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America's Cup - Bob Fisher scans the Challenger scene

by Bob Fisher on 15 Sep 2017
TeamOrigin skipper, Ben Ainslie debriefs Bob Fisher immediately after the a Louis Vuitton Pacific Series race in the Louis Vuitton Media centre Richard Gladwell
Leading America’s Cup writer, Bob Fisher responds to the news the AC is heading back to monohulls, following three editions in multihulls.

OK, the decision has been reached – the next America’s Cup will be held in monohulled yachts. The announcement was made jointly by the holders, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, and the Challenger of Record, the Circolo della Vela Sicilia, but there were no further details. These were left to speculation and for the past month this has reached a new high.

One thing is certain – this will be a very different monohull to any that have raced for the Cup in the past. Those who had hoped for a return of the J-class, or the 12-Metres, or any of the formulas that were created subsequently, will be disappointed. Patrizio Bertelli, with his Luna Rossa campaign, and the Kiwis intend to agree on an exciting boat that can be raced on a course that can be (relatively) easily viewed by shore-side spectators. Therefore we can only speculate on what will be forthcoming and perhaps we should concentrate on what would be good for sailing in general as well as the Cup.

To that end there must be room for development – all around there are fast monohulls from which much can be learned as to what is good and what is bad (and there is probably more of the latter to avoid). One thing appears certain – the previous Cup defenders will not be in evidence in Auckland, at least that is what Russell Coutts, now back in Auckland, has stated in an e-mail to me: “My understanding is that Oracle/Larry will not be entering.”

It would appear that one Rich American Called Larry Ellison has had enough – the cost of the Cup has proved too high even for him. Which leaves one to wonder just who will show up? Sir Ben indicated, in Bermuda, that Land Rover BAR would continue and it does have the shoreside facilities to handle whatever (within reason) is required. What this team will require is a boost to its already strong technical department – it was shown to be slightly deficient in this area last time – compared with one or two of the other teams.

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