Next America's Cup in Multihulls, October 2008

Golden Gate YC’s BMW Oracle Racing has broken off negotiations with SNG/Alinghi and will seek to race 33 America’s Cup in multihulls during October 2008.
MCC McCamp

The US America's Cup Challenger, Golden Gate YC has broken off negotiations with Societe Nautique de Geneve/Alinghi, and will seek to race the next America's Cup in multihulls. This would mean that a conventional America’s Cup regatta would not take place until 2011. The GGYC statement follows the latest stonewall tactics by the Swiss defender

The US announcement comes after the Defender had turned down several offers prior to the New York Supreme Court decision, and a subsequent refusal to negotiate and missing meetings set up between skippers, Brad Butterworth and Russell Coutts.

It is not known how many teams will actually be able to survive until 201, given that there is still the opportunity for Appeal and prevarication by the Defender. It is hard to see any teams doing anything other than dissolve, or at best close down operations completely for at least 12 months.

Golden Gate YC issued the following statement:

The Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) said today it will compete for the next America’s Cup according to the basic rules of the Deed of Gift, and will seek to have an upcoming Court Order confirm the regatta for October 2008.

'It is time to move on and know where we stand,' Russell Coutts, CEO of the club’s BMW ORACLE Racing team, said.

'We had hoped to negotiate a conventional regatta under the Deed’s mutual consent provisions. But the Defender has made it clear to us and the America’s Cup community that they will not negotiate. We are now fully committed to a multihull event in 2008.

'If we are able to win, and Valencia and Spain are supportive, we would return to a conventional America’s Cup regatta in Valencia in 2011 with fair and transparent rules agreed with the challengers by mutual consent,' he said.

On 14 January the New York State Supreme Court will review the Court Order to give effect to its 27 November ruling in favor of the GGYC. The club wants to have the Deed of Gift regatta as soon as possible and has asked the Court to provide for this.

The club has made a number of attempts before and since the Court’s 27 November ruling to negotiate a conventional regatta, but the Defender has declined on each occasion to take up these offers.


For the other challengers the announcement will have major consequences.

Firstly, the earliest that there will be a multi-Challenger America's Cup will now be in 2011. That is a ridiculous gap for a same venue Defence, which has previously been three years and was slated to be wound back to a two year gap. The smaller timeframe allowed more sponsor value to given and costs reduced through a greater proportion of time required for racing and a lesser time available for testing and design.

Secondly, it is not known how many teams will actually be able to survive until 2011, given that there is still the opportunity for Appeal and prevarication by the Defender. Further there are currently no interim events scheduled before 2011, and with no targets likely to be set for almost another year, it is hard to see any teams doing anything other than dissolve, or at best close down operations completely for at least 12 months. In that case, whether they come around once the America's Cup defibrillator is applied.

The move from Golden Gate YC is understandable in that it is not really possible, from this point in time, to run dual multihull and AC90 campaigns in the face of a stonewall by the Swiss defender.

However the consequences for the rest of the America's Cup community are very significant and uncertain.
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