Friday, 25 June 2010
Russell Coutts and Vincenzo Onorato with the Auld Mug at the first press conference of the 34th America's Cup in Rome. Image copyright Guilain Grenier/BMW ORACLE Racing.
by Tim Jeffery
In a joint initiative by the defender, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club and the Challenger of Record, Italy’s Club Nautico di Roma, a draft of the Protocol rules for the 34th America’s Cup was sent to the challenging teams today.
Foremost amongst numerous innovations is a forward-thinking structure that allows funds and assets to transfer from one America’s Cup to the next.
The draft is a ‘listening and living’ document. Teams have been invited to comment and, contribute to its final form.
This follows an already unprecedented level of cooperation with the Challenger of Record and a dialogue with potential teams. It offers another chance for input before the Protocol is finalized and published by the of 31st August 2010 target.
“This has been a painstaking process, but we believe it sets out a New Deal for the America’s Cup and fair play for all teams. It also incorporates the vision of the Cup held by Larry Ellison and BMW ORACLE Racing,” said Russell Coutts, CEO of BMW ORACLE Racing.
“To create a fair playing field we plan to issue all of the event rules before the end of the year, and this is a significant first step in that direction,” Coutts said. “Teams will know exactly what they are signing-up to.”
Potential teams asked for these key elements to be included the 34th America’s Cup Protocol and they have been:
* neutral race management body
* wide-ranging powers for the Jury
* cost cutting measures
* initiative to transform television & media output
* added-value to sponsors & business partners
* sustainable, long-term business model
Building on the initiative by the World Sailing Teams' Association, a maximum of eight pre-regattas per year is planned for consistent racing and exposure for the teams in the years leading up to the America’s Cup.
The Protocol will rein-in costs by reducing the number of racing crew, introducing no-sailing periods and limiting the numbers of hulls, masts, appendages and sails teams can build.
At the end of the 34th Match, the New Deal leaves an inheritance of substantial funding and assets to the next Defender in a move to end the stop-start cycle teams have faced previously. This sustainable legacy is dependent of the 35th America’s Cup defender continuing with neutral race management and a schedule of regular competition.
In keeping with GGYC’s pledge of fair-play for all, among the many measures which will achieve this is a commitment that GGYC’s defender will not will not compete in the final Challenger Selection Series but that there will be defense trials if there is more than one viable US team.
Television and media output have been prioritized in the draft Protocol to deliver more pictures, more audio and more data than ever before to audiences for an immersive experience, either through television or online broadcast.
Progress on a new, exciting and physically-demanding class of America’s Cup yacht, again with a dialogue with stakeholders fundamental to the process, is moving strongly ahead.
Key dates (as announced at the joint Defender & Challenger of Record Press Conference on 6th May 2010):
• Protocol for the 34th America’s Cup will be issued by 31st August
• Design rule released by 30th September
• Race rules published by 30th December
• Challenge Period open from 1st October 2010 – 31st January 2011
Draft of 34th America's Cup protocol for teams' comments