America's Cup: Challenger of Record withdraws from Regatta

San Francisco, 34th America's Cup Final - Oracle Team USA CEO Larry Ellison
Although no public announcement has been made by the club, several sources spoken to by Sail-World have confirmed that Hamilton Island Yacht Club have with drawn from the 35th America's Cup and relinquished their position as Challenger of Record.

No reasons for the move have been given which are expected in an official announcement early next week.

The move by Hamilton Island YC follows a Competitor Meeting called by them in Los Angeles last weekend.

A similar situation occurred in the 34th America's Cup, when Golden Gate YC accepted a Challenge from Yacht Club di Roma (Mascalzone Latino) on very favourable terms to the Defender. That club also pulled out, saying they could not find the financial sponsorship to continue.

There has been widespread opposition to the Protocol for the 35th America's Cup, with the Russell Coutts led negotiating team putting forward provisions that are unacceptable to almost all potential Challengers, and also eliminating the preferred venue of the Challengers, San Francisco.

A statement since issued by America's Cup organisers was published on www.americascup.com

The America’s Cup organizers have received notification from the principals of Hamilton Island Yacht Club of their intention to withdraw Team Australia from the 35th America’s Cup.

'We are very disappointed to be receiving this news,' said Russell Coutts, Director of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA). 'We were excited to have Australia as a challenger and we were also looking forward to the prospect of holding America’s Cup World Series events in Australia.

'But our focus going forward is with the teams that have already submitted challenges and the teams that have told us of their intent to do so before the entry deadline on August 8th.

In the meantime, ACEA is continuing its work to select a host venue for the America’s Cup in 2017. The selection process is progressing well with an aim to announce the final venue in October.

Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), which revealed its America’s Cup team in a gala ceremony in London last month, had this comment:

We remain supportive of the Defender’s continued drive towards a more commercial event format, along with a more sustainable future for this historic trophy. BAR will be bidding to host two America’s Cup World Series events in 2015/16 at our new home in Portsmouth; as a key part of the road to the 35th America’s Cup. While the withdrawal of the Challenger of Record is regrettable, it is also not unusual and we will continue our own preparations for the 35th America’s Cup and look forward to an exciting future.