34th America’s Cup to be held in 2013
The 34th edition of the America’s Cup will be held in 2013 using wingsail catamarans in a rejigged format, organisers Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) said on Monday.
San Francisco-based GGYC said sailing’s most prestigious event would be reorganised to attract sponsors put off by the bitter legal wrangling that clouded this year’s Cup, won by GGYC’s team BMW Oracle Racing in Valencia in February.
Innovations included the new class of boat, shorter races, independent race management with an international jury and cost-cutting measures such as limits on the number of boats, sails, equipment and support vessels, GGYC said.
There will also be a World Series event starting in 2011, also using wingsail catamarans, and a Youth America’s Cup aimed at developing the next generation of sailors.
“We believe this new format and new boat will put the America’s Cup back at the pinnacle of our sport,” Russell Coutts, chief executive of BMW Oracle, said at a news conference in Valencia.
“These changes will give equal opportunity to competitors and long-term economic stability to all teams and all commercial partners,” added the New Zealander.
The 33rd Cup was overshadowed by more than two years of legal battles between software mogul Larry Ellison, head of BMW Oracle, and biotechnology billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, owner of Swiss team Alinghi.
The dispute over the hosting rights and race rules resulted in a rare two-boat match without the usual challengers series that had helped increase interest in previous editions, costing millions in potential sponsorship and broadcasting rights.
BMW Oracle, racing in a giant trimaran featuring a towering wing-shaped sail like an aircraft wing, beat Alinghi 2-0 in a stunning triumph of superior design and technology.
In an effort to avoid a similarly damaging experience for the next Cup, GGYC said it had analysed best practice in other major sports and had undertaken six months of dialogue with teams and stakeholders before coming up with the new format.
“We spoke to the teams, to commercial partners, to media and to the fans,” Coutts said.
“A clear and compelling vision emerged — that to capture and communicate the excitement our sport can produce we need the best sailors racing the fastest boat in the world.” GGYC has said it will announce the race venue later this year.
Ellison’s native San Francisco would be a natural choice if sufficient space and infrastructure are available but there are other possibilities, including a return to Valencia.