Wednesday, June 1, 2011

America's Cup Update - AC45 for America’s Cup World Series

The 34th America's Cup story continues....

No doubt these latest changes to the AC45 World Series and the rules will spark plenty of debate. The impact on the involvement of emerging sailing talent in the series for one. The challenges faced by teams for funding and concerns to how many teams will be race ready with their AC72's in time for the main event in 2013. Exciting times ahead indeed.
Photo: America's Cup Media
In the latest news from San Francisco the AC45 has been chosen for all America’s Cup World Series events. 

The event organizers and the teams both agree that the AC45 wing-sailed catamaran has exceeded all of their expectations.

The recent AC45 test period produced two major results: outstanding on-the-water racing for the teams and superior television images for spectators. With that in mind, the AC45 today was confirmed for use in all America's Cup World Series events leading into the 2013 racing season.

“The AC45s are ticking off all the boxes for a great event package,” said Iain Murray, America’s Cup Race Management CEO and Regatta Director, following the close of the Competitor Forum today. “The sailors have found these cats to be fast and fun to race. They are challenging, they are exciting, and when the best sailors in the world get their hands on them, they produce close, tight racing.”

Using the AC45 in all AC World Series events instead of switching to the AC72 in season two was one of several changes voted on by America’s Cup competitors on Tuesday. This move also provides teams with another opportunity to manage competition costs.

“After we put the AC45 through its paces in New Zealand, we knew we had the right boat for the next era of America’s Cup sailing,” Murray said. “By making the AC45 the boat of the AC World Series, logistics and overhead can be dramatically reduced at the outset of the 34th America’s Cup cycle. This is a great benefit for all of our teams, providing them with more time in the commercial marketplace and less of a cash investment up front.”

The larger AC72 is expected on the water from July 2012. Teams will work their AC72’s and race in the AC World Series leading into the Louis Vuitton Cup, America’s Cup Challenger Series, and the 34th America’s Cup Finals in San Francisco. The extended time-period for the debut of the AC72 allows teams more time for development of the boat.

The race format and scoring for the 2011 AC World Series have also been released. The format will include a combination of Fleet and Match Racing with winners for each as well as an overall winner that will be determined on the final Sunday of the regatta. The AC World Series starts August 6, 2011 in Cascais, Portugal.

Other updates agreed by the Competitors today include:
  • Teams to launch AC72's starting July 1, 2012 (there is a limited exception to launch and sail earlier for any proven pre-existing contractual obligations)
  • Teams have the same limited number of testing days in the AC72s in advance of racing
  • The first Performance Bond for the AC World Series is eliminated and replaced with an Entry Fee ($100,000 USD)
  • Updated late entry procedure – Teams can enter late at discretion of the Defender
  • Competitors must sign an AC45 purchase contract with a 50 percent non-refundable deposit paid by June 10
  • Teams will consolidate their websites into www.americascup.com by July 1, 2011.
Lulu Roseman

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