America’s Cup: The Evolving Event

Published on July 20th, 2015

The America’s Cup fan has to be of a certain age to recall how Clubs, and not Teams, were the leaders in organizing the event and coordinating their programs. This was due to the structure of the Deed of Gift, wherein it is the Club that enters the event… not a billionaire…. not a commercial entity… not a band of sailors.

But what the Deed of Gift dictates is not how the America’s Cup currently operates. The shift was gradual, partly out of need and partly out of greed, to where the Club today sits quietly aside while the Team is in charge. The tail, you could say, now wags the dog.

Nonetheless, it is refreshing when we occasionally hear from the Club. The Yacht Club de France, which is the registered Club for Groupama Team France, is amid its sixth participation as challenging Club in the America’s Cup.

Their involvement dates back to 1983, when their voice mattered. Now, not so much. Here Yves Lagane, President of the Yacht Club de France, shares his opinion of the evolving event:

“The new America’s Cup rules do not destroy the spirit of an event going back 164 years. This extraordinary technological revolution brought about by foiling boats is something that nobody saw coming.

“Today, it is no longer the waterline length, which is responsible for generating the speeds reached, but rather the power/weight ratio. There is no longer a call for boats measuring 22m in length, which are complicated to transport, hard to maintain, and require bloated teams and budgets. This new development will also enable the action to be brought closer to the shore. All this is a real boon for the competition, which has always been at the very cutting edge of technology and is often the test bed for tomorrow’s practice.

“We hear talk of a one-design format for the new AC 48, which is not quite true: the hulls, the platform and the structure of the wings will indeed be similar, which is an important element given the time remaining between now and the competition, but this is not the case for the appendages, which are the only parts that are constantly in the water! Nor is this the case for the systems for trimming the foils and the wing.

“With this in mind, there is still genuine scope for research and development for our teams and our naval architects.”

Established in Paris by Napoleon III, here is the Club’s history with the America’s Cup:

1983 (Newport, USA) Bruno Troublé, France 3
1992 (San Diego, USA) Marc Pajot, Ville de Paris
1995 (San Diego, USA) Marc Pajot, France 2
2010 (Valence, Spain) Bertrand Pacé, Aleph
2013 (San Francisco, USA) Bruno and Loïck Peyron, Energy Team (withdrew before America’s Cup but competed in Red Bull Youth America’s Cup)
2017 (Bermuda) Franck Cammas, Groupama Team France

The Yacht Club de France, founded in 1867, will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2017, the year the 35th America’s Cup is due to be hosted in Bermuda.

Here are the five other competing Clubs for the 35th America’s Cup:

Artemis Racing (KSSS – the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, Sweden)
Land Rover BAR (Royal Yacht Squadron Racing, Great Britain)
Emirates Team New Zealand (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, New Zealand)
Oracle Team USA (Golden Gate Yacht Club, USA)
Softbank Team Japan (Kansai Yacht Club, Japan)

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