America’s Cup: Avoiding an Apocalyptic Outcome

Published on June 9th, 2014

Managing the complexity of the America’s Cup requires the ability to control its commercial and competition components. For each ensuing Match, the level of control increases.

Within the Protocol for the 35th America’s Cup, there is little mention of the world governing body for the sport of sailing – the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). Would the America’s Cup be held without the sanctioning of ISAF?

Says the Protocol, “AC35 shall be governed by the Deed of Gift; this Protocol; the AC62 Class Rule or the AC45 Class Rule, as applicable; and the Racing Rules, which shall be agreed by GGYC and the Challenger of Record and published by November 1, 2014.”

It is not as simple as creating your own rules and procedures. Any sailing event operating outside of ISAF’s authority, particularly the most publicly known event, would result in an apocalyptic outcome. The trickle down from such a decision is invasive.

Essentially, all its participants – sailors, officials, clubs, sponsors – would face sanctions from the sport of sailing. It would be messy, and that is if you could even get participants. Competing in an event where the rules and procedures are not decided until after you enter, and are not rooted in a fair and impartial system, is a big ask.

ISAF Vice President Gary Jobson (USA) provides an update on the situation…

“While we haven’t made a lot of public comments, we are very much engaged in conversation with the organizers of the America’s Cup.

“ISAF Chief Executive Officer Jerome Pels and I have had several constructive conversations with Sam Hollis, an attorney representing the America’s Cup organizer. Additionally, ISAF President Carlo Croce and America’s Cup defense CEO Russell Coutts had a meeting in Italy last month, and I understand that discussion to have been productive as well.

“Now that the Protocol for the 35th America’s Cup has been released, we anticipate meeting again with the America’s Cup Event Authority in the near future to negotiate ISAF’s continuing role with the America’s Cup.

“One of the negotiating parties will be the America’s Cup Regatta Director, who has not yet been named. However, Sam and I have had some good discussions about ISAF’s parameters but now we need to work on the details.”

The entry period for the 35th America’s Cup is June 9 through August 8, 2014.

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