The America’s Cup is the most prestigious regatta and match race in the sport of sailing and the oldest active trophy in international sport, dating back to 1851. Yachtman Dennis Connor successfully defended the America’s Cup in 1974 and 1980, but in 1983 he was the first man to fail a Cup defense in 132 years, losing to Australian challenger Allan Bond.
In 1987, Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Public Relations (NST) volunteered its services to provide public relations support as Dennis Connor attempted to bring the Cup back to America and to the San Diego Yacht Club.
As skipper of the celebrated Stars & Stripes boats, Conner fundamentally changed the America’s Cup, and racing in general, from an amateur to professional status. New boating technology was developed at San Diego-based SAIC. NST supported Dennis and his crew as they battled the winds of Perth by providing media outreach to the sailing community across the globe. When the team was successful in bringing the cup back to San Diego, the NST team helped plan and implement the homecoming party that drew more than 50,000 people to the B Street Pier to celebrate their victory.
NST then went on to help create the America’s Cup Organizing Committee that was responsible to managing the America’s Cup races that were held in San Diego. During the races there were more than 600 journalists from around the world in San Diego to cover the event.
In 1987, Conner reclaimed the Cup for his home yacht club, the San Diego Yacht Club. One year later, he would win the Cup for a record fourth time making him most of the recognized names in the world of professional sailing. These accomplishments led to his nickname “Mister America’s Cup” and made San Diego synonymous with the America’s Cup races.