Please select your home edition
Edition
Protector 728x90

America's Cup- Challenger calls Competitor Meeting ahead of deadline

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World.com/nz on 11 Jul 2014
Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team NZ - 34th America’s Cup. The AC72's are now just a liability says Iain Murray Carlo Borlenghi/Luna Rossa http://www.lunarossachallenge.com
Hamilton Island Yacht Club, the America’s Cup Challenger of Record, has taken the initiative and called a meeting of potential Challengers for the 35th America’s Cup, ahead of the close of entries in less than a month’s time.

The meeting will be a face to face meeting with about seven Challenger teams attending plus the Defender, Oracle Team USA.

The circuit-breaking development came midway through an interview with the Challenger of Record's CEO Iain Murray. The point was raised that extending back into the period of the 1987 America’s Cup and through to 2009, Competitor Forums and Meetings were a regular part of the America’s Cup cycle. Murray was asked by Sail-World.com why these had not yet been called in the current America's Cup cycle.

'We are not waiting until the entries close. We’ll be having a meeting very shortly. It will be face to face, and they have to attend in person,' Murray replied.

'I’m not at liberty to say where it will take place, but it is going to happen very shortly.'

'The meeting was instigated by HIYC’s Michael Jones after many discussions with teams. There are a lot of things that need discussion.'

Oracle Team USA would be at the meeting by invitation of a majority of the potential Challengers. Of the seven teams attending, all would be known names in the current America’s Cup round.

Responding to consternation about the Venue selection process and time taken, Murray says: 'Coutts is going about his business. He’s narrowed it down to two venues.'

Murray says that there was a lot of consultation with the Oracle team in drafting the protocol but much less in the last month. 'But we did meet up with Russell Coutts in London last Monday. All he said was that he was going to narrow it down to two (venues) by the end of the week - which he's done - and has been true to his word. He didn’t elaborate.'

'Russell Coutts is going through a process. He said he had laid down criteria, financially and support-wise. The candidates were meeting the criteria. He didn’t say why he chopped Chicago out of the mix. From a sailing venue perspective, it probably would have been the most difficult in terms of weather conditions.

Murray says he understands that other teams have entered, but he didn’t know who they were. He assumed that those teams had paid the required entry fees. But noted that under the Protocol they don’t get accepted until there are three Challengers, plus Team Australia.

'The bottom line is that they probably won’t accept anyone until the end of the Entry Period,' he added.

When asked about the level of consultation going on between Oracle Team USA CEO, Russell Coutts and the teams, Murray said that: 'I’m sure that he’s talking to most teams.'

When told that Team NZ had confirmed only yesterday to Sail-World, that they had not been spoken to by Coutts (aside from the receipt of standard documents - Class Rule and Protocol) since the America’s Cup, Murray chuckled in a very unsurprised manner.


Murray said he did not believe there was a stand-off going on between the potential Challengers and Russell Coutts, who is running the Event Management side of the 35th America’s Cup.

'I don’t think there is a stand-off. I think you could read that, but I don’t think that is the case. Some people haven’t entered for good reasons. They have to get their house in order in terms of the entry process, and qualifying and that sort of thing.

'I think that by the beginning of August you will see then entries come in.' (Entry deadline is August 8, 2014)

The main items that Murray expected to be covered at the Competitors Meeting included the split venues, talk about the selection of the Regatta Director, and look to the future of the America’s Cup. 'I think there are people looking at the AC72’s and asking what they are going to do with them. We have to make sure that we start planning for the future.'

Long time America’s Cup insiders have become very frustrated with the direction taken by US organisers towards the 35th America’s Cup. With a more open and inclusive approach many believe that a much better event could be created from the base established at the 2013 America's Cup.

Murray doesn’t quite see it like that. 'I think there is a willingness, of people to try to work together. We have asked for a meeting, and people are coming. I think that is a good sign.'

Responding to the point that at least four of the Challengers had expressed a clear preference for a return to San Francisco, Murray responded: 'I’m sure we would all rather sail in San Francisco. But the difference in offering by the other venues to San Francisco is substantial.'


The lack of inclusion of potential Challengers into key decisions around the next Match and its preliminaries has been a sore point with many of the teams. Several say they are holding out for key details to specified before they will front with an entry and over $3million in fees. ($2milion in deposits to Regatta Directors Fund to cover the costs of running the regattas and officials, and a $1million Performance Bond)

Murray chuckles at the suggestion.' They can probably say all they want, but how much traction it gets remains to be seen.'

'A lot of the teams would prefer one event (single venue only). It gets to the point with numbers when we'd only have one event. We know if there are only four teams we only have one event. If there are five or six, then we have to ask if, for all the extra cost, is it all worthwhile?'

'But in other ways the split event does afford other opportunities. In that situation we have to look at venue, the time gap, and the relocation costs. No-one wants to spend lots of money flying things around the planet. We all want it to be as efficient as we can. It is not like everyone is rolling in money. We all have to be responsible.'

Both venues also suffer to some extent with wind issues. 'San Diego does not have the same reliability with wind as we had in San Francisco.'

‘I think there is some flexibility in course layouts in Bermuda,’ he added.

The available leg length in both venues does not faze Murray, who was Regatta Director for the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco. 'If you want to do 25 minute courses of three laps in lighter breezes, then there might be legs of just 1.5nm,' he said.

Murray’s 'lighter breeze' was 10-15kts, and he was confident of getting that for much of the time in San Diego Bay. 'There are times when you will get no wind. It’s not as regular as San Francisco. We were in San Diego for two Cup cycles in 1992 and 1995, and there was often breeze in the harbour – it just got lighter when we went offshore.'


Murray says he has raised the issue of port traffic and restricted areas in San Diego, which is a major US naval port, and has been told: 'it is under control'.

'On the Cup venue, we are not consulted. In the Qualifiers, we do have a piece of the decision – we can make a recommendation but we don’t get to decide,' he explains.

'Under the Protocol, the America’s Cup Event Authority makes a decision on the Venue.'

Another item on the agenda for the Competitor Meeting will be the longevity of the America’s Cup yachts, and use of the AC62’s beyond just one America’s Cup cycle.

'We tried to get a whole lot of things agreed at the America’s Cup World Series in Venice in May 2012. We wanted to talk about the future, and get consistency in the boats, and the type of racing. But we couldn’t get people to buy into it.'

'Every team is trying to look at their future long term. Running on an event by event basis is very difficult. Any serious professional sporting team would love to be promoting itself over a longer range. I think it is in everyone’s interest to look at the America’s Cup as a long term exercise.'

That wider game includes looking at putting value into the teams and their assets for the America’s Cup, so they have a long term use, and aren’t just throwaway assets and start-ups each cycle. There should be some hand-down technology to teams who are just coming into the America’s Cup event.

'The AC72’s are now, unfortunately, a liability, he says. 'At least Larry turned the big boat from 2010 into a monument!'

Mackay BoatsGiacomo Yacht SaleInsun - AC Program

Related Articles

An interview with Patrick Kennedy about the Ida Lewis Distance Race
I interviewed Patrick Kennedy, chair of the 2017 ILDR, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution. With this year’s Ida Lewis Distance Race set to unfurl the weekend of August 18-20, I caught up with Patrick Kennedy, chair of the 2017 ILDR, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the event’s new partnership with the 2017 J/Fest New England.
Posted on 14 Aug
An interview with Marianne Davis about the CORK International Regatta
I interviewed Marianne Davis, co-chair of the CORK International Regatta, to learn about the regatta’s state of affairs. While the various CORK regattas' registration lists include international sailors, these events are some of the gemstones in Sail Canada’s yearly championship calendar, making them of extra importance to Canadian sailors. I recently caught up with Marianne Davis, co-chair of the 2017 event, via email, to learn more about the CORK International Regatta’s evolution and its current state of affairs.
Posted on 7 Aug
A Q&A with the RORC’s Nick Elliott about the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race
I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email, to learn more about the world-famous Rolex Fastnet Race. When one stops to consider the world’s best ocean races, the Royal Offshore Racing Club’s Rolex Fastnet Race, which starts on Sunday, August 6, 2017, is never far from mind. I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the amount of work that goes into pulling off this world-famous regatta.
Posted on 1 Aug
Ian Walker - Musto Ambassador on the Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup
Ian Walker on his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup We speak to Musto ambassador Ian Walker about his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup, his new desk job, sailing for fun, and 20 years of the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
Posted on 23 Jul
Black Jack Yachting. Bigger boat. Bigger team. Even bigger performance
Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus. Some were sail makers, like Skipper Mark Bradford and also Vaughan Prentice from North Sails’ Brisbane loft. Others were riggers, such as Bruce Clarke, and there are even boat builders, like Gary van Lunteren, as well as Ash Deeks.
Posted on 20 Jul
A Q&A with Tom Trujillo about the Transpacific Race’s 49th running
Sail-World interviewed Tom Trujillo, the Transpac Race’s PRO, via email to learn more about this classic bluewater race. The Transpac Race (est 1906) is in a rarefied group of four races that are considered sailing’s greatest bluewater Corinthian challenges, and it welcomes a wildly diverse fleet of bluewater-worthy boats. The 49th running of this classic race is currently underway, so Sail-World caught up with Tom Trujillo, the race’s principal race officer, via email to learn more.
Posted on 7 Jul
Gladwell's Line - America's Cup returns to its new home and thinking
Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness and will open a new era of America's Cup, New Zealand and World Sailing. A rookie crew won the most prestigious trophy in sailing, and one of the most difficult to win in any sport.
Posted on 29 Jun
SuperFoilers Are Go!
SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets in the great scheme of things, they come together in the one form as harmoniously as a Rolls Royce, and also deliver intense energy way past the sum of their parts, just like some amazing band.
Posted on 28 Jun
A Q&A with Kimball Livingston about San Francisco high school sailing
I emailed with my friend and colleague Kimball Livingtston to learn about San Francisco’s latest sailing revolution. I started hearing whispers of shifts in the San Francisco Bay high school sailing scene a couple of months ago. A few inquiries led me to my good friend and colleague Kimball Livingston, a world-class sailor, scribe, and StFYC staff commodore who isn’t one to keep his seaboots dry when the topic turns to opportunities for the next sailing generation. I caught up with KL via email to learn more.
Posted on 13 Jun
A Q&A with Andrew Howe about winning the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Andrew Howe, the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race’s winning co-navigator, to learn more about their race. In 2015, skipper Greg Marston and the crew of Ti, a 1967 Alden Mistral, racing under celestial rules, were the overall winners of the Marion Bermuda Race Founders Division, beating boats that were enjoying GPS accuracy. On the eve of the 2017 edition of the race, I reached out to Andrew Howe, the team’s co-navigator, to gain perspective on this impressive win and hear about his 2017 plans.
Posted on 7 Jun