A crowd of more than 2,500 gathered in the club’s outdoor area in the Manhattan borough of New York on Tuesday for the inaugural edition of the Pro Club vans championships, which will crown the 2016 World Cup-winning yacht club VanAmerica.
It’s been a busy week for the club as it announced that it has added four new boats to its fleet: a brand new Cessna 172 Skyhawk, a new Piper Twin-Skyhawk and two new T-bird planes, one of which is a new generation of twin-seat twin-engine jets.
The club said it also launched a new website and website-based app, the VanAmerica Club App, that will allow fans to interact with the club and share their club-related stories and photos.
VanAmerica founder and CEO Mark Schilling said that it was great to see the club expanding its presence in the sport.
“This year’s championships will be the culmination of our yearlong efforts to bring the Van America brand to the highest levels,” Schilling told The Associated Press.
“It’s the perfect time to be part of a club that is leading the world in yacht racing.
We have always strived to create a brand that will make us recognized and valued as a sailing club.
I think we’ve accomplished that.”
The new VanAmerica boats are the clubs first two-seater, two-engine boats.
They are built to be more aerodynamic, quieter and more fuel-efficient than previous generations of VanAmerica models, but Schilling and the club are keeping their options open for future models.
“We are open to making new boats in the future,” he said.
“I know that some of the competitors are interested in making their own boats, and we will see what happens.”
The club also announced that the VanAmericas team, the New England VanAmerica team, has secured its first two sponsorships, bringing the total of four sponsorships to eight.
The New England team will include the Van American Crew, a brand owned by the club.
Schilling also announced two new partnerships: a joint venture with New Zealand-based firm Zodiac, which provides the club with custom-built racing gear, and the New Zealand Racing and Racing Academy, a private charter company.
The New England van-and-racing academy will operate in conjunction with the Van Americas Club.
The VanAmericases new partnership will provide members with a way to track and share the progress of their team’s development and performance.
Schiller said that in the near future, the club will expand the team’s Twitter feed and Facebook page, and it will offer video conferences and more interactive opportunities on the club-owned website.
The van- and racing-focused Instagram account, which Schilling launched in April, will also offer a unique insight into the club, featuring video highlights and a daily photo gallery.
“The club is an incredible brand, but it also represents a unique opportunity to be involved in a brand, to be a part of the brand and to be in a position where we can make a real impact,” Schill said.