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America's Cup - Is an AC50 World Series about to be launched?

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World NZ on 17 Oct 2017
Oracle Team USA - AC50- Match, Day 5 - Race 9 - 35th America’s Cup - Bermuda June 26, 2017 Richard Gladwell
Further to a report published in early October in the Bermudian newspaper the Royal Gazette, touting the return of AC50 racing to Bermuda, a leading Australian yachting commentator and author has published confirmed further details on the event.

Rob Mundle, the voice of Australian yachting and author of the recent biography of Oracle Team USA skipper, Jimmy Spithill has published a story on his website outlining some of the thinking on the regatta which has been on the cards since the end of the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda.

The announcement by the Defender and Challenger of Record for the 36th America's Cup was that they would be reverting to a high performance 75ft monohull could have set the course for the new event.

Overnight Sail-World inquiries internationally revealed that many were aware that the series was in its gestation stage. Other markers and issues also point to to the development and promotion of the new circuit going right back to June 26, 2017 when Emirates Team New Zealand woin the 35th Match for the America's Cup. . The teams involved were all signatories to 'The Framework' a post AC35 agreement between teams as to a strategy post Bermuda. The agreement has never been publicly released other than a set of 'highlights' published in November 2016. The groundwork for The Framework was started two years earlier at a meeting in London to which Emirates Team New Zealand was 'dis-invited'.

Mundle writes:

Larry Ellison, whose syndicate lost the America’s Cup to New Zealand in Bermuda in June this year, is believed to be close to announcing a “World Series of Sailing” based on that regatta.

Reliable sources suggest that the proposed series will be contested at a number of venues around the world. The ultimate prize will be a spectacular trophy provided by French fashion house, Louis Vuitton, which was a major sponsor in Bermuda.

Teams from the USA, Sweden, Japan and France are said to be committed to the event and others are expected to follow, including one possibly headed by two-time Cup winner, Ernesto Bertarelli.

With many of the syndicates involved in “AC35” in Bermuda having retained some of their facilities there, it is now likely that one round of the World Series – possibly the first – would be staged there.

For the rest of this story click here

Only one of the teams from the 35th America's Cup, apart from the winner, Emirates Team New Zealand have announced that they will be entering the 36th America's Cup to be hosted in Auckland or Italy.

That team, British based Land Rover BAR, is missing from the list of entrants published by Rob Mundle. A second team Artemis Racing (Sweden) have said they are looking at the Protocol signed between Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Circolo della Vela Sicilia. However the AC35 Swedish team had only three sailing crew who carry Swedish passports.

If the new circuit does eventuate it would be able to draw on four of the foiling wingsailed AC50 catamarans and may be able to acquire AC50's from non-competing teams. In addition the teams have several AC45S test boats used in the build up to the 35th America's Cup.

Louis Vuitton, the longstanding sponsor of the Challenger Selection Series for the America's Cup is reported to be involved, and the Challengers for the 36th America's Cup will compete instead for the Prada Cup.

It is expected that the new circuit would consist of teams of professional sailors with only very loose country affiliations.

While 35th America's Cup teams were prohibited from competing in other events without the permission of the America's Cup Commissioner, the rules are more relaxed for teams entered in the 36th America's Cup, however the teams are still prohibited from competing in so-called 'Ambush Regattas'.

Rival America's Cup regattas have been mooted many times in the past but have faltered because they are not the America's Cup and lack the prestige to attract sponsorship and commercial backing.

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