and sustainability while investing in our communities and youth.”

In addition, there has been talk to broaden interest in sailing through a docu-series (similar to the Netflix series that has raised F1 interest in the U.S.).

Give the underdogs a chance. It would be nice to have the oldest trophy in international sport call Long Beach home.

Load comments