Where there’s smoke, there’s fire

Published on September 23rd, 2018

The multihull era of the America’s Cup halted the legacy monohull boats enjoyed. Whereas the 12 Meter, International America’s Cup Class, and even J Class yachts continue today to ply race courses, the wing-powered, foil-assisted extreme machines have been retired, deemed too costly and dangerous to sail.

But rumors persist that the boats of Bermuda, the 15 meter AC Class catamarans used for the 2017 competition, will get a second life in a new global sailing league being bankrolled by Larry Ellison, the Oracle billionaire.

Sky News has learnt that a company led by Sir Keith Mills, who founded the Air Miles and Nectar customer loyalty programs, is to run the British leg of a new international tournament that will get underway next year.

Scuttlebutt had first reported on this in October 2017 and then again in July 2018, and while no one was confirming the plan, where there’s smoke we often find fire.

The Sky News report notes how insiders are saying how Sir Keith’s Origin Sports Group would play a pivotal in the new series’ efforts to build a following in Britain, with the tournament expected to be broadcast on free-to-air television.

Under the plans being hatched by Ellison, teams will compete from countries including Britain, the US and Japan on a modified ACC which competed in the last America’s Cup. Next year’s series is expected to comprise races in five countries, with the number doubling in 2020.

A launch event has been scheduled in early October 2018.

The aim of Ellison’s new series, which one insider dubbed ‘the Formula One of sailing’, is to create a compelling and structured sporting contest which appeals to international TV audiences.

New social media platforms and on-screen graphics are expected to be used to generate excitement in the competition, which previous reports have described as ‘The World Series of Sailing’.

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