KZ 1

The Bruce Farr-designed America’s Cup boat KZ 1 (New Zealand), commonly known as the ‘Big Boat’, outside the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum in Auckland. 

The 1988 Big Boat challenge resulted from the first litigation over the wording of the deed of gift in the cup’s history. Michael Fay lodged the challenge on behalf of Mercury Bay Boating Club. When the New York Supreme Court ruled that the challenge was in order, the San Diego Yacht Club was forced to accept it.

KZ 1 was the largest single-masted yacht the rules would allow. Nicknamed the ‘Aircraft Carrier’, the 90-foot (27 m) monohull was skippered by David Barnes and had a crew of 40 (compared with 11 on the AC72s that competed in San Francisco in 2013). The defenders responded by building a much faster catamaran, Stars & Stripes (US 1). When the two raced in September 1988, New Zealand was predictably defeated by a huge margin.

Fay took the case back to court, claiming that the race was not the ‘friendly competition between foreign countries’ that had been envisaged in the deed of gift. The court agreed and awarded New Zealand the cup. But when San Diego appealed, the decision was overturned. Fay’s final appeal to New York’s highest court failed. Many New Zealanders felt uncomfortable about trying to win the cup in court rather than on the water.

Community contributions

No comments have been posted about KZ 1

What do you know?