Ellison reveals plan for 35th America’s Cup
Published on April 1st, 2014
(April 1, 2014) – While the long awaited Protocol for the 35th America’s Cup is not ready to be released, defense owner Larry Ellison has revealed the context of the document in an interview with Julian Gutrhie, author of The Billionaire and the Mechanic. Here is her report…
Larry’s vision for the next America’s Cup involves the staging of regattas all over the world – leading up to the Louis Vuitton Cup, and the main event, the America’s Cup, taking place in Honolulu.
This competition would be a significant departure from anything done before. The plan for the 35th America’s Cup is to attract a wider audience to the sport of sailing and to the 163-year-old regatta.
As for the next Cup, “we’re going to start with two years of globe-trotting, Formula One-style racing in AC45s,” Larry said. “AC45s are inexpensive to build, transport, and sail. You can throw an AC45 and its support equipment and chase boats into a couple of containers and ship them to regattas all over the world: Shanghai, Tokyo Bay, Marseilles, the Port of Rome, anywhere.”
Larry continued, “The teams will be divided up into two divisions: Atlantic and Pacific. The Atlantic division will have teams from France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden, and Switzerland. The Pacific Division will have teams from Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and San Francisco, USA.”
The top four finishers in the AC45 races during 2015 and 2016, two from the Atlantic group and two from the Pacific, will qualify to race in their division championships in the spring of 2017. The division championships would be contested in the new AC60s, a lot bigger than the AC45s and just as spectacular and fast as the AC72s, but not as expensive.
As for the challengers that get eliminated before competing in their AC60, Larry does not see this as a problem. “This isn’t about winning the America’s Cup; this is about professionals getting paid. Like me. We are trying to sustain a business, and it’s time the challengers pull on their big boy pants.”
The Atlantic Division championship regatta will be held in the Port of Rome and the Pacific Division championship in Shanghai. A couple of months later, the Atlantic and Pacific division winners will race their AC60s off Honolulu for the Louis Vuitton Cup. The Louis Vuitton winner would stay in Hawaii to race their AC60 against Oracle Team USA in the 35th America’s Cup.
Holding the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup in Hawaii has been one of Larry’s long-standing dreams. In June 2012, the Oracle Corp. co-founder and CEO purchased the island of Lanai for $300 million. Having the America’s Cup on the waters off Honolulu would be a boon to Hawaii’s tourism and visibility.
Larry said the tradition of holding most of the races in one city doesn’t make commercial sense.
“The previous practice of going to only one city, Auckland or San Francisco or Valencia, and being in the same location for months at a time is not the best way to get fans all over the world excited about our sport,” he said. “The 35th America’s Cup will be more like Formula One, where you have races all around the world and all of the races count toward the championship. People want to see Team China racing in Shanghai and Team Japan racing in Tokyo Bay. Now that’s exciting.”
“That’s the plan anyway,” Larry said. “We have a lot of work to do, like getting the Challenger of Record, the Hamilton Island Yacht Club of Australia, to agree. This is a crap deal for the challengers, but it is good for me.”
Note: Some of the information from this ‘report’ originated in a legitimate story in the SF Chronicle. And some did not.