What is best for the America’s Cup?
Published on June 25th, 2017
As skipper of the British challenger, Ben Ainslie very clearly had two missions during the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda: Bring the Cup back to Britain and promote the current format of foiling multihulls. While failing at the former, he remains focused on the format.
His position may be somewhat self-serving, as his start-up team would surely desire to continue the current design path they have already invested in, rather than change directions and start anew. His Land Rover BAR team’s next America’s Cup campaign is already fully-funded.
However, his campaign, which Ainslie said is likely to be similar in cost to the 90 million pounds ($114 million) spent on getting to Bermuda, will go ahead regardless of the outcome of the final between holders Team Oracle USA and Emirates Team New Zealand.
Ainslie has signed up to a framework agreement with the U.S. and other teams which would mean the event is held every two years in catamarans similar to those being raced in Bermuda. But things could change if New Zealand triumph as the winners decide the format of the next cup and the Kiwis are the only team not to have signed up to the deal.
“I don’t have the fears that suddenly we’ll go to New Zealand …and it’ll take the Cup back to the Dark Ages,” Ainslie said, preferring the competition stays in the foiling 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.” he said.
But what is best for the America’s Cup? What has made it so revered? Has it been because the event has followed what the spectators and sailors love, or has it been more rooted in the history, in the Deed of Gift? What will keep it as sailing’s top prize?