The entry deadline for the 34th America's Cup has been extended to allow teams further opportunity to get the necessary sponsorship packages signed, and lift the entry level beyond the current three Challengers.
News of the move came in a story posted on the America's Cup website, in the course of an interview with Bruno Peyron, who along with his brother Loick, are trying to assemble a French challenge for the trophy.
Bruno Peryron is responsible for managing the team off the water, including securing the necessary resources that will allow Energy Team to continue to fight against the top teams all the way into the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2013. His brother Loick is the skipper and manages the sailing side of the campaign, which is currently limited to the America's Cup World Series.
The team will be buoyed by a win in Venice - said by Peyron to be the first by a French team in any event associated with the America's Cup (Louis Vuitton Cup, 12-Meter World Championships, Road to the America's Cup regattas, LV Trophy).
Peyron says a Protocol change voted by the competitors in Venice will help: 'Energy Team, along with some of the other teams, requested to move the entry deadline by two months to August 1st. Fortunately, the other challengers and the Defender agreed and voted through a Protocol change, so we now have a little bit more time to secure everything we need for our challenge.'
He says the win on the water in Venice will help as it demonstrates how competitive Energy Team can be, even against the best teams in the world. But he doesn't expect this win will be a magic key that suddenly unlocks the door to riches.
'This result won't change everything overnight. Most of the big corporate sponsors we talk to have always believed we will do well,' he says. 'Their final decision is based on many factors, not just our ability on the water. But this win in Venice certainly helps us show the possibility of success that exists with our team.
Previously Peyron mentioned that an AC72 catamaran program could be undertaken for as little as 16million Euros, with the basic design boat plus basic wingsail costing 8million Euros. That figure is substantially less than the 100million Euro price-tag believed to be attached to the other teams. Two of the challengers are running two-boat AC72 programs, a third, Luna Rossa, is running a single AC72 program. All are expected to have launched before the end of the new entry deadline.
It was also previously stated by America's Cup Regatta Director, Iain Murray that the 1 June 2012 date for the entry into the 34th America's Cup had been set at about the latest point where teams could enter and have a reasonable chance of building and campaigning an AC72 catamaran.
That seems to have changed in an effort to get a larger challenger entry level, which is the lowest since 1983. Changes to the Protocol and issues that pertain to the America's Cup only, have to be approved by the existing Challengers and Defenders, after a Jury ruling, which prevented changes being made to the America's Cup rules by teams that were not even entered in the regatta.
Others spoken to by Sail-World indicated that while the use of the basic design and wing sail would save teams some design work, the building and assembly of components was a complex task. Due to the requirements of the 19th century Deed of Gift which governs the trophy, and the Protocol for the 34th America's Cup, the boats must be built in the country of origin of the challenging club.
Outside of the America's Cup, the French are recognised as being the leading nation in large multihull design and construction, and the Peyron brothers have been at the forefront of this surge. It remains to be seen whether, even they, can pull together the necessary sponsorship, building and sailing program to get on the start line in San Francisco in July 2013.
by Richard Gladwell
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7:14 PM Tue 22 May 2012GMT
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