Defender and Challenger present different views on the America's Cup

 
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 14 Mar 2014
 

 

Defender and Challenger present different views on the America's Cup

San Francisco, 34th America's Cup Final - Oracle Team USA CEO Larry Ellison  Carlo Borlenghi/Luna Rossa©
A couple of days ago the news starved America's Cup media went into a wheel-spin over a book extract published in the San Francisco Chronicle, where Oracle's Larry Ellison expanded his views on where the next America's Cup could be headed, and how the Challenger Selection could work.

We have refrained from commenting on the Venue discussions for the 35th America's Cup, as it is hard to see the event being staged outside San Francisco.

What is more concerning about Ellison's comments – assuming they are reasonably current - is how prescriptive, someone who is on the Defender side of the equation, is about the way the Challenger Selection Series will be conducted.

Going back to basics, the America's Cup is a Challenger driven event – as we were told so often by the then would-be Challenger, Oracle Racing in their long running legal wrangle with the Defender, Alinghi .

That view was upheld by the New York Supreme Court.

America's Cup World Series Naples, Italy - what is going to change for AC35?  © Lloyd Images/J.P.Morgan BAR

Clearly it is up to the Challengers to say how their event will be run, rather than have this prescribed and detailed by the Defender.

If the America's Cup is to be lifted back to the participation levels of 1987 in Fremantle, then leave it to the Challengers to decide how best to do that. The Defender has enough issues sorting out a venue, where all entered teams can compete.

In this edition of Sail-World.com's newsletter, we have links to two stories that have been published in the US media.

We also have a counter-point from Big Fella, Iain Murray, CEO of Team Australia, the Challenger of Record, videoed at the team launch, last Thursday - before Ellison's comments were published.

Then there is the loaded prospect of running an AC45 series for the Challengers - to determine who will go forward to compete in the AC60-65 selection series, while the Defender knows that they already have an entry in the Match and have more time to spend on research and design.

Would the Defenders compete in a series, in AC45's that is a Challenger Selection Series - albeit just to pick the top four? But as those who followed the Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals in 2007 and prior well know, the final qualifying place was often decided by just a point or two. So Defender influence could be vital in Challenger Selection.

The shortcomings in the Pool system are also obvious. Would Oracle be in the Pacific Pool along with Team New Zealand and Team Australia? How would you feel if you were a Team Japan and Team Korea, knowing that you had to knock off the ANZAC teams to get through to the next round? Same for Europe - what if there are eight European teams and just four Pacific teams - is it fair that only two go forward from each Pool?

Oracle Team USA Sydney, Australia
  Andrea Francolini

Also included is a story, and video from Oracle Team USA, on their training sessions on Sydney Harbour in AC45's.

While Ellison is intent on pushing the AC45 cause as a means of selection, there was the same scenario in the last preliminaries to the Cup, but many of the participants could not go to the next level for financial reasons. That included the initial Challenger of Record, who signed a Protocol which claimed to reduce sailing costs etc etc – but in reality the same Challenger of Record could not raise the finance to mount a credible Challenge, and dropped out after a few months.

The point being that it is not the cost entry point of the America's Cup that matters, but the costs of mounting a Challenge with a realistic chance of winning. No-one goes to sponsor saying 'we are there to make up the numbers' - even those who say they are in it for the next two America's Cups.

Again some very cheap almost single digit millions of dollars were quoted in the 2010-2013 Cup cycle budgets, but that is a far cry from the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars that are actually required to win. And as Defender, Oracle Racing is believed to have spent the most of all the teams.

Team Australia AC45 - Sydney, Australia
  Andrea Francolini

The real issue is not setting a cheap entry level, for the America's Cup, but stopping the well heeled teams spending whatever it takes to win.

Meanwhile the two events competing for the top level yachting sponsorship dollar, Volvo Ocean Race, and the Extreme Sailing Series are progressing nicely.

In this edition we have the latest update as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing undertakes her sea trials off the English coast.

There has been some speculation as to how fast the Volvo Ocean 65's will be. Maybe those questions were answered by Team Brunel returning a 540nm 24 hour run (the record is 596nm set in the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race).

Team Brunel's mark was set on their first real offshore training session – which is an excellent opening bid.

Abu Dahabi OR's Azam sailing in The Solent (England)  Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race©

Emirates Team NZ's Glenn Ashby (AUS) takes a look at the team's effort in the first Act in the Extreme Sailing Series staged at Singapore, and what has to be done for the team to improve in the next round at Muscat, Oman, next week.

In this edition of Sail-World.com's newsletter we feature a story on Team Brunel's fast run, and a commentary from the design team behind the VO65, as to why this latest generation of boats may be the quickest yet. Certainly the reports are that the VO65 is an easy boat to drive hard – and that makes for fast times and speed records.

Brisbane to Keppel start - Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race 2013  Alaine Neilson /RQYS


The Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race can be part of the migratory journey for north bound yachts.

It follows the Sydney Gold Coast yacht race and is ahead of Airlie Beach Race Week, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week and Magnetic Island Race Week.

The 343 nautical miler from Queensland's Moreton Bay to Rossyln Bay at Great Keppel Island will start at midday on Thursday July 31st, 2014.

The Notice of Race has been published and online entry is now open. Details below.

Two West Australian teams, David Gilmour Team Gilmour and Keith Swinton's Black Swan Racing have accepted positions as Tour Card Holders on the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour.

The Alpari World Match Racing Tour today released the list of Tour Card holders for 2014 including; last years winning Taylor Canfield (ISV), four times World Champion Ian Williams (GBR), Keith Swinton (AUS), Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Phil Roberston (NZL), Mathieu Richard (FRA), and Americas Cup tactician Francesco Bruni (ITA) representing Luna Rossa.

'The Tour' consisting of six events across the globe begins in Germany for Match Race Germany, followed by Stena Match Cup Sweden on the island of Mastrand with Sopot Match Race in Poland rounding out the European leg. The tour then heads across to the USA for the Chicago Match Cup and then down to Bermuda for the Argo Group Gold Cup, thence to the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia.


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Abu Dahabi OR's Azam sailing in The Solent (England)  Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race©


Rob Kothe & Richard Gladwell



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Doyle Sails NZ/Stratis Newsletter for Summer 2014
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2014 Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race - Entries now open
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America's Cup: Australia versus USA on Sydney Harbour
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