Angry Australians

The Daily Sail speaks to Damien Smith, designer of the Australian challenger for what was supposed to have been the Little America's Cup
'Highly upset' would be the polite way of describing the feelings of the Australian Catamaran Challenge at present. Over the course of the last two years they have been developing a new generation of C-Class catamaran with which they intend to challenge the US holder of the Little America's Cup, Steve Clark's Cogito. Clark is up for the match. The Australians have spent $70,000 on their campaign to date. They were even told by the Sea Cliff Yacht Club's Trustees of the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy (the official name of the Little America's Cup) that their challenge was acceptable, only to be informed subsequently that it was not and that the Trustees had seen fit to alter the Deed of Gift, turning the Little America's Cup into an F18 series. Understandably the Australian syndicate are furious... "It is just revolting," Damien Smith, designer for the Australian Catamaran Challenge told The Daily Sail. "If these guys don’t have the metal to defend the trophy they should have mailed it to us in a box when we challenged. How are you supposed to have a Little America’s Cup in production boats? It is just not what it is about." The original Deed of Gift, before it being changed, specifically said that the competition for the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy should be in C-Class catamarans, says Smith. "It is against the whole 40 year history of the event...of the Lindsay Cunninghams, the Dave Hubbards, the Austin Farrars that have spent 40 years pushing the edge along. And they are saying “well, we don’t want to do that any more”. It’s a just a complete travesty." Strange - that was the word we used. Smith is a naval architect working for Austal Ships in Henderson, Western Australia. Two years ago he and another designer who had done