Archive | America’s Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand continue to fight for Auckland

Posted on 01 April 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Emirates Team New Zealand] By the deadline of the 31st March the America’s Cup teams voted by a majority in favour of changes to the 35th America’s Cup Protocol, which included a reduction in boat size to between a 45 and 50 foot foiling catamaran and as a consequence the withdrawal of Auckland as America’s Cup Qualifier host city.

Under the original Protocol, the Qualifier venue was to be announced by the 15th February 2015. This requirement was fulfilled on this date with the announcement to the teams that Auckland would be the location of the Qualifiers.

Among the changes to the Protocol voted on, ACEA sought to retrospectively change this date to April and disregard the agreement for Auckland to be the location for the America’s Cup qualifier.

As a result, Emirates Team New Zealand has now reluctantly filed an application to the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel to reinstate Auckland as the qualifier venue based on a signed and accepted bid, notified to the teams in accordance with the Protocol. This needs to be done to satisfy the requirement that all complaints must be filed within 7 days of knowing the facts justifying the complaint.

CEO Grant Dalton said, “Emirates Team New Zealand have filed an application to the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel in the belief that ACEA has breached their signed agreement and protocol obligations by discarding Auckland.”

“However prior to any hearing Emirates Team New Zealand will continue discussions with all teams and ACEA on the prospect of continuing to bring America’s Cup racing to Auckland.”

Until the outcome of this is known Emirates Team New Zealand continues its work in preparing for the next America’s Cup in 2017.

“We are fighting to keep Auckland as a qualifier. This isn’t about government funding, this is not the end of Emirates Team New Zealand, it’s about enforcing a contract and bringing America’s Cup racing to New Zealand as agreed by ACEA.” concluded Dalton.

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New America’s Cup Class voted

Posted on 01 April 2015 by Reporter

[Source: America's Cup] The America’s Cup teams have agreed to make changes aimed at significantly reducing costs for the 2017 America’s Cup. Central to these changes is the introduction of an exciting new America’s Cup Class – a wing-sailed, foiling catamaran between 45 and 50 feet.

“The move to the new America’s Cup Class is a major step forward for the America’s Cup,” said Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller, following the vote.

“Collectively, the teams have agreed current costs are neither justified, nor sustainable, and a majority have together taken a sensible course of action to cut costs. I believe this puts the America’s Cup on a firm foundation for today and for the future.”

Crucially, the new class will cost much less over the life of a campaign, with potential savings across design, build and operations, making it a revolutionary cost-saving measure for the sport in both the short and long term.

“The changes being made are to reduce the current costs and complexity which are barriers to new teams wishing to enter the America’s Cup,” said Iain Percy, the team manager for Artemis Racing.

A majority of the current teams favored the new class, with the expectation it will be used in the next edition of the America’s Cup as well, in order to lower the barrier to entry – both technological and financial – to new teams.

Looking towards the future, the new America’s Cup Class will put the event on a path towards economic sustainability. Numerous one-design components will focus the design effort on areas that have an impact on performance, cutting costs significantly, but not diminishing the design challenge.

“The America’s Cup – like Formula One – has to be a design race as well as a race on the water,” noted Ben Ainslie, the team principal at Ben Ainslie Racing. “That has always been part of the Cup’s appeal. That is what attracts some of the world’s best engineers – people like Adrian Newey, who has shown a real passion for the design challenge of the America’s Cup.”

“This wasn’t an easy process,” admitted ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. “The established teams, ourselves included, were well down the path of designing an AC62. But there is a bigger picture to consider. We needed to bring the costs down, but we had to respect the design component of the event as that’s always been one of the biggest challenges in winning the America’s Cup.”

The savings the competitors will realize in this edition of the Cup may spark additional entries, with at least one potential team from Asia expected to challenge and other international teams considering their options.

“To be a global success, the America’s Cup needs to be accessible to the best teams, not just the biggest and wealthiest ones,” said Franck Cammas, the skipper of Team France. “So we must change in this way.”

“While it’s true there are a few critics of this move, we have to adjust to the time. This is a rule that provides the essential of the America’s Cup – the design challenge, the sport, the athletic spectacle – without such a prohibitive cost,” said Olympic medalist Roland Gaebler who has been working to establish a German Challenge. “My focus had been on the next America’s Cup but with these changes we may be able to accelerate that.”

The rule changes were passed by a majority vote of the Competitor Forum, comprising the six teams currently entered in the America’s Cup. An updated Protocol and a new Class Rule will be published this week.

A majority of the teams has also now indicated a preference that all of the racing in 2017 be conducted at a single venue, Bermuda. The America’s Cup Event Authority will consider this in nominating a venue for the America’s Cup Qualifiers.

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Competitors to vote on cost-cutting measures this week

Posted on 30 March 2015 by Reporter

[Source: America's Cup] The six teams entered in the America’s Cup will vote this week on whether to adopt a new America’s Cup Class that will significantly reduce costs.

The new America’s Cup Class under consideration is a wing-sailed, foiling catamaran between 45 and 50 feet. The boat would make its debut for racing in Bermuda in 2017.

“If these changes are adopted it seems certain new teams will join this edition of the Cup,” said Russell Coutts, the CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA).

“We’re trying to take as big a step as possible to reduce costs now and in the future. The good news is all six teams agree we should reduce the size of the boats to save money. However there is still some debate as to the size of the boat we should adopt.

“While some teams would prefer a smaller change that wouldn’t result in such significant cost-savings, the majority believe it is better to take a bolder step that will work for this edition of the America’s Cup and for future editions as well.

“When it comes to cost-reduction, size matters. Under 50 feet, real savings kick in on all levels: design, boat-building, sailing team and operations, so that’s why we’re looking at this range.”

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Luna Rossa issues statement regarding the proposal of boat change for the 35th Americas cup

Posted on 27 March 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Luna Rossa Challenge] Team Luna Rossa Challenge is distinctly opposed to the proposal – announced today on the official web site of the America’s Cup – to change the Class Rule for the 35th America’s Cup and therefore the boat that was previously accepted by all challengers on June 5th 2014.

Luna Rossa does not believe that a sporting event should be disputed in a courtroom and does not intend to initiate a lengthy litigation process that would only bring prejudice to the event.

If the principle of unanimity of all challengers required to change the Class Rule were not to be respected Luna Rossa will be obliged to withdraw from the 35th America’s Cup.

Team Luna Rossa trusts that the Defender will quickly announce a public clarification, also to avoid jeopardizing the organization of the America’s Cup World Series – Cagliari – Sardinia event planned to take place from June 4 to June 7, 2015.

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Significant cost saving measures planned for 2017 America’s Cup

Posted on 26 March 2015 by Reporter

[Source: America's Cup] The competitors and organizers of the 2017 America’s Cup are planning to implement a series of rule changes to dramatically reduce team operational costs, primarily by racing in a smaller boat.

“After reviewing prototypes of the new AC45 sports boats being tested on the water over the past several months, it is clear that if we raced smaller boats in 2017, we could dramatically reduce costs without sacrificing any of the spectacle or the design, engineering and athletic challenge fundamental to the America’s Cup,” said Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller.

“We have a responsibility to think of what is best for the long term health of the America’s Cup as well as improving the value equation for team principals and partners. Racing a smaller boat in 2017 and beyond is a big step in the right direction.

“The existing operational costs of teams is much too high with a boat like the AC62. We discussed making this change early last year at a Competitors meeting in London but at that stage only ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand were in favor of using a smaller boat.

“But now that the teams have seen these new boats in action there is a clear majority of competitors who support the idea. I’d like to be able to say we have unanimous support from all the teams but that is not the case.”

Boat speed in the new boat is expected to be similar to what was achieved in the last America’s Cup through increased time foiling and advances in design and engineering.

“This will be a big change, but it is a necessary one if we are to create a sustainable America’s Cup for the future,” said Sir Ben Ainslie, the skipper and team principal of Ben Ainslie Racing. “These boats will create a significant cost saving whilst still providing a real challenge for sailors and designers alike.”

“For Team France this will be a game-changer,” said skipper Franck Cammas. “We will be able to have a very competitive team for about half the budget. With the smaller boat we can imagine that a budget between €15-20 million would be enough to win the America’s Cup.”

To lock in the cost saving measures over the long-term several competitors, including Artemis Racing, have committed to using the new smaller class in the next edition of the America’s Cup should they prevail in this one.

“These changes may help some current teams be more competitive, but this is clearly also about building the future of the America’s Cup,” said Iain Percy, the team manager of Artemis Racing.

“By making a commitment now to using the smaller boat next time, it will be that much easier for new teams to join as they’ll have access to existing boats and technology. So this has required us to look a little bit beyond the scope of ‘what’s in it for us?’.”

The rule changes are being drafted and teams will be asked to vote on these changes before the end of March.

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Emirates Team NZ prepares for challenges ahead

Posted on 26 February 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Emirates Team New Zealand] Emirates Team New Zealand announced today that the Halsey Street, Auckland, base will be fully operational from Monday, March 2. Work will start immediately on modifying an AC45 catamaran to foil. The team also announced it had completed the restructuring process that came out of the team-wide review after San Francisco and 50 people have signed on and will be working full time from Monday.

With the first America’s Cup World Series regatta scheduled to take place at Cagliari, Italy in June, pressure is on the team to start the modifications.

Wing trimmer in 2013 Glenn Ashby has been appointed Sailing Director and he and Peter Burling will take on helming duties. Ashby is a multiple world and Australian champion in three multihull classes and Burling is current world Moth and, with Blair Tuke, 49er champion.

Dean Barker was involved in the review and restructuring process and Emirates Team New Zealand wants to retain his services as Performance Manager and Sailing Coach with a place on the executive committee. In the review of Emirates Team New Zealand, the team clearly identified the need for such a role. It is a crucial position for the team and we have been discussing this as a possible option for Dean since last November.

Emirates Team New Zealand recognises that Dean has significant experience and can make a valuable contribution. The role we have offered him would enable the team to capitalise on his skills. Emirates Team New Zealand has now made a formal offer to Dean which he is still considering.

Until the review process was completed it would have been unfair to all involved, and therefore inappropriate, for Emirates Team New Zealand to comment on the various reports in the media over the last week. The review process is now complete.

It should be noted that the announcement of Bermuda as the venue for the next America’s Cup series had a serious impact on the team’s finances and sponsorship funding, reducing the budget by some $20 million. This meant the team has had to reduce its remuneration budget and each team member has, as a result, taken a significant pay cut.

Additionally several million dollars has been axed from the operations budget leading to the scrapping of one of the foiling AC45s that the team had planned and, consequently, the elimination of one of the planned helmsman positions.

CEO Grant Dalton said: “As mentioned, the team has just activated its next stage of preparations and on Monday 50 staff begin the role of planning and construction for the upcoming race series. We’re hoping to retain Dean’s 20 years of America’s Cup experience in Emirates Team New Zealand but we also acknowledge it is time for new blood to be given the chance at the helm of the country’s challenger.”

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J Class to be part of the 2017 America’s Cup in Bermuda

Posted on 12 February 2015 by Reporter

[Source: J Class Yachts Association] The J Class Association (JCA) is thrilled to announce that the J Class has accepted an invitation from the Organisers of the 2017 America’s Cup to participate in a J Class regatta during the AC35 event. All eight J Class yachts are expected in Bermuda, with a minimum of six anticipated to compete in the J Class regatta – the first time in history more than five J Class yachts have ever raced against each other.

“The J Class era of the America’s Cup is widely recognised as being among the high points in Cup history,” said Russell Coutts, director of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA).

“When racing for the America’s Cup in the 1930s, the J Class boats embodied grace and power with cutting-edge design and engineering. Having the J Class join us in Bermuda will create a spectacular blend between the old and new.”

Berthed at the centre of the Race Village, the J Class fleet will showcase the heritage and tradition of the America’s Cup. The yachts will also be at the heart of the action with their own exclusive four day regatta.

Louise Morton, Secretary of the J Class Association (JCA) commented: “The America’s Cup Organisers have offered the J Class a unique opportunity to be part of the America’s Cup for the first time in 80 years. On behalf of the Owners, Captains and crew, we are delighted to accept their kind invitation and look forward to being part of this spectacular event.”

Racing in the J Class regatta will be organized by the America’s Cup race management team with the final two days of racing expected to straddle the opening weekend of the America’s Cup Match.

The current J Class fleet comprises seven yachts, including two of the original Js that raced for the America’s Cup. The seven J Class yachts sailing are: Endeavour, Hanuman, Lionheart, Rainbow, Ranger, Shamrock V and Velsheda. J8 is due to be launched in May 2015, taking fleet strength to eight – the first time that eight Js have been sailing since 1934.

J Class fleet racing is one of the most spectacular sights on the world sailing circuit. The Class continues to expand and the fleet is warmly welcomed by regatta organisers around the world. Followers logging on to www.jclassyachts.com can also enjoy every tack and gybe as it happens thanks to live race tracking fitted to every yacht.

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NBC aquires US broadcast rights for the 35th America’s Cup

Posted on 09 February 2015 by Reporter

[Source: America's Cup] The America’s Cup has selected NBC Sports Group as its partner for the upcoming edition of the America’s Cup – including the America’s Cup World Series events (2015-16), and the America’s Cup Qualifiers, Playoffs and America’s Cup Finals (2017).

“We are delighted to announce this agreement with NBC Sports Group,” said Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner of the America’s Cup. “This is a great deal for the America’s Cup, our teams and our partners. NBC Sports Group’s continued interest reflects the growing popularity, as well as potential additional growth, of the America’s Cup as a major television sport.”

NBC and NBCSN were the US television home for the last America’s Cup, in which ORACLE TEAM USA staged one of the greatest comebacks in sport to retain the trophy for the United States. The television coverage was widely acclaimed and saw the development of the Emmy Award-winning on screen graphics package, AC LiveLine, which enhanced the viewing experience by making the sport more engaging and more easily understood, especially for new fans.

“We are excited to once again showcase the best sailing in the world to a national audience,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC and NBCSN. “The 2013 America’s Cup served as the setting for one of the greatest comebacks in recent sports history, and we will again leverage the full collection of broadcast, cable and online platforms of the NBC Sports Group to present the race for the oldest trophy in international sports.”

Highlights of the agreement between NBC Sports Group and the America’s Cup include:

* Live coverage on NBC on both weekends of the America’s Cup Finals 2017
* Extensive live coverage of the America’s Cup Playoffs (and additional America’s Cup Finals racing) on NBC and NBCSN
* Coverage of all America’s Cup World Series events in 2015 and 2016 on NBCSN
* Live-streaming of all NBC and NBCSN telecasts on NBC Sports Live Extra

“It’s encouraging to have a partner like NBC who is highly motivated to return and help build and promote the event and increase the profile of our athletes and our teams. I have no doubt that over the next three years we will touch more viewers, in more ways, through the reach of NBC Sports Group’s platforms.” Schiller concluded.

Competition in the next America’s Cup begins in June 2015, with the first event of the America’s Cup World Series, in Cagliari, Italy, with racing on June 6-7.

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