Uncertainty With Future Of The America’s Cup

July 1, 2017

With Emirates Team New Zealand’s recent America’s Cup win, they are now in control of the tournament’s destiny; however, as the only non-signatory to the ‘framework agreement’ signed by the other five America’s Cup teams, there remains some uncertainty regarding the next iteration of the event.

After the Kiwi’s stunning victory over Oracle Team USA, chief executive Grant Dalton assured the world that Team New Zealand will “do the right thing” in formulating the next America’s Cup.

“We will put into place rules and an organization of our own team New Zealand that if we’re good enough we’ll hold onto and if we’re not we won’t,” he said.

In January, defenders Oracle Team USA, backed by billionaire Larry Ellison, and four challengers formulated a framework agreement for future Cups.

It included a regatta every two years, rather than the erratic schedule that has been the norm over the 166 years of Cup competition.

It also made the America’s Cup World Series an integral part of qualifying and foresaw the continued use of the foiling catamarans used in Bermuda.

However, this protocol could be rendered redundant with the Kiwi’s recent win as the Deed of Gift, the competition’s constitution, states that only the Cup’s defender gets to decide the framework for the next tournament.

One aspect that New Zealand will almost certainly change is the venue. Their desire to take the Cup back to Auckland set many Bermudian fans against them during the races.

However, when it comes to the boats, things are a little less certain.

According to an article recently published by the Telegraph, New Zealand has won support from traditionalist by arguing a return to the larger, monohull America’s Cup boats not seen for several decades. This was hinted at by New Zealand team principle Matteo de Nora’s comment that the Kiwis want to the bring the America’s Cup “back to the future.”

Sir Ben Ainslie appears to feel that the competition would be better sticking with its current format, including the foiling 50-foot catamarans.

“I think the foiling multihulls have proven to be great for the spectators and the sailors love them and that would be a shame to move away from that,” Ainslie said to Reuters in a recent interview.

Another key tenet of the agreement was cost reduction. It has long been known that the high expenses required to fund an America’s Cup challenge have made the event elitist.

In response to this Dalton has said: “I think it’s important that we need to make it affordable, but we also need to remember that it is the America’s Cup. It’s the top of the sport and so it’s not a little beach regatta. It’s never going to be cheap.”

“No matter how many things you impose on it, people will always spend a fortune if they want to.”

Perhaps the most controversial point of all is Dalton’s desire to tighten the nationality rule, which at present only requires one member of the onboard crew to be from the country their boat purports to represent.

However, many argue that the America’s Cup has never really been about nations competing against each other. Charlie Barr, a Scotsman, won three Cups from 1899 to 1903 as a skipper on American yachts.

A restrictive nationality requirement could also suppress the development of emerging Asian teams, for example, who have not yet been able to develop indigenous sailing talent.

This desire also appears to be very self-serving. The recent Cup was bursting with Kiwi talent and only one member of Oracle Team USA – grinder Cooper Dressler – is a full American.

Simultaneously, the America’s Cup currently has limited appeal to a mass audience, and the two teams who have attracted the most support back home – Emirates and Land Rover Bar – are predominantly manned by Kiwis and Brits.

Dalton said plans for the 36th Cup would emerge in the coming weeks after New Zealand sit down with the newly announced challenger of record, Italian team Luna Rossa.

“We do have a plan,” Dalton said. “The sport needs stability. The sport is very fragmented.

“Rest assured, we’ll do the right thing.”

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  1. PANGIA says:

    The future of sailing.

    Bermuda professes to have a love affair with the sail boat while the boating public here today flies around in a floating cars.

    Have we lost our way? Is speed now the glue that motivates us.

    The art of Sailing is a fascination that appears to be slipping through our fingers as the desire for speed now takes president on our waters.

    The Future of the Cup now the “New Zealand Cup” is all about maintaining balance with competition between countries for the cup being a small part of it, what matters for the future is finding the right boat or a variety boats suitable for every one.

    It is up to New Zealand to make the right call be it Mega and Mini, or are they going to search back in time to the traditional days of the Schooner or the mighty “J” class, to sail around Bermuda, our doors are always open.

    I find it some what difficult to accept a flying catamaran as being a boat that becomes air born as being a good choice, nice while it lasted as sailing is not with out risk.

    Sailing is not one shoe fits all sport, people are diverse and so should any sporting activity be adaptable as variety is the spice of life .

    New Zealand would do well to inject more variety with a third class of boat in the the sport of sailing by combining different sizes and types of boats sort of some thing for every body just as the Olympics combines human endurance and sacrifice with many activities.

    If you ask 10 people for their thoughts on sailing you will get 9 different answers, number 10 is into something other.

    Don’t be surprised to see the next group of strict one design racing machines take the form of a super fast high performance light displacement mono hull with canting keels and fins all having a re sale value to reduce the enormous costs.

    Look to see yachts similar as the circumnavigating “Vendee globe” or the Volvo 65, mono hull yachts, with at least a dozen sailors including women clinging to the deck.

    As in every international sport their are enormous quantities of money involved that is all good for the very reason that money needs to be in circulation, and not collecting dust in a bank.

    Has sailing reached its technological boundaries which exclude many nations?

    Sailboats are not space ships.

    Sailing is an art form in which every one should be able to participate in as a great majority do in New Zealand.

  2. LongBay Trading Inc. says:

    There has been so many comments and opinions on the foiling cats that one has lost count. In amongst many of them has been that the foiling cats have lost the art of true sailing. Rubbish. At the end of the day they still needed wind to move. Without wind there was no racing as we all witnessed more than once. IMO sailing its simplist form is making good use of what nature has provided to get you from A to B or to just go “for a sail”. The foiling cats may be light years ahead of any previous AC boats, but at the end of the day, they still need wind to push them along, regardless of all the high tech.

    What does need thinking about is with all the incredible high tech, there has got to be a better way to push all the hydraulic fluid around than grinding or cycling! I wonder if anyone thought about hamsters on wheels down working away in the hulls?