Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mitakihara Town Yacht Club: America's Cup Defenders since '49

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Mitakihara Town Yacht Club: America's Cup Defenders since '49

By Inari Fushimi
The Daily Magi
September 6. 2066

The Mitakihara Town Yacht Club was founded in 2035 by a number of Mitakihara University students and local sailing aficionados. Based in Mitakihara Harbour, the Yacht Club became the yachting wing of the Mitakihara Town Sports Club in 2040 and in that year, MTYC made a push to win the America's Cup, sailing's richest prize, thanks to support from a consortium composed of the Japanese animation industry, led by Aniplex, and the multi-billionaire Kaname Family, led by Dr. Madoka Kaname, the founder of Mitakihara University.

Racing for the America's Cup under the syndicate name Aniplex Team Canada, the MTYC development team, which includes students and alumni from Mitakihara University, developed two bleeding-edge AC45 catamarans: the Ultimate Madoka and the Akuma Homura, christened in 2045. Identical in design, the Akuma is used for training and least-important races while the Ultimate is used for general competition.

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In 2048, Aniplex Team Canada took on two other syndicates in the Louis Vuitton Cup. The winner of the series took on the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, and Emirates Team New Zealand for the right to win the America's Cup the following year. After an entente cordiale with Sail Korea Yacht Club in 2047, which became the foundation for the biennial Friendship Cup Yacht Series, Aniplex Team Canada faced the Golden Gate Yacht Club and BMW Oracle Racing, the Kungliga Svenska Segelsällskapet and Artemis Racing, and Circolo della Vela Sicilia's Luna Rossa Challenge.

Aniplex Team Canada won its nine round-robin races, defeated Artemis Racing in a best-of-seven 4-0 and then took BMW Oracle to the cleaners, winning 7-0 in a best-of-13 finals series. Waitemata Harbour formed the backdrop for the 43rd America's Cup. A crowd of 1,000,000 was on hand to witness Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Chris Barker, the grandson of the late Dean Barker, strategist Isaac Hannebery and tactician Roger Tuke, the grandson of Blair Tuke, challenge ATC skipper Shawn "Steamer" Spithill, the grandson of James Spithill,, strategist Ron Howard and tactician Jack Ainslie, the grandson of Sir Ben Ainslie and a Madoka grad (M.U. class of 2037), battle in a first-to-nine series.

The outlook was grim at first for Aniplex Team Canada, who now received sponsorship from every Canadian corporation by the point. Emirates Team New Zealand was leading 8-0 heading into the eve of race 9. An evening visit of the crew by Dr. Kaname, followed by a moment of prayer and meditation, changed the fortunes of the team. Aniplex Team Canada proceeded to win the next nine races by an average of 65 seconds. Race 17 was not even close. On the upwind leg, the tacking power of Aniplex Team Canada, comprising of Australians, New Zealanders, Americans, Canadians, Japanese and Koreans powered the Ultimate Madoka to a decisive two-minute victory over Emirates Team New Zealand.

The scenes at Waitemata Harbour were that of despair, save for the Canadian supporters that were there. Many of the New Zealand fans simply went home, some in tears, some throwing their flags into the water. The entire Emirates Team New Zealand crew resigned days later, forcing the syndicate to find a new team to lead the way. New Zealand sports media labeled it a national tragedy, while Canada's National Post marked it as "...a moment that trumps every sporting achievement made by Canadians for the past two centuries. By a country mile."

The last time Canada challenged for the America's Cup was in 1881, when the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club of Belleville, Ontario, lost in a match race series to the New York Yacht Club 2-0. Aniplex Team Canada has successfully defended their America's Cup in 2053, 2057, 2061 and most recently, in 2065, where they took down the Hamilton Island Yacht Club and Team Australia 9-8. In fact, all the America's Cup races saw Aniplex Team Canada go down 8-0 and go on to win 9-8, with all the races taking lpace on the waters of the Strait of Georgia. A running joke in the Canadian media by sailing columnist Roger Hundley of The Province suggested, "They should rename the America's Cup to Madoka's Cup because Madoka Kaname won it for Canada. That's one woman you don't want to mess with. Even the winning yacht is made in her image!"

The next America's Cup, the 48th Edition, will once again be contested off the waters of Vancouver Island but this time, the races will take place in Victoria Harbour in Victoria, B.C. The Louis Vuitton Acts and the 22nd Louis Vuitton Cup will be contested at Victoria Harbour starting next year, and despite the Sail Korea Yacht Club being named the Challenger of Record, there will be 15 teams battling it out for a date with Aniplex Team Canada.

In addition to America's Cup sailing, the Mitakihara Town Yacht Club does ice sailing and regular Olympic-class sailing. There are 20 racing fleets that compete for MTYC and membership, which is renewable every 10 years, is open to those who own a yacht and are able to pay dues on schedule.

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