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PD Staff
05-31-2011, 10:13 AM
The competitors in the 2013 America's Cup met by teleconference today. Sail-World is informed that the meeting broke up without any decisions being reached - partially explained by the fact that the international group was working across various time zones - and for some it was the early hours of the morning.

The meeting is understood to have lasted a couple of hours and was not acrimonious.

Given that there is currently a Protocol in place for the event, a number of teams have purchased AC45's and have active design teams for the AC72 program, and a regatta management and media test event has just been concluded in Auckland, it would seem to most observers that the cornerstones were in place for the 34th match due to be staged in San Francisco in September 2013.

But against that backdrop is the fact the the current Challenger of Record, Club Nautico di Roma recently withdrew, and was replaced by a Swedish club. That decision is believed to be the subject of a yet to be heard complaint to the International Jury, along with some other issues.

At least one of the unannounced/confidential entries has is believed to have dropped out ahead of the time required to pay the first of the Performance Bonds. Others are believed not to have paid the $200,000 bind on the due date at the end of April. That matter too has apparently be sent off to the International Jury. The total teams now to remain in the event stand at 12, with a comment that 10 will participate in the first AC45 event. 15 teams were announced as being entered/filed notices of challenge when entries closed at the end of March. One of those was subsequently not accepted as it did not comply with the 19th century Deed of Gift which governs the conduct of the America's Cup.

As yet there is no announcement made on the television package for either the America's Cup World Series, due to start in Cascais, Portugal from 6-14 August, or the other events in the preliminary series to be sailed this year.

A total of 13 events were programmed for the World Series, which is to be an annual series, usually with seven regattas in a non-America's Cup year. The series is set down to start in the AC45 one design catamarans which have been built in New Zealand, before switching to the AC72's.

Today's meeting was expected to confirm the way forward for the event, but instead broke up with no decisions taken, plenty of solutions on the table, no report of the meeting and no comment on the problems for which the solutions were on offer.

One had it that the AC Regatta and Media Trials in Auckland were such a resounding success that there were several new options for the event which needed to be considered by the Competitors.

Even so, at the heart of the matter seems to be the disparity between the financial state and preparedness of the teams.

On one hand there are the established teams - Oracle Racing, Artemis Racing and Emirates Team NZ. The first two are billionaire backed - without the same sponsor delivery requirement to sponsors as the twice America's Cup winner, Emirates Team NZ. Little is known of the design effort of the first two teams, however Emirates Team NZ has announced a team of 30 designers, who have been on the task since October 2010.

A team that size and having started almost eight months ago, are generally reckoned to be what is necessary to win an America's Cup in 2013.

The other seven to nine teams are believed to be towards the other end of the spectrum, playing catch up in terms of time, and still to put together their funding arrangements - a task made no easier by the lack of announcement on a television package for the America's Cup World Series or the Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup itself.

Certainty on the television package would give the teams something definitive to put in front of potential sponsors, and attract vital funding necessary to sign design and sailing teams.

The larger group of teams is believed to be looking to extend time and reduce costs.

Emirates Team NZ is programmed for an event specified in the Protocol without any changes which affect the game materially and leading to a Match in September 2013.

The Challenger of Record, KSSS/Artemis Racing and the Defender Golden Gate Yacht Club/Oracle Racing have the right to decide any changes to the Protocol with out reference to the other parties. Or, if reference was made they could go along with a majority vote, in which Emirates Team NZ could be expected to be in the minority, on anything that represents a material change in the conduct of then event.

From the New Zealander's perspective it seems to be a case of 'heads you win, tails we lose'.

At this stage of the America's Cup, for a team serious about winning, the game should be locked and loaded in terms of finances and resources. For many it's not - and any wriggle room they can get on the Protocol will be grabbed with both hands.

Currently, it is understood that no date has been set for the Competitors' Forum to reconvene. http://www.sail-world.com/USA/Americas-Cup:-Competitors-Forum-breaks-up-on-a-promise/84155

bowline
05-31-2011, 03:14 PM
Thanks for the report - interesting developments at hand.

It looks like we'll be left to guess if any material changes will come from the discussion. I'd expect they'll proceed as planned.

PD Staff
06-01-2011, 01:57 PM
AC45 Selected for America’s Cup World Series

With the newest generation of America’s Cup boats exceeding the expectations of event organizers and the teams, the AC45 wing-sailed catamaran has now been selected by competitors for use in all America's Cup World Series events.

The recent AC45 test period produced two major results - outstanding on-the-water racing for the teams and superior television images for spectators. With that in mind, the AC45 today was confirmed for use in all America's Cup World Series events leading into the 2013 racing season.

“The AC45s are ticking off all the boxes for a great event package,” said Iain Murray, America’s Cup Race Management CEO and Regatta Director, following the close of the Competitor Forum today. “The sailors have found these cats to be fast and fun to race. They are challenging, they are exciting, and when the best sailors in the world get their hands on them, they produce close, tight racing.”

Using the AC45 in all AC World Series events instead of switching to the AC72 in season two was one of several changes voted on by America’s Cup competitors on Tuesday. This move also provides teams with another opportunity to manage competition costs.

“After we put the AC45 through its paces in New Zealand, we knew we had the right boat for the next era of America’s Cup sailing,” Murray said. “By making the AC45 the boat of the AC World Series, logistics and overhead can be dramatically reduced at the outset of the 34th America’s Cup cycle. This is a great benefit for all of our teams, providing them with more time in the commercial marketplace and less of a cash investment up front.”

The larger AC72 will now appear on the water from July 2012. Teams will work up their AC72’s and race the AC World Series leading into the Louis Vuitton Cup, America’s Cup Challenger Series, and the 34th America’s Cup Finals in San Francisco. The extended time-period for the debut of the AC72 allows teams more time for development of the boat.

The race format and scoring for the 2011 AC World Series have also been released. The format will include a combination of Fleet and Match Racing with winners for each as well as an overall winner that will be determined on the final Sunday of the regatta. The AC World Series starts August 6, 2011 in Cascais, Portugal.
Other updates agreed by the Competitors today include:

+ Teams to launch AC72s starting July 1, 2012 (there is a limited exception to launch and sail earlier for any proven pre-existing contractual obligations)

+ Teams have the same limited number of testing days in the AC72s in advance of racing

+ The first Performance Bond for the AC World Series is eliminated and replaced with an Entry Fee ($100,000 USD)

+ Updated late entry procedure – Teams can enter late at discretion of the Defender

+ Competitors must sign an AC45 purchase contract with a 50 percent non-refundable deposit paid by June 10

+ Teams will consolidate their websites into www.americascup.com by July 1, 2011.