Historic America's Cup Ambassador to Visit NC
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    WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – In 1851 the schooner America stunned the world by defeating the British and winning the legendary 50-mile race around th… Read More
    WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – In 1851 the schooner America stunned the world by defeating the British and winning the legendary 50-mile race around the Isle of Wight in the English Channel. America’s historic victory and impressive 8-minute margin gave name to one of the oldest, best-known and most prestigious sporting events in the world, the America’s Cup. Underway from homeport San Diego and destined for the 2017 America’s Cup in Bermuda, America will berth in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina Sept. 23-26 as part of an East Coast and Caribbean tour. Built in 1995, America is a painstaking replica of the 139-ft original yacht 165 years ago and is the only official ambassador of the America’s Cup. America’s homeport is San Diego. Robert B Butler Communications | Public Relations www.NCPressRelease.org www.RBButler.com Read Less
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This media site contains the historic schooner America's itinerary, reservation links, media photos, press materials and contact information for this event
America, courtesy of Troy Sears
America, courtesy of Troy Sears
Historic America’s Cup Schooner / Ambassador to Visit North Carolina
© ACEA / PHOTO GILLES MARTIN-RAGET
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – In 1851 the schooner America stunned the world by defeating the British and winning the legendary 50-mile race around the Isle of Wight in the English Channel. America’s historic victory and impressive 8-minute margin gave name to one of the oldest, best-known and most prestigious sporting events in the world, the America’s Cup.

Underway from homeport San Diego and destined for the 2017 America’s Cup in Bermuda, America will berth in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina Sept. 23-26 as part of an East Coast and Caribbean tour. Built in 1995, America is a painstaking replica of the 139-ft original yacht built in the United States and launched 165 years ago.

“It’s amazing. To have a boat that represents something as big as the first vessel that won the America’s Cup is pretty huge for the sailing community here,” said Kevin Smith, General Manager of the Carolina Yacht Club. “Our club was founded on the principles of sailing in 1853, just two years after America’s victory. America represents everything the Carolina Yacht Club was created to do.” 
America, courtesy of Troy Sears
Located two blocks south of Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Carolina Yacht Club is hosting and providing dock space for America. Tours and sailing excursions are open to the public on Friday (Sept. 23), Saturday (Sept. 24), and Monday (Sept 26).

Dockside tours are free and require no reservation. Sailing excursions should be booked in advance online at $85 for adults and $42.50 for those under 18. 

Views and photo opportunities of America from Banks Channel are available by kayak, paddleboard, catamaran, outrigger canoe, sailboat, and Cape Fear Naturalist scenic tours, all provided at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort dock. Special room rates are also available during America's visit to Wrightsville Beach and should be booked in advance by phone. 

“Based in San Diego, it is unlikely that America will do another East Coast tour,” said Smith. “I hope everybody that wants to tour or sail on America will take advantage of this historic visit to North Carolina.”

Coincidental and in the spirit of water sports and America, the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History will present the 2016 Waterman Hall of Fame Awards on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 2:00 PM at Blockade Runner Beach Resort.

The Waterman Hall of Fame is a lasting tribute to the achievements of generations of Wrightsville Beach watermen and women who shaped and continue to shape the community and its relationship with the water. Individuals in six categories will be inducted in 2016. The celebration is free and open to the public.  
America, courtesy of Troy Sears
Itinerary for America’s visit to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Friday, Sept. 23

12:00-2:00 PM          
Dock Tours
3:00-4:00 PM         
Dock Tours
4:30-7:00 PM            
Sail Excursions

Saturday, Sept. 24

10:00 AM-12:30 PM  
Dock Tours
1:30-4:00 PM            
Sail Excursions
4:30-7:00 PM            
Sail Excursions
7:30-8:30 PM            
Presentation by Troy Sears and Crew

Sunday, Sept. 25

CLOSED-Private Function

Monday, Sept. 26

10:00 AM-12:00         
Dock Tours
1:00-4:00 PM             
Dock Tours
4:30-7:00 PM             
Sail Excursions

Click this link for Hotel Accommodations at Wrightsville Beach - Or call 910-256-2251 for special room discount for this event only

Click this link for America Sailing Excursion Reservation

Click this link for Cape Fear Naturalist Waterway Tour

Click this link for Banks Channel rental of kayaks, paddleboards, catamarans, outrigger canoes, sailboats - Or call 910-256-2251

Click this link for Waterman Hall of Fame Information

Click this link for information about the America's Cup

Click this link for information about the schooner America

Contact:

Kevin Smith, General Manager
Carolina Yacht Club
Wrightsville Beach, NC
910-256-3396

Madeline Flagler, Director
Wrightsville Beach Museum of History
910-256-2569

Karen Pennington
Blockade Runner Beach Resort
910-256-2251

Robert B Butler
Communications | Public Relations

Permission granted for editorial redistribution – photo credits required.
America, courtesy of Troy Sears
Carolina Yacht Club Burgee, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Views and photo opportunities of America from Banks Channel are available by kayak, paddleboard, catamaran, outrigger canoe, sailboat, and Cape Fear Naturalist scenic tours, all provided at the Blockade Runner dock. For reservations call 910-256-2251 or go online: 

Courtesy Blockade Runner, Wrightsville Beach, photo by Joshua McClure
Courtesy of Blockade Runner, Wrightsville Beach
Courtesy Blockade Runner Beach Resort, photo by Samantha Black
OC-1 Paddle, courtesy of Blockade Runner Beach Resort
Courtesy of Blockade Runner, Wrightsville Beach
The Wrightsville Beach Museum of History will present the 2016 Waterman Hall of Fame Awards on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 2:00 PM at Blockade Runner Beach Resort.

The Waterman Hall of Fame is a lasting tribute to the achievements of generations of Wrightsville Beach watermen and women who shaped and continue to shape the community and its relationship with the water. Individuals in six categories will be inducted in 2016. The celebration is free and open to the public.  

2016 Recipients, courtesy of Madeline Flagler, Director, Wrightsville Beach Museum of History:
Diving – Local Hero - Kevin Walker – A graduate of UNCW and a long-time resident of Wrightsville Beach, Kevin has grown a passion for the difficult and often dangerous work of a commercial diver into a thriving local business. Kevin and his business partner, Mike McCarley, started by completing local dives on commercial marine construction projects and have expanded into a business that includes a private port just south of the state port and marine consulting throughout the world. Kevin has used his business success to give back to the community in various ways over the years contributing to schools, non-profits, and organizations that promote the longevity of Wrightsville Beach.
Fishing/Boating – Pioneer/Local Hero - Robbie Wolfe – Robbie started fishing at the age of 10 on Johnnie Mercer’s Pier. At 14 he was mating on his father’s charter boat, the Whipsaw. Robbie still runs the Whipsaw, consistently winning fishing tournaments, making it the longest- running charter boat in the area. Robbie’s long-term commitment to charter fishing and his willingness to teach and look after other local fishermen over the past 30+ years is commendable. He is a wholesome, humble individual who cares deeply for our ocean heritage and is highly respected by his peers.
Sailing – Pioneer/Champion/Local Hero – Martin Willard
Martin Willard has lived and sailed his entire life at Wrightsville Beach, starting to sail solo at the age of six at the Carolina Yacht Club and racing at 12. Over his 52-year sailing career he has competed, won or placed in the top 10 at the local, regional, national and world level in sailing and windsurfing. Today, Willard continues to actively compete in the Master Laser Class at the world level. He has been active in advising the Jr. Sailing Division of the Carolina Yacht Club and UNCW Sailing Club. Through his former business, The Ship’s Store, he organized and ran regattas and races from windsurfing to Hobie Cats. Martin is a true waterman and a reflection of his family’s long-term presence in the area, actively fishing inshore and off shore, kayaking, paddle boarding and surfing. He is well-respected and gives a humble demeanor to his accomplishments.
Surfing- Local Hero - Mike Barden – Mike Barden has been involved with Surf City Surf Shop since 1988 and has been its owner/operator since 2003. He opened the Annex offering fair trade and organic coffee and smoothies, with a community vibe of art, surfing and music. Mike has served, supported and help grow the Wrightsville Beach surfing community for over 27 years. Mike is a strong, positive role model for his young employees and the surfers who flock to his stores. He has generously given his time and talent to the local surfing community. He is admired as a fair businessman, a devoted family man and an influential figure in the local surfing world.
Surfing- Champion/Local Hero - Tony Silvagni – At less than 30 years old Tony Silvagni has won 3 world championships and is ranked #5 in the world as a professional longboarder. He moved to Carolina Beach with his family at the age of 5 where his love of the ocean and ​​​​​​​surfing in particular began to grow. By 18 he had secured a place on the ASP World Longboard Tour. In 2011 he won a gold medal at the ISA World Games. In 2008 Tony started his Surf School where he imparts his love of the sport and respect for the water and good sportsmanship. He created the first longboard club at Carolina Beach built around surfers giving back to the community and getting local competitive longboarders up to the national level. He has raised tens of thousands of dollars for this endeavor and for the Pleasure Island Lifeguards. He has assisted the lifeguards or rough days, where in 2010 he assisted in over 27 saves in one day, receiving a lifesaving award from the Town of Carolina Beach. Tony has always strived to serve as a good role model and positive example to those around him. His infectious energy and positive personality make him an exceptional advocate for the sport of surfing.
Woman of the Year - Local Hero/Beach Culture - Tracy Skrabal– Tracy Skrabal
is the Southeast Regional Manager and Senior Coastal Scientist with the North Carolina Coastal Federation. A citizen’s- based conservation group working with many partners to ensure clean water and natural resource protection in NC’s 20 coastal counties.  In addition, she lives the life, surfing every day that she can, often arriving at work with her hair almost dry. Ask almost anyone you bump into at Wrightsville Beach or even Wilmington and they know Tracy personally or know of her kindness, commitment to our youth, commitment to our coast and clean waters for all to enjoy and use. Her personality, humor, background, intelligence and tireless advocacy for our coastal waters make her a great example of one whose love of the water and its sports has led her to work to protect it through example and education.

Since 1997 Tracy has provided mentoring and experience in coastal stewardship to well over 500 high school and college students. She is a recognized leader and ​​​​​​​sought after community activist who supports many causes that relate to our beaches, clean water, community inclusiveness, and beach access. Tracy has been an active member of WBLA for a number of years, serving as Conservation Liaison.  She has worked as a volunteer with the Surfer’s Healing program and advocated for improved beach access for all. She volunteers for annual SUP events in Wrightsville Beach and is an avid open water swimmer, surfer and Paddle Boarder.
In addition to the induction of the Class of 2016, the celebration on September 25 at the Blockade Runner Resort will include presentation by Skipper Funderburg to Lori Rosbrugh, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Wrightsville Beach Museum, of North Carolina's formal proclamation stating September 2016 as surfing month. This proclamation will then be on display at the Wrightsville Beach Museum. 
2015 Waterman Hall of Fame Recipients
Waterman Hall of Fame Class of 2015: Dr. Joseph James, Ben Bourgeois, J. Skipper Funderburg, Will Allison, Cissie Brooks and Mike Merritt were inducted into the Waterman Hall of Fame Wrightsville Beach Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015, at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort.
The America's Cup
(c) ACEA 2016 / Photo Ricardo Pinto
"In 2017 Bermuda will host the 35th America’s Cup. The eyes of the world will turn to the iconic Great Sound where the best sailors on the fastest boats will battle for the oldest trophy in international sport. Racing starts with the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers on 26th May, 2017 and the top Challenger will meet Defending Champions ORACLE TEAM USA in the 35th America’s Cup Match presented by Louis Vuitton beginning on 17th June, 2017."

- America's Cup
(c) ACEA 2016 / Photo Ricardo Pinto
(c)Sam Greenfield / ORACLE TEAM USA
(c)Sam Greenfield / ORACLE TEAM USA
(c) ACEA 2016 / Photo Ricardo Pinto