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America's Cup- British Territory in running to to stage the 35th Match

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com on 17 May 2014
Bermuda is best known as part of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. © OnEdition / WMRT http://wmrt.com/
God save the Queen could be played as the national anthem of the host country instead of the Star-Spangled Banner, at the 35th America's Cup.

Reports are emerging from Bermuda, a British Overseas Territory, that the island has been short listed as a venue for the 2017 regatta. The Royal Gazette says that the territory is one of four venues - the others believed to be San Francisco, San Diego, and Chicago.

Two other USA venues, Hawaii and Newport RI are believed to have dropped off the list.

'The Island submitted a bid to hold the event in March after being approached by organising body the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA).

'Tonight it has been confirmed that, following a visit by an ACEA inspection team, the Island is one of just four locations vying to host the 2017 competition, says the short report in the Royal Gazette.

Another local newspaper, the Bermuda Sun has a more detailed report on the situation: 'The team worked flat-out for three weeks to put together an extraordinary bid document that we submitted to the Authority,' Dr. Gibbons, Minister of Education and Economic Development, said. 'We were subsequently informed that Bermuda had been moved to the second round in which our bid would be considered against three other locations.

'Our team is now in the process of working with the America’s Cup Event Authority to secure corporate sponsorships, which are a prime requirement in determining the successful final bid.'

The Bermuda Sun says that 'in the next month or so, the Authority will narrow the selection to just two possible locations, with the final decision by September. If Bermuda is successful in being selected as one of two final locations, it will be assured a World Series event, which is part of the challenger series for the Cup, regardless of whether it is ultimately successful in its bid to host the Bermuda has an area of just over 50sqkm and is located off the east coast of USA. It is best known as part of the international match racing circuit and being the destination for several offshore classics including the historic Newport RI Bermuda Race.

It is difficult to believe that the island would have sufficient infrastructure to be able to stage an America's Cup. Lack of infrastructure was also also believed to be lacking in Hawaii, which has been eliminated as a venue, along with Newport RI.

Bermuda does not tax the profits of corporations, or have a capital gains tax. It is also the second largest reinsurance centre in the world behind New York.


Meantime there is no official release of the AC62 Class Rule, although this has been sent to the teams as a draft for discussion.

The Protocol seems also to be rather distant, now being two months after the initially touted deadline of March 16.

The key points of delay are believed to be the Defender wanting to participate in the Challenger Selection Series in some way (and being able to influence the outcome of that regatta). The Defender having the option to build two boats compared to the one boat of the Challengers. The notion that the final round of the Challenger Selection Series may be restricted to just four teams, is also causing considerable angst amongst the Challengers.

The delays are believed to be further exacerbated by the Defender trying to extract the maximum commercial benefit from the America's Cup, and trying to extend that across into the Challenger Selection Series and America's Cup World Series. That includes the Defender attempting to control the rights of teams' use of social media, and their ability to commercialise that for their sponsors.

Meanwhile, the commercially backed challenger teams are dead in the water until a venue is confirmed, and wind and other local nuances which have an influence in boat design are known.

The clear preference of the Challengers is for San Francisco as a venue, which is also the home waters of Oracle Team USA and their club the Golden Gate Yacht Club. It was also the much-lauded venue for the 34th America's Cup sailed in AC72 foiling wingsailed catamarans - an event which turbo-charged the public perception of the premier event in sailing.

Only twice in the 162 year history of the America's Cup and 34 Matches, has the venue been been other than that of the home waters of the holder. Those two exceptions were in 2007, when the Swiss based Societe Nautique de Geneve bid the venue and held the regatta in Valencia, Spain. The New York Supreme Court ordered the 33rd America's Cup, sailed between SNG and GGYC in giant multihulls, to also be sailed in Valencia.

The 18th century Deed of Gift which governs the conduct of the America's Cup requires a Challenger to have 'its annual regatta an ocean water course on the sea, or on an arm of the sea'. The phrase implies that the Defence of the Cup should be conducted on the same waters, but does not explicitly state that point.

The reports from Bermuda state that a decision on venue will be made in September. The previous deadline was November 2014, and the commercial teams are expected to begin to break up or withdraw in December 2014 - if indeed they are able to survive financially for another six month of indecision on the core elements of the Cup.

The Challenger for the 34th America's Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand recently declined to enter the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race. The world's most successful sailing team cited the need to conserve financial resources for the six month siege that appears likely while a decision is made on the major issues surrounding the 35th America's Cup.

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