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Standing by for substantive news about America’s Cup

Published on July 27th, 2014

The release of the Protocol for the 35th America’s Cup on June 2, 2014 presented the essence of what can be expected for the next three years, but still lacked some key details.

Until the location for the 2017 competition is confirmed, to be announced by December 31 of this year, or who will compete, to be revealed after the August 8 deadline, sailing’s pinnacle event gets shackled with rumors and rants.

An unexpected alliance was announced on July 25 by European teams Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA), Artemis Racing (SWE), Ben Ainslie Racing (GBR) and Team France (FRA), which released a joint statement to declare their support of the Protocol, regardless from the host venue that will be selected.

This is an important move for the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA), which strives to organize the competitive and commercial components of the event. Russell Coutts, CEO for the Defender Oracle Team USA, and Director of the ACEA, used his Facebook page to comment on recent media reports.

“Our goal is clear. We want to continue moving the America’s Cup forward. We need the teams to partner with us in this, and we need to debate the issues constructively and intelligently. I believe we’re on our way to reaching some common understanding with most of the teams in this regard.”

Coutts clarified the purpose of the entry fee, set purposely high to encourage only serious teams to compete.

“According to the Protocol (16.3), the first installment of $1-million is wired directly to the Regatta Officials Fund, which is administered collectively by the teams. There is a further $75,000 due that is also earmarked for specific purposes (protection of the AC trademarks and team websites). None of it goes to Oracle Team USA.

“Similarly, the second payment of $1-million (due by Dec. 1) goes directly to the Regatta Officials Fund, and the budget for that fund is approved by the teams on a ‘one team, one vote’ basis.”

Regarding the venue, and the desire for the 35th America’s Cup to remain in San Francisco, Coutts states how that appears unlikely.

“(San Francisco) is definitely not the choice of those who have to organize and fund the regatta! We are working with both San Diego and Bermuda in order to find a host venue that will be best for this America’s Cup, not the last America’s Cup. I have no doubt whatsoever that either Bermuda or San Diego will be first-class venues for this America’s Cup.”

With the Protocol requiring four challengers to fulfill entry requirements for the event to proceed, a unique clause tied to event planning and promotion, the first substantive news won’t come until ACEA confirms the entrants after August 8 deadline.

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