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Sail-World.com : May 18, 2014: Auld Mug in Bermuda; Foilers in Auckland; Boat Show pix
May 18, 2014: Auld Mug in Bermuda; Foilers in Auckland; Boat Show pix

'Volvo Ocean Race: VO60 Team SCA powers out of Newport en route to Europe'    George Bekris ©

Editorial: Has the America's Cup lost its way?

Welcome to Sail-World.com New Zealand for May 18, 2014

The America's Cup has taken another curious turn, with the news out late in the week that the America's Cup Event Authority had approached Bermuda to stage the 35th America's Cup.

That would move the regatta out of USA, and arguably sailed in Britain, as the tiny island is a British Overseas Territory.

The Bermuda bid is clearly aimed at the commercialisation of the America's Cup, with scant regard for the dictates of the Deed of Gift.

With the Defenders attempting to take over the conduct of the Challenger Selection Series (formerly the Louis Vuitton Cup), and run the series of supporting regattas, one wonders where the next strange turn will come.

Certainly there does not seem to be any hurry to get a Protocol or Venue named for the event, already eight months have passed. The Protocol for the 34th America's Cup was announced seven months after the conclusion of the 33rd Match - and that came off the back of a two and a half year Court case and the accompanying acrimony, which all but destroyed the event.

Foiled - Club Marine Winter Series Race 1 - Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron -  RNZYS - Stephen Craig Media   Click Here to view large photo

The Class rule for the new AC62 is in circulation. That is a good move. The new rule would seem to be a collaborative effort between the teams from the AC72 era, with the experiences being shared between two top design teams - who both got some things right and others wrong.

However without the Protocol, and more particularly without the Venue, the potential Challengers have no story to tell sponsors.

Both items should have been much easier after the success of the 34th America's Cup.

The Protocol had been worked over and changed regularly. It was a living document, and while some may be uncomfortable with that approach, it is consistent with other sports which deal with issues on the fly and quickly effect change.

Yamaha stand Day 2 - Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show 2014 - Day 2 -  © Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo

The venue should have been a no-brainer off the back of the success of San Francisco. For sure there are local issues with authorities etc, but in its simplest form the America's Cup is just a yacht race. There were no indications from the Port that a permit would not be approved after the last event. And a coming ready or not approach is often a better way to deal with bureaucracy, than seeking permission.

After all, bureaucrats come and go, but the America's Cup has been around for three centuries.

Probably the most disconcerting issue is that going back to when the America's Cup was held in Auckland, the San Francisco based teams were the most vociferous as to how the Cup should be run and managed.

Ernesto Bertarelli may have rubbed people up the wrong way in 2007, but he was able to create an event that had preliminary regattas, while the Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup regattas produced a healthy surplus for the teams.

Formula Kiteboard Youth and Masters World Championships 2014 -  Francesco Nonnoi  

Off the back of the 2007 regatta in Valencia, he was properly taken to task for trying to acquire all Challenger rights, and it was San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club, which became the champion of the challengers.

Many assumed after that legal era concluded that the Cup would be on track for some glorious years, with Golden Gate YC practicing what they had preached.

Bertarelli was portrayed as the villain of that America's Cup saga, but it takes two to tango.

Having taken the stance they had with the Swiss, Golden Gate YC had the responsibility to get the America's Cup show to a level where it should be. For sure, people were forgiving that the process would initially take some time, and cut Golden Gate some slack in the lead up to 2013.

Rolex maxi world championships 2013,final day -  jesusrenedo.com   Click Here to view large photo

Generally Golden Gate lived up to expectations, getting the formula right, particularly with taking the event to the general public and enthusing a new, bigger group of fans.

But what is happening now, with six good teams lined up to challenge, is inexcusable.

The delay over the venue announcement would seem to have no sound basis, save for local politics within San Francisco.

While Golden Gate play around trying to get a good formula better, they are burning off potential teams and sponsors. By the time the Defenders are ready to party, many of the Challengers will have died waiting.

Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship 2014 -  © Rolex-Daniel Forster  
The latest development in the search for an event venue is both perplexing and deeply concerning.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

sailworldnzl@gmail.com

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Day 2 - 2014 Audi Tron Melges 32 Sailing Series -  Stefano Gattini- Studio Borlenghi  

Henry Sprague crosses Rob Hemming upwind - Finn Class North American Championships 2014 -  Rich Roberts  

2014 Melges 32 Audi Tron Sailing Series -  Carlo Borlenghi ©  


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1:57 AM Sun 18 May 2014GMT


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Related News Stories:

09 Apr 2014  Gladwell's Line: Changing the Guard at ETNZ Palace
27 Feb 2013  America's Cup: The Beginning of the End
30 Jan 2013  America's Cup: The End of the Beginning
28 Dec 2012  America's Cup: Thirty days on the AC72 clock
10 Aug 2012  London Olympics 2012: Sailing Olympics News - Day 12
09 Aug 2012  London Olympics 2012: Sailing Olympics News - Day 11
08 Aug 2012  London Olympics 2012: Sailing Olympics News - Day 10
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26 Sep 2008  Day 1 of Nations Cup Qualifier - AUS and NZL
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