America's Cup: Entries close but 2017 line-up remains mystery

Golden Gate Yacht Club - Defender the the 35th America’s Cup
America's Cup organisers issued an innocuous statement after the close of entries for the 35th America's Cup.

A strong line-up of teams has submitted entries to race in the 35th America’s Cup ahead of the initial deadline of midnight on August 8th.

America’s Cup organizers are now working through the second stage of the entry process with each of these teams. This is expected to finish by August 20th.

Following the confirmation of entries there will be a press conference to introduce the teams and their skippers in London on September 9th.


Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron have entered NZ into its ninth America’s Cup spanning 30 years
RNZYS Media©
Entries closed just before midnight on August 8th in San Francisco. The statement did not specify the number of entries received, and seemed to have been written ahead of the close of entries.

America's Cup PR later claimed in social media that: 'We're not trying to be overly secretive, but the entry process isn't complete for any of the teams yet. We can't name them until it is. Also, a few of the teams have announcement ceremonies planned in the coming days/weeks. We don't want to compromise them. We'll have all the skippers up on stage at a press conference in September to answer questions.'

That comment did not answer why the numbers of teams entering could not have been disclosed, which would have maintained confidentiality.

Only one team, Team New Zealand, have announced that they have lodged an entry.

Four other teams, Luna Rossa (Italy), Artemis Racing (SWE), Ben Ainslie Racing (GBR) and the Franck Cammas led Team France attended Competitor Meetings in Los Angeles and London.

Next step in the process is a vetting of the teams for compliance with the Protocol and also the Deed of Gift the 19th-century document which governs the conduct of the America's Cup.

Given that Team New Zealand represents a Club that is a former America's Cup Trustee, and are on their ninth America's Cup in just under 30 years, the team are expected to have few problems in the vetting process.

Luna Rossa and Artemis Racing being previous Challengers are also expected to fly through.

Ben Ainslie Racing could have faced a more intensive level of investigation, given that they have initially announced that they would be challenging through a new yacht club Yacht Squadron Racing Ltd, described as a club affiliated to the Royal Yacht Squadron. The latter was the host club for the original race for the 100 Guinea Cup, won by the schooner America, and was renamed the America's Cup.

The Royal Yacht Squadron - Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes 2014
Rick Tomlinson
The announcement raised some eyebrows as new yacht clubs have a very chequered history in the recent America's Cup, sometimes not meeting the requirements of the Deed of Gift. One of those requirements is that the Club must have held an annual regatta on the sea or arm of the sea. YSR organised the racing for the Panerai British Classic Week in July.

Interestingly on July 14, 2014, Yacht Squadron Racing registered a name change with the UK Companies House, changing its name to Royal Yacht Squadron Racing Ltd, and with an address of the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes Isle of Wight. This being the case it would be very difficult to argue that the entity, and prestigious club, did not meet the annual regatta requirement.

Four Challenger representatives plus the Defender met in London at a Competitors Meeting, excluded was Team New Zealand
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Team France will sail under the burgee of the Yacht Club de France, founded in 1867 under the patronage of Emperor Napoleon III. It is one of the most-prestigious yacht clubs in France, and their 12metre yacht, France 3, sailed in the 1983 Louis Vuitton Cup.

No date has been set for the America's Cup Match, neither has a Venue been named. The supporting regattas being the America's Cup World Series are also yet to have their venues named along with dates.

The close of entries, and the announcement of accepted Challengers sets in place a train of events and decisions to be made under the terms of the negotiated Protocol.

Competitors have to meet to select a Regatta Director, on the basis of the preference of a simple majority. ACEA

Once the Accepted Challengers have been named, the organisers will need to determine whether a Qualifying Series is required - specified in the Protocol to be necessary if there are more than four Challengers. Under the Protocol, that series must be held in a different venue from the Match and will involve additional expense and logistical complication.

The Host City, Venue and Dates of the 35th America's Cup must be named by December 31, 2014 but is expected in October 2014.

The Protocol does allow the Golden Gate Yacht Club to accept additional late entries at their discretion.

For top yachting correspondent Stuart Alexander's perspective from The Indpendent right click here