America’s Cup: Standing by with champagne on ice

Published on July 9th, 2014

The venue lottery for the 35th America’s Cup has reduced the field to two candidates – San Diego and Bermuda – to host the final match, but the next host will be staging a much different event than was on display during the 34th edition in San Francisco.

The Defender had set up their base in San Francisco in 2011, one Challenger moved in across the Bay in 2012, while the other two Challengers came to the City in April/May 2013. Racing extended from July to September 2013. The range of impact was 2+ years.

The range of impact for the 35th America’s Cup will be significantly less for San Diego or Bermuda. The schedule is not yet detailed in the Protocol, and will likely change from what has thus far been indicated, but here is a sense of what the next hosts will be staging.

The current schedule in 2017 suggests two separate venues will host AC62 racing for the Challengers and Defender.

Venue #1 (City not known)
AC Qualifiers: Defender and All Challengers
Event shall be no longer than 30 days.
Shall commence no earlier than 4 months prior to the AC Challenger Playoffs.
Top 4 challengers advance to AC Challenger Playoffs.
Details by February 15, 2015.

Venue #2 (San Diego or Bermuda)
AC Challenger Playoffs: Top 4 Challengers
Event shall be no longer than 22 days.
To be held between 25 days and 3 days prior to the AC Match.
Top challenger advances to AC Match.
Details by February 15, 2015.

AC Match: Defender and Top Challenger
Best of 13 series, 2 races scheduled per day.
Details by December 31, 2014.

The Union-Tribune San Diego reports the Defender favors sailing the event, either at San Diego or Bermuda, over five weeks beginning with the AC Challenger Playoffs commencing around June 1, though a slightly later schedule has also been discussed.

But what if no more than four Challengers enter? Will there be a need for both venues? And if there is, what city will be selected for the AC Qualifiers? Entries close August 8, 2014, and it is not known if any Challenger is officially entered. More questions than answers, with venue selection impacting sponsor agreements, design decisions, and athlete needs.

A reminder that the venue announcement for the 34th America’s Cup came during the 2010 New Year’s Eve celebration. Will this one linger that long? Standing by with champagne on ice.

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