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America's Cup Protocol scene-setter to be released this week

by Richard Gladwell on 23 Jun 2010
First Press Conference - Russell Coutts (BOR) - Vincenzo Onorato (MLA) at the first media conference of the 34th America’s Cup held in Rome on 6 May 2010. BMW Oracle Racing: Guilain Grenier - copyright http://www.oracleracing.com

Sail-World's sources confirmed today that the first version of the 34th America's Cup Protocol would be released this week.

The document which sets out the conditions under which the 34th America's Cup and the Challenger Selection Series will operate will not name the basic tenets of the event - being the boat, the dates and the venue.

These three basics are still the subject of a consultation process, which has no hard edges at this stage.

The Protocol will outline the structures under which it is proposed to run the event, and will combine what have previously been separate documents into a single document for reasons of simplicity. As was done under previous America's Cup Protocols there is some room for negotiation between the parties being the Defender and the Challengers. Sail-World understands that this first document will be a working draft, well short of the final document.

A key to the regatta will be its conduct under independent management and rules rather than at the dictate of the Defending yacht club, and it is believed that it is this area of management and rules on which the first draft of the 34th Protocol will concentrate.

Sail-World understands that trials between two monohulls (RC44's) and two multihulls (Extreme 40's) will get underway off Valencia from 22 to 26 July 2010. The objective of these trials is to test the telegenicity of the two types of boat (being approximately the same size and type) in an America's Cup situation.

The views from that exercise will presumably be put to the wider Challenger group, along with the views that came from the earlier Designer Forum also held in Valencia in late May.

From there the choice will be made as to the choice of boat, which is widely tipped to be an 80ft - 85ft monohull, due primarily with the challengers' comfort with a boat of this size and being close to known America's Cup technology.

Venues are still being actively assessed by the Defender, along with sponsorship and other components of that package. While this too will be subject for some consultation, there is unlikely to be a lot of room for negotiation, as the best deal is likely to be put on the table, with a clear preference being expressed to date, by the prospective teams for a US venue with good wind.

At this stage it is expected that all announcements will be made on the schedule or ahead of the times previously jointly announced by the Defender and Challenger.

The draft Protocol will be an open document, not issued under any confidentiality and will be open to comment by all teams, and others within the America's Cup family.
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