Big Fella explains why Team Australia pulled plug on America's Cup
by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team on 21 Jul 2014
The Challenger of Record, Australia's Hamilton Island Yacht Club, has given notice of their intention to resign as Challenger of record for the 35th America's Cup.
Oracle Team USA - second training session in Sydney with Team Australia - AC45's Oracle Team USA© http://www.oracleteamusa.com
In itself, that is not a disaster for the America's Cup. CoR's come and go, and in any event, they exit the scene when they are eliminated during the course of the racing.
The real downside for the 35th America's Cup is that a good team has elected to opt out, reducing the field to five announced Challengers, at this stage.
The Oatley family must be given credit for realising that the America's Cup, the way it is currently structured, is beyond them.
Many will also be quick to point the finger at them saying they were masters of their own demise, when HIYC signed off on the Protocol. However, one gets the impression that for all the Oatley's good intentions to change the America's Cup, they had gotten tired of negotiating with Russell Coutts and his America's Cup Events Authority.
After the HIYC announcement the spotlight has shifted in Coutts' direction, with many questioning just where the whole America's Cup is headed?
It is not unusual for the Challengers to be at loggerheads with the Defender, in fact, it would be a strange America's Cup if that were not the case.
But this is something else again.
Today we feature an interview with Team Australia's Iain Murray as to why HIYC and the Oatley family pulled the pin on their America's Cup campaign, before the entry window had closed.
Time will tell if Coutts and ACEA are on the right path. The strong indications right now are that they are not. It seems their needs to be a major re-think within ACEA.
Hamilton Island Yacht Club CEO, Iain Murray told Sail-World yesterday that the decision to withdraw from the 35th America’s Cup was only made in the last 48 hours.
'This challenge has grown to the point where the gap between the commercial side and the competitive costs' are out of HIYC’s comfort zone
'The Cup campaign has grown into a far bigger cost and potential risk, with which they are not comfortable.'
'We've had a detailed assessment of the campaign, and have had expert advice from a lot of expert companies that deal in the commercial area. Even though I think the commercial feeling is very positive towards the America’s Cup, the timeline is the killer in this Cup.
'Sponsors want to know where the venues are, and the dates. The gap gets pretty wide trying to get the sponsors to commit against the timeline of the expenditure.'
Murray’s comments come after the shock withdrawal of the Challenger of Record for the 35th Match - the second time in the last two America's Cups that this has happened.
The full interview is below.
Lots more news of course … 2014 Governor's Cup - Sam Gilmour wins again,
Date announced for the 41st Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race,
Crosbie Lorimer, with his camera on a tripod captures some pre-LandRover Sydney Gold Coast training,
A moderate result for Australia at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Portugal, with four top ten finishes, not quite the results of years gone past. But it is a young team so we look forward to better results in 2015.
We talked yesterday to a disappointed Mat Belcher, the skipper of the Team Australia America’s Cup entry, as always Mat cheered us up. We will bring you that interview during the week.
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