Italian Team Withdraws From The America’s Cup

April 2, 2015

[Updated] Saying that the decision was made following a “careful evaluation of the serious implications of this unprecedented initiative,” Italian team Luna Rossa has confirmed that it will withdraw from the America’s Cup.

Luna Rossa was one of six teams scheduled compete in the 2017 America’s Cup, along with defending champion Oracle Team USA, Artemis Racing from Sweden, Ben Ainslie Racing from Great Britain, Emirates Team from New Zealand and Team France.

The Italians had threatened to withdraw last month over the rule change allowing for smaller boats, with the Associated Press reporting that it is “believed that the Italians have already spent tens of millions of dollars designing their 62-foot catamaran.”

A statement from the team said, “The result of the vote proposed by the Event Authority with the agreement of the Defender of the 35th America’s Cup has overturned, with a majority vote, the America’s Cup Class Rule for the boat with which this edition will be held; this happened notwithstanding the fact that such rule had been previously adopted unanimously by the teams and was in force since June 2014.

“Following a careful evaluation of the serious implications of this unprecedented initiative, Team Luna Rossa confirms that it will withdraw from the 35th America’s Cup.

“Team Luna Rossa indeed considers illegitimate the procedure adopted and founded on an evident abuse of process by surreptitious use of procedures to modify the Protocol in order to overturn the Class Rule, which instead requires the unanimity of the teams entered.

Luna Rossa training in Cagliari in 2014:

Luna Rossa

“This is an attempt to introduce boats that are substantially monotypes and in total contrast with the ultra-centennial tradition of the America’s Cup, not to mention a two-month extension period to introduce further modifications to the rules, decided by the majority.

“All of the above contributes to a lack of credibility and uncertain technical grounds for what should instead be the most sophisticated sailing competition in the world.

“This radical change also implies a waste of important resources already invested based on the rules that were sanctioned in June last year. This means that the claim to reduce costs reveals itself as a pure pretext aimed to annihilate research and development achievements of some teams, and to favor instead preconceived technical and sporting positions by means of changing the most important element in the competition, the boat.

“As a confirmation of this, it is important to underline the fact that Luna Rossa frequently advanced proposals aimed at containing costs that however would not have changed the nature of the boats, but these proposals have systematically been rejected by the Defender.

“Team Luna Rossa has also taken into consideration the possibility to protest through the Arbitration Panel as foreseen by the Protocol; it has however noted that, ten months after signing the Protocol, the Defender is only now initiating the first formal procedures to compose this important body. This fact contributes to making the entire governance of the Event even less credible and reliable.

“Team Luna Rossa regrets the repercussions that this difficult decision will have on the members of the Team – although it will honor all of its contractual obligations – and on the sailing event planned to take place in Cagliari next June and obviously understands the disappointment of the many fans who have supported Luna Rossa during the last four editions of the America’s Cup.”

Patrizio Bertelli declared: “I want to thank the whole team for its hard work during this past year; regretfully this effort has been frustrated by this manoeuvre that is unprecedented in the history of the America’s Cup.

“However, in sports, as in life, one cannot always go for compromise, after compromise, after compromise; sometimes it is necessary to make decisions that are painful but must be clear cut, as only these can make everybody aware of the drifts of the system and therefore set the basis for the future: respect of legality and sportsmanship”.

Update 7.53pm: In response to Luna Rossa’s statement, the America’s Cup said they are “disappointed to learn that Luna Rossa intends to withdraw its challenge for the 2017 America’s Cup. While we have not yet received a formal notice of withdrawal, we take the team’s media statement that they are leaving the America’s Cup as real.”

“I know all are disappointed with this decision taken by Luna Rossa, especially based upon their significant history in the America’s Cup,” said Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller.

“Since we started the Competitor Forum, I’ve worked closely with skipper Max Sirena on many issues facing the America’s Cup and our teams. We offered a range of solutions for reducing costs by introducing a new America’s Cup Class. Unfortunately Luna Rossa wasn’t prepared to accept the majority decision, as written in accordance with the rules of the event.

“It’s difficult to understand this withdrawal when our shared purpose has been to control expenses, encourage additional entries and build a better future for the Cup. It’s even more puzzling as it was Luna Rossa who insisted on the switch to majority rule on these issues.

“But looking at the bigger picture, the America’s Cup is now more accessible for new teams and with a new generation of people like Ben Ainslie, Nathan Outteridge, Jimmy Spithill, Franck Cammas and Pete Burling we have a strong foundation for a very competitive event,” added Mr Schiller.

Update 8.16pm: Emirates Team New Zealand said they are “deeply saddened by the news of the withdrawal from the America’s Cup of Luna Rossa, one of the most established, respected and admired brands in the history of the event. Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa are close allies and share common values of fair play and integrity.”

Tweet sent by the New Zealand team today:

Fullscreen capture 422015 81654 PM

Team CEO Grant Dalton today said, “We are quite frankly in disbelief that the continued actions of the America’s Cup Event Authority have lead to the withdrawal of our great friends Luna Rossa.

“It sends a clear and unmistakable message that the self-serving manoeuvring of rules within sports oldest trophy has consequences for not only the America’s Cup but also all of sailing. “

“Emirates Team New Zealand have filed its case on the illegal withdrawal of Auckland as the qualifier regatta venue with the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel and will be making no further comment at this time.”

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Comments (71)

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  1. Future Alliance says:

    This is the PLP’s fault, during their 14 years they left us with 2.2 billion of debt and they also made Italian Team quit Bermuda’s AC2017

    • swing voter says:

      That’s right! that’s right! looser!

    • Robin Dixon says:

      Not even humorous Future Alliance. You are stirring the pot in a time when everyone needs to heal.

    • Ella says:

      Yeah, I heard that Fahey wouldn’t give them permits to work down Bermudiana Road when they weren’t sailing… (easy Robin kidding!)

    • You mean the Elite are contentious too
      This is Pathetic and Embarrassing

    • and iI'm sticking to it says:

      I wish you people will take note of what this blogger and amongst other bloggers do…always blaming the PLP for every little thing. waste of time

  2. mr speaker says:

    This is bad news

    • Daytime High-Beam says:

      Yep. 35,000 fewer visitors and 350,000 fewer visitation nights. The uber-wealthy and uber-eccentric and uber-arrogant Oricle team better pick up the slack now or it’s gonna be a long two year ‘build-up’ to a flop.

      • Creamy says:

        It’s being done to reduce cost.
        You see how things happen in the real world?

  3. What went wrong says:

    That’s not good!

    Politics aside, sad for Bermuda!

  4. sufferingfromwithdrawal says:

    Such a shame.

  5. Jeremy Deacon says:

    Let us hope no-one else does the same ….

  6. By them withdrawing doesn’t stop the event from taking place…Of course we hear that the Emirates Team, New Zealand may also withdraw but it still doesn’t stop the event.
    Sad for them and their supporters but we,(meaning Bermuda) will still benefit from this regatta in more than one way.

    • PBanks says:

      Still though. One fewer team, one fewer set of supporters and partners (both business and personal) coming to the island, it’s just bad news all around. A right shame.

      • @ PBanks: Yes, it’s bad news but, it’s not the end of the world :-)

        • Mockingjay says:

          And it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if we didn’t host it, as some of you think.

          • Christopher Notoriouss (C James) says:

            It would certainly reduce a few potential PRCs

          • Creamy says:

            So you don”t care about the jobs it will bring. Got it.

  7. Ryan W says:

    Not surprising, given the history of the event. The America’s Cup has always been controversial. The last America’s Cup had only, I think, three or four competitors when all was said and done. The Cup before had even fewer.

  8. Terry says:

    Fact is as some have stated but not covered this is terrible news for Bermuda.

    Spending millions of dollars for structure, housing, logistics et al means were not gonna come out ahead as thought.

    Irony is this has nothing to do with Bermuda just a bunch of billionares sparing.



    Can’t wait for the politics to start.


  9. chip says:

    Easy come easy go ? ( oh no ) looks like less will show fight numbers going low? Who bright idea or I deal was this ?

    • jt says:

      If we didn’t already know what makes you tick…we do now.

  10. Trulytruly says:

    I read that Germany might sign up for AC35. So we lose Italy and maybe gain Germany.

    • Trulytruly says:

      I imagine the Organisers were also fully aware of other teams being interested in the wings because of the significantly lower entry costs.

    • Soooo says:

      There is also a whisper that Japan may also be interested (now that the boat size has been reduced).

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Hadn’t heard about Germany, but there are whispers of a possible Chinese entry and the reason Australia didn’t enter was cost related, this might give them cause to rejoin.

  11. Unbelievable says:

    It’s funny though….I’ve been reading comments on various stateside websites and there are people who are using incredibly aggressive language because of the fact that Bermuda is the 2017 host.
    You think the political blogging in Bermuda issued, these other folks are downright awful humans.

  12. C James says:

    They obviously heard that there aren’t enough Italian Restaurants here.

  13. Ombudsman says:

    april fools

  14. Karma says:

    I hope they all pull out. the way the OBA is treating their people, the secrets…has cost many their jobs. American Cup who is next? break the contract.Keep it coming!!!

    • Karma Karma Karma , Karma Chameleon says:

      Karma, you are a twisted and sick individual, but if nothing else you and Mockingjay are consistent.

      Secrets and OBA? may I remind you about Quigars or the PLP election night, you remember “we had to deceive you”. I assume you are still hanging on to what you refer to as Jetgate. But why didn’t you complain when Dr. Brown took a ride on his friends Privatejet, you know the Globalhue benefactor.At least Jetgate involved $0 of the publics money. Globalhue cost how many millions!

      OBA cost us jobs? The jobs were lost during the PLP years and solely because of PLP ministers policies and attitudes.

      Just wondering , where you this happy every year that Tiger Woods pulled out of the Grandslam or didn’t make it!

      • alarmed says:

        get your emotions in check, and then maybe you might see how ridiculously biased you sound, like really?

        • Anbu says:

          Ur joking me right?! Who is more biased than the pee el pee voting base? Emotions in check?! Ha! Who walked out of cabinet when they didnt get their way? Bunch of toddlers up there. Again a foot in the mouth by an obviously biased pee el pee supporter. Go do something constructive.

  15. C James says:

    They discovered their boat was going to be made by Fiat.

    (Fix it again Tony).

  16. Hut says:

    maybe the Germans will enter

  17. iabingi says:

    I’m building a Bermuda Sloop to race filling the void created by their departure….anyone care to join in?

  18. Kathy says:

    I hope there will still be the America’s Cup….if most of them withdraw, is it much fun to race by yourself?

    • Daytime High-Beam says:

      Oracle would love that. They’d beat themselves up patting themselves on their back for being the ‘sole survivor’. Unfortunately the most arrogant seem to win so often, maybe we also should be such losers like that to feel like winners. (and they’re not even from the United States to a greater extent than most realize!). Bring on the Chermans!!

    • Look at the bright side, you can’t lose. In all honesty, I believe many are fretting too much. Of course the race will still be happening though it may not be them who we’d initially expected, but there will be an America’s Cup held here in Bermuda!

  19. Truth is killin' me... says:

    More teams will sign up. The Italians loss!!

  20. Coffee says:

    With 77 million of Bermuda taxpayer dollars invested , the UBP/OBA had better send Micheal Fayhe over to Italy with a court injunction in hand !

    • Creamy says:

      It isn’t 77 milllion. Another PLP myth.
      You lot aren’t good with details are you.

      • Coffee says:

        I guess Grant Gibbons didn’t cc you in on it … He told the rest of the world though … $77 million was the figure … Go figure !

        • Creamy says:

          Nope. That’s the myth number. Like it was 6,000 prc’s. Amd like there were 100 buyers lined up for Grand Atlantic. Myths.

          • Coffee says:

            It wasn’t a myth to Larry Ellison . The only reason Bermuda ‘ WON’ The Americas Cup is because we bought it for $77 million . $40 million more than San Francisco hosted it for in ’13 and lost $10 million !
            Give Grant a call . You have his number . You defend everything UBP/OBA . Drill down get the facts . C.W.Nevius of SFGATE wrote a very telling excellent piece about the antics of your savior Larry Ellison . Not me , not PLP , nothing to do with small irrelevant Bermuda on the world stage , never heard of Bernews either .

    • Ex Ex-pat says:

      Well it’s Bermuda, there aren’t really any rules…..

  21. steve says:

    77 million dollars investment makes a good countryman nervous. 800 million dollars gone completely missing leaves a good countryman paralyzed with fear.

    • @ Steve. To “them”, it just didn’t happen…Sad yes, but true :-(

      • Coffee says:

        If that happened , then a premier resigned in disgrace behind it !

        • steve says:

          Sure coffee I will agree you. A campaign donation for 300k goes missing and the premier resigns and I have yet to hear an explanation that satisfies an open mind. Its disgraceful and when team players soft pedal with “not so bad cause it wasn’t our tax dollar” childish/ethically empty statement.
          And also,The many hundreds of million gone missing during Party prior is a damaging embarrassment and a crime against all who pay taxes and more of a crime against those who will now have little or no benefit from government funded social spending. … there are many muffled conspiracy theory’s to choose from.
          During times like this,i stroll up to Abbotts Cliff,lean over the sea and yell “BULLS%#IP”

          perhaps the next time a politician lies to cover up his dishonesty and I have to stroll back to Abbotts for another BS scream…I will look out and see that fantastic, amazing Italian Catamaran sailing through the channel.

          Great wknd all

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      That happened during the Dream Years. It is all supposed to be forgotten, like it never happened.

  22. wait what says:

    there are only 6 boats racing in the world boat cup? im baffled

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Yeah, & there is only one country in the World Series baseball games. Your point?

    • Ex Ex-pat says:

      It’s not the boat world cup, just a regatta, all be it a big boys one. and @Triangle, the world series was sponsored by a company The New York World. Like the America’s cup is just the name of the first winning boat from a race in the UK.

  23. Triangle Drifter says:

    Will one of our Italian Ambassadors be going over to try to get them to reconsider. Doesn’t matter which one. The one on Bermudiana Road or Watlington Road.

  24. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    @ Triangle Drifter

    I find my self on many occasions agreeing with your comments, you are absolute right.

    Apparently, Luna Rossa has spent millions as have many other competitors.

    We all know it takes years to effect changes, which are not always for the better and takes less than a minute in haste to say No !

    I would have thought for a sporting event of this magnitude that rule changes for what ever reason, the competitors should be given timely notice and not which could be considered to be at the eleventh hour.

    Conversely, over the years since the inception of the America Cup, last minute minor boat changes or improvements if you will, have been made for the advancement of sailing, the shape, style and type of boats have seen many variations since the very elegant and graceful “J” class yacht. The name of the game today is speed

    Italy is a country where design creativity and innovation are paramount.

    Bermuda has gained a reputation as a friendly and hospital destination,
    towards that goal, we in the true spirit of sportsmanship should send representatives wearing red Bermuda Shorts and bearing gifts to meet with Luna Rossa to convince them to re consider and come here to race, it will be a sad day for the sport of sailing if Luna Rossa stays away.

  25. outkasted says:

    Oh dear…” I’m taking my marbles and going home…SO There!”

  26. Tony Brannon says:

    Italy pull out of Bermuda – Talk about throwing your toys out of the pram :(

    OR is it that the sponsor PRADA’s financial performance and massive sales slump has contributed to the decision not to sponsor ?

    It will be a big loss to lose the ITALIANS…..

    Perhaps the Italians should find a new SPONSOR…… Luxottica is a company with MEGA $$$$ that could step up and sponsor an Italian team ! It would be great to have an ITALIAN team in Bermuda…

    In 2014 Luxottica Group posted net sales of more than Euro 7.6 billion. This company makes of 80% of ALL the worlds sunglasses….. A much bigger Co than Prada !

    “Prada fashion house boss Patrizio Bertelli has announced that he is pulling Italy and his Luna Rossa sailing team out of the next America’s Cup in 2017″.

    • Johnny D says:

      Prada is not only the sponsor of Luna Rossa. Prada Group is the owner of the team and had already spent 20 million euros (21.6 million dollars) for the project, money is the least of their problems. The problem is that once again the Americans do not have the guts to compete with those who are at their level or probably better; so, when they realized that the Italian team was far ahead of them in the project, with the excuse to cut costs they have changed the rules, rules that were approved in June 2014 by all the contenders.

  27. Winds change,adept catch the wind…substatial monies have indeed already been invested this cannot be negated…and it is seventh hour..another situation…fickle timing to be sure…but Ialy withdrwing is conceeding…somehow…i wouldn’t expect that from you….i don’t believe you …tell me your just saying that…

  28. MAKE MY DAY says:

    A lot of the countries (Teams) were not exactly ecstatic about this event being held in BDA – from the start!! I know the Kiwis are also one of them as well!!

    If another “Team” pulls out – then this could spell a big disaster!! Don’t forget the “Yanks” have upset a lot-of-people by continually changing the “rules”!!

    As far as I an concerned they should ALL go back to sailing/racing the original 12 meter yachts – like the sport was intended to be from the beginning!!

    As usual it ALL comes down to TV rights and $$$ again!!

    • Creamy says:

      The rules were changed by vote of all the teams, not by the “yanks”. But don’t let facts get in the way of your racist rant.

      • Coffee says:

        Stop it with your Creamy racist BS! . Just because the narrative posted doesn’t suit your warped way doesn’t make it racist . Enough of your tired race baiting ways !!!

      • MAKE MY DAY says:

        @Creamy… How does the word Yank suddenly become a “racist rant”??? You have Physiological issues mate!!

        Coffee… Tks for your verification!!

  29. Triangle Drifter says:

    On the bright side, the cup finals are still over 2 years away. Maybe going to a smaller cheaper to operate boat will inspire a few who bailed due to cost to quickly re consider.

    True, at this point in time all specs & rules really should be set in stone for the event. The participants may have deep pockets but they did not get deep pockets by making poor decisions.

  30. Ex Ex-pat says:

    What a surprise.America’s cup changes and sadly will be less competitive but all Bermuda cares about is how much they can make, how many fewer spectators they can squeeze and less money will come to the island. How about seeing it as an opportunity to host and participate on the world stage rather than just another cash cow to milk.