Stars & Stripes Team USA have been accepted as the fifth challenger for the 2021 America’s Cup in Auckland, becoming the second American syndicate to launch a tilt for sailing’s biggest prize.

The entry from Long Beach Yacht Club in California has been named as a tribute to former Cup great Dennis Conner, whose four wins included two in boats named Stars & Stripes.

Professional sailors Taylor Canfield, 29, and Mike Buckley, 36, are co-founders of the challenge.

Canfield is a four-time winner of match-racing’s Congressional Cup, which is hosted annually by the Long Beach Yacht Club.

The other US challenger bidding to claim the Auld Mug from Team New Zealand is the New York Yacht Club’s American Magic.

The other contenders are Challenger of Record Luna Rossa of Italy, INEOS Team UK and Malta Altus Challenge, who were confirmed last week.

Canfield said his team’s assault will be an all-American effort, including the sailors, design team and builders.

“There are a lot of great sailors in this country, so there’s no doubt we can put a great team together,” he said.

“It’s been my professional goal to compete in the America’s Cup my whole life and I’m confident we will be very competitive come 2021 in Auckland.”

Buckley was inspired by 76-year-old Conner’s achievements, defending the Cup three times in 1974, 1980 and 1988 and launching a successful challenge in 1987, when he beat Australia’s Kookaburra III in Fremantle.

“Dennis used to have an all-American challenge. … When we decided to do this, that was one of the driving factors. It’s not about Mike or Taylor,” he said.

“Let’s do this for American sailing and America in general, so that people get inspired,” he said.

Stars & Stripes Team USA have started building their AC75 race yacht in Michigan, a process that was accelerated by a design and technology package purchased from Team New Zealand.

 

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