Shifting role of club in America’s Cup

Published on October 20th, 2021

It is stated in the Deed of Gift that the America’s Cup is a competition between clubs, a reference repeated 17 times. But when the cost to compete exceeded what clubs could offer, control shifted to the teams, with clubs now more or less fulfilling just an entry requirement.

For Dennis Conner, after representing New York Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club, he entered the 2000 America’s Cup under Cortez Racing Association, a club with no facility which organizes local racing in San Diego, CA. Larry Ellison took it a step further, funding Golden Gate Yacht Club and filling its board with employees.

Teams now control their club’s involvement as explained by Aaron Young, Commodore of Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, holder of the America’s Cup:

Auckland, New Zealand (October 20, 2021) – Thanks for all of your support as we navigate these challenging waters in our role as Trustee of the America’s Cup. I want to assure you that we take this responsibility seriously and are working closely with Grant Dalton and Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) as we plan to defend the 37th America’s Cup (AC37).

As many of you will be aware, we have a longstanding agreement with ETNZ that means responsibility for conducting the 37th America’s Cup defense, including all aspects of the AC37 organization, management of racing and fundraising, rests exclusively with them.

In return the Club is not required to make any financial contribution to America’s Cup activities, and RNZYS – its officers and members – are fully indemnified from any liability, financial or otherwise.

These have been the fundamental principles of our contractual arrangements since the 1995 challenge. It is through these arrangements that we are now in the privileged position of being the Trustee of the Cup for a fourth America’s Cup cycle.

We have complete confidence in ETNZ to run the affairs of the Team and do what it takes to ensure a credible and successful defense and deliver another highly successful event. And all of this in a difficult environment, where they are up against some significant financial challenges and other teams who are considerably more resourced than they are.

It is both ETNZ’s and our preference for this defense to be staged in New Zealand, however, the reality is that currently there is not a valid option to do so. That is why at our members briefing in June this year, we outlined the need to explore other options to ensure we keep the Auld Mug in the cabinet here at the Club.

It is also very important to us that ETNZ remains viable, that we keep the Team together, and we honor our commitments and undertakings with our Challenger of Record, Royal Yacht Squadron Limited (RYS) and INEOS Britannia (formerly INEOS Team UK).

At this time we do not have a viable New Zealand defense proposition, and as a result ETNZ are in discussions with other potential locations. ETNZ and the club share the view that the absolute priority for AC37 is a credible defense with the goal of winning the Match.

It would be an unprecedented achievement to win the America’s Cup three times in a row and taking the defense overseas – while not our preferred choice – may well offer the best chance for us to do so. It is important that you, our valued members and supporters, understand that this might yet need to happen.

Over the last couple of weeks we have been receiving high levels of enquiry from you, our members and in response I wanted to send you this update, and include for your attention some of the most frequently asked questions of us, and our answers to these HERE. I trust that these will go some way to better inform you of our role in the scheme of things, and the current status of issues and discussions.

Finally, I wanted to reassure you that we, as Trustees of the Cup, will keep you fully informed as things progress.

In the meantime if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact either myself or any one of our America’s Cup Committee. We are genuinely here to help, and to support the Club and the General Committee in making decisions that are in the best interests of both the Club and our Emirates Team New Zealand.

I look forward to being able to talk with you again soon in person at the Club and to update you further at our AGM and other forums over coming weeks.

Editor’s note: Scuttlebutt Sailing Club was founded to help people fulfill the requirement of membership within the Racing Rules of Sailing, and the club would be pleased to welcome any team looking to enter the America’s Cup. So for Terry, Taylor, and Mike… you know where to find us.

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