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America's Cup- US events in America's Cup World Series cancelled

by Richard Gladwell on 9 Jan 2013
Oracle Team USA digs the bows in and capsizes at the first mark in the first fleet race of day four of the America’s Cup World Series, San Francisco. SW

In a media conference just concluded the America's Cup Events Authority have announced that the two America's Cup World Series events scheduled for USA have been cancelled.

The events were set down from May 28-30, and May 31 - June 2, 2013. Although no venue was nominated on www.americascup.com, the official website, it was advised that they were to have been held in New York.

The only America's Cup World Series that will be staged will be sailed in Naples, Italy, in three months time starting April 16, 2013.

America's Cup Event Authority CEO, Stephen Barclay, confirmed this morning that Naples had paid the first of their three event fees required to stage the regatta and that it would proceed as scheduled.

The primary reason given for the cancellation of the New York events is that they were too close to the 'Summer of Sailing' which compromises the Louis Vuitton Cup starting on July 4, 2013 and the America's Cup Match starting on September 7, 2013 both in San Francisco.

Hearings are expected to continue over the cancellation of 2013 regatta originally announced for Venice, Italy but not scheduled for reasons not explained at the time, but revealed today, by Stephen Barclay to stem from the non-payment of half of the direct profits from the 2012 Venice America's Cup Regatta, which were said by Barclay to have been reported to be in excess of 10million Euro. ACWS organizers had apparently struck a deal with the Venetians for a lower than usual event fee in return for a profit share.

When no payment was made the ACWS regatta originally announced for Venice was switched to Naples.

The move announced by ACWS will also quell conjecture that Emirates Team New Zealand would not send a full team to the New York/USA ACWS events, due to the fact that it would compromise to the teams AC72 work up in San Francisco. A story, since denied by the team, was published saying that Emirates Team NZ would be represented instead by a Youth Team.

A protest by the Italian Luna Rossa team over the scheduling and timing of the New York ACWS regattas was rejected earlier this month, by the International Jury, and it would appear that the Italians have now effectively won their point. The America's Cup Events Authority and America's Cup Events Management both made submissions in favour of staging the US regattas in New York, but the scheduling of the regattas in New York, USA was essentially opposed by the three Challengers involved - Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa. The International Jury did not rule on the merits of the claim, instead rejecting it on the basis that the protest was lodged outside the 14 day period in which a complaint must be lodged, as soon as the circumstances become known.

Luna Rossa also complained of the switch of venue of the Italian regatta from Venice to Naples, saying that it had cost them sponsorship. The Int Jury ruled that ACEA had the right to schedule and publish regattas in the ACWS series. When questioned today on whether writs could be applied to the masts of competitors in the ACWS event now scheduled for Naples, Barclay said they were not worried about any impounding actions on competitors boats.

Barclay added that they expected all teams would compete in the Naples round of the America's Cup World Series, including China Team and Team Korea, however with the exception of Oracle Team USA, other teams with two AC45 catamarans - Luna Rossa and Artemis Racing - would only race one boat in Naples.

The dropping of the two New York ACWS regattas will erode the impact on sailing schedule of Defender Oracle Team USA, of the recent Int Jury penalty imposed after the team was found to have broken the surveillance provisions of the America's Cup Protocol in respect to photographing Luna Rossa's AC72 at close range in Auckland, NZ.

Under the Protocol governing the 34th America's Cup, the teams are not permitted to sail their AC72's, used for the 34th America's Cup, when there is an America's Cup World Series underway.

The US team is expected to launch their second AC72 in April 2013, however they - like all other teams have to sail in the Naples ACWS from April 16 - 21. The team's penalty imposed by the Int Jury was that they could not sail in the period April 26-30, meaning that there was a five day window available for sailing the AC72 - part of which would have been lost returning from Italy to San Francisco. As matters stood, the team, along with the three Challengers, would then have had the disruption of a further no-sail period of six days around the end of May when the New York ACWS regattas were to have been held.

The US team now has a clear run in their preparation for the Defence once they exit their penalty period on April 30. For the Challengers they are now clear to concentrate exclusively on their AC72 programs from April 22, 2013, with the first day of sailing in the Louis Vuitton Cup getting underway over two months later on July 4, 2013.

The staging of the Naples round of the America's Cup World series April 16-21, is expected to overlap with the transition period for Emirates Team NZ and Luna Rossa to pack up their AC72 programs in Auckland and move to San Francisco. Challenger of Record, Artemis Racing are the least affected of all the teams - being already San Francisco based, and with only the Naples round of the ACWS as their no-sail period in the AC72's.

Stephen Barclay also commented that while no withdrawal had been notified by Team Korea from the America's Cup Regatta, the event organizers had seen no discernable building activity from the team, despite having ordered the requisite materials. It was therefore assumed that they would not be competing in the Louis Vuitton Cup and the first Challenger would not be eliminated until the conclusion of the semi-finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Barclay also confirmed that there had been some discussion amongst the Challengers about continuing with the America's Cup World Series beyond the 34th America's Cup, and indeed for an ACWS event to be held post the America's Cup in 2013. He said no teams were against running an event immediately after the 34th America's Cup, however there was concerns from the teams about being encumbered with liabilities from the ACWS, particularly if Oracle Team USA did not mount a successful Defence.

Barclay added that in comparison to other similar sports events, the ACWS was remarkably cheap to stage, and if the profits from Venice 2012 are to be believed, then the direct return is more than double the previously stated event fee of around USD5million.
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