America’s Cup to get new set of rules is by ALESSANDRA RIZZO -Associated Press
BMW Oracle Racing will defend the America’s Cup in 2013 or 2014, and the competition for the world’s oldest trophy will feature new rules, new boat designs and other sweeping reforms.
Seeking to put an end to the disputes that marred the last America’s Cup, BMW Oracle on Thursday pledged cooperation with other teams and a body of independent experts to solve any conflicts.
“Diktat has been replaced by discussion, confrontation has been replaced by consultation,” said Russell Coutts, CEO of the BMW Oracle team.
As if to underscore his point, Coutts appeared at a news conference in Rome alongside Vincenzo Onorato of the Mascalzone Latino team, which is the Challenger of Record. The team is based at the Club Nautico di Roma.
“What we want is discussion and debate now in order to avoid disagreement later,” Coutts said, the 159-year-old silver trophy behind him. “Our minds and our ears are open.”
With discussions merely under way, details were scarce during the news conference at the Capitoline Museums. But officials sought to stress their commitment to modernizing the competition and making the 34th America’s Cup more viable for commercial partners and TV audiences.
“There are some things that we’ve got to fix and make right and having fair rules is definitely one of them,” Coutts said.
The last competition was blighted by 2 1/2 years of legal disputes between BMW Oracle’s chief Larry Ellison and Ernesto Bertarelli of Swiss team Alinghi. They fought over their interpretation of the 1887 Deed of Gift, which governs the America’s Cup.
BMW Oracle won the America’s Cup with a two-race sweep of Alinghi in Valencia, Spain, in February.
Coutts said the next America’s Cup venue has not been decided yet, although San Francisco is a strong contender because it is home of Oracle’s founding Golden Gate Yacht Club. Coutts said he has been talking to specialists and event managers and that any possible venue would involve a lot of work.
“We have to address the where before the when,” he said.
Coutts said the new competition rules would be consolidated in one document. He said officials have sent out to potential teams the protocol used in the 32nd America’s Cup, seeking their comments and input. Coutts said that protocol can be a good starting point.
The protocol for the 34th America’s Cup will be issued by the end of August, while new design rules would be released by the end of the following month, officials said. The venue will be confirmed by the end of the year. The challenger period runs from Oct. 1-Jan. 31.
Meanwhile, officials are also looking at new designs for boats. The new designs are aimed at making the race more spectacular and especially at avoiding the lengthy delays that have plagued previous races. The new boats should be able to sustain higher winds and in general span a wider range of conditions, Coutts said.
One thing that has not come under discussion so far is the idea of some kind of nationality requirement for teams. Coutts said that while he would favor the idea, he doesn’t see it happening in the short term because adding new requirements might make it harder for teams to enter the race.
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America’s Cup expected to be re-energised by collaboration process
‘Cam Lewis wraps up the 34th America’s Cup Media Conference’ Click Here to view large photo
The oldest trophy in international sport is expected to be re-energised by unprecedented collaboration between the Defender and the Challengers, an assembly of dignitaries and media were told today at the first media conference staged for the 34th America’s Cup, in Rome.
The group was addressed by Russell Coutts, of the Defender Golden Gate Yacht Club and BMW Oracle Racing and Vicenzo Onorato of the Challenger Club Nautico di Roma, and Mascalzone Latino
Speaking in the Sala Exedra in Rome’s Musei Capitolini, surrounded by some of Rome’s most precious treasures, Russell Coutts and Vincenzo Onorato mapped out the future of the 34th America’s Cup.
The press conference webcast was streamed live around the world.
The keypoints from the session were:
• New, fair rules and independent professional management will give an equal
opportunity to all teams
• A new class of fast, exciting boats created in conjunction with all teams
• The 159 year old competition made irresistible to commercial partners with regular
racing in multiple venues under professional, neutral race management
• Transformed television and online coverage will place race fans right at the heart of
the action, wherever they are in the world
Discussion and debate; consultation and collaboration were the themes of the Press Conference
“Dictate has been replaced by discussion, confrontation by consultation,” said Coutts, four
time winner of the iconic competition.
“Our minds and our ears are open. We are receptive to ideas.”
The opportunity to shape the rules and the design of the new boat has been offered to potential teams.
The management of the on-the-water racing will be controlled by an independent, neutral and professional authority, not the Defender.
New Protocol rules.
Yesterday teams received the Protocol used in the 32nd America’s Cup and were asked:
“What would you change to make the competition better?”
This document was negotiated by the Golden Gate Yacht Club and produced the successful 2007 America’s Cup. Feedback from the teams will be used to shape a new Protocol for the 34th Match.
The wide-ranging reforms would not have been possible without close co-operation with the other teams – who will be the Defender’s rivals when racing gets underway.
In particular Coutts noted the unprecedented collaboration between the Challenger of Record and Defender: “The task would have been impossible without working in partnership with Vincenzo Onorato.”
Onorato was given the honour of revealing the key decision date targets on behalf of the entire America’s Cup community.
Key dates announced
• Protocol for the 34th America’s Cup will be issued by 31st August
• Design rule released by 30th September
• Notice of Race & Sailing Instructions published by 31st December
• Venue confirmed by 31st December
• Challenge Period open from October 1st – 31st January 2011
New thinking on television
A bow-to-stern re-think of the entire television and media output is already underway. Not only will fans be able to turn-on and tune-in, anytime, on any platform, but they will be made to feel as if they are on-board themselves, right at the heart of the action, alongside the best sailors in the world.
New boat- faster sailing & thrilling racing
The new design rule will be a critical element of building a spectacular event. Renowned but neutral designers – Bruce Nelson and Peter Melvin – have created two different concepts – a multihull and a monohull.
Teams will sit down this month and discuss which concept to adopt and begin the process to create a design rule.
The requirements of the new America’s Cup Class rule are:
• It should produce dynamic and close racing
• It should use advanced, efficient and cost-effective technologies
• It should be distinctive and epitomize the pinnacle of the sport
• It should be able to race in any venue in winds from 5-35 knots
The ability to race in all venues and in most wind strengths is vital to make race scheduling reliable for fans and broadcasters.
“Delays kill interest. Even the hard-core fan doesn’t like having to wait for enough wind to race,” said Coutts.
Venue and Year-host cities evaluated
2013 and 2014 were named as the most likely dates for the next Cup.
Sufficient time is needed to evaluate venues and create impressive, efficient infrastructure
for the Cup Village.
Coutts confirmed that American sites were not the only ones under consideration. But he noted: “Every candidate city knows that a very strong case has already been put forward by San Francisco.”
Cities in the USA and Europe are under consideration.
Highly experienced specialists have been engaged to manage the evaluation process.
Regular racing in multiple locations
Host cities are also being sought for a series of regular racing for Cup teams. This racing will be integrated into the America’s Cup, in a plan developed in conjunction with the World Sailing Teams Association.
Changes welcomed by Cup community
Paul Cayard, six-time America’s Cup competitor and representing not just Sweden’s Team Artemis but the World Sailing Teams Association, commented on the reform package:
“We believe that the WSTA and its Louis Vuitton Trophy events are exactly the type of activity that needs to be incorporated into the big picture of the America’s Cup.
“With its global venues in important markets, regular calendar of events, tight racing in America’s Cup class boats, equal representation for each team, these events represent great commercial value that the teams can pass along to their sponsors.”
Challenger trials for the challengers & litigation ended
Coutts confirmed that the Defender will not participate in the Challenger trials as the previous Defender had done. And that all litigation from the contentious 33rd America’s Cup was over because of a settlement signed last month with the Swiss.
“That episode is history. Our focus is the future,” Coutts said.
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