Add Foils, Add a Theoretical Future, Stir
By Kimball Livingston Posted September 17, 2014
Want to host a foiling AC45 regatta in 2018, the year after America’s Cup 35?
Bidding is now open, but you needn’t sharpen your elbows. The real goal for America’s Cup developers (notice my phrasing) at the moment is setting venues for a racing circuit between now and 2017, the year of the next Cup match, which will be sailed in some kind of boat or other and not an AC45, presumably, In today’s announcement that existing AC45 one designs will be retooled to foil with the intent to continue a circuit beyond 2017, we can read an attempt to “normalize” the game by looking beyond the next match for the Cup. Again, presumably, there is more going on below the surface, or behind closed doors, but that’s been the trick, hasn’t it?
The Russell Coutts game plan to professionalize America’s Cup competition and put it on a footing with other pro sports was on the table going into 2013, and one year ago today there was all to play for. Emirates Team New Zealand needed two more race wins to take the Cup, and the Oracle Racing comeback story was reeling from its most recent 17-second loss. There was no racing on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, but the Cup was seriously up for grabs and with the outcome, The Plan.
Who could have foreseen the heady comeback win for Oracle Racing, with so many San Franciscans pouring down to the finish line that the fire marshal would close the gates to Pier 17? And who in that heady moment (certainly not I) would have imagined that one year later we would not know the venue of America’s Cup 35 (even if I think I can guess) and The Voices are telling me that the vaunted AC62 concept derived in great detail with great study from the AC72 may be shelved.
Who would have foreseen this moment for The Plan?
Announcing an intent to continue a 2015-16 foiling AC45 circuit into 2018 makes sense, but without a calendar for a 2015-16 circuit, I’m afraid it has about as much news value (do I sound excited?) as the blacked-out September 9 “press conference” in London.
The America’s Cup, the signature event in our sport, has had identity crises before. But not, I believe, so vividly under the direction of people whose avowed purpose was to set it on course.
What’s that dratted sound?
Oh, sorry, it was my foot tapping.
Today’s word from America’s Cup central:
The six America’s Cup teams have agreed to a project that will see the existing fleet of AC45 catamarans modified into fully foiling catamarans for racing in the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS).
Importantly, the teams have also committed to continue to race the foiling AC45s on the America’s Cup World Series circuit in 2018, following the conclusion of the 35th America’s Cup in 2017.
“I’m pleased all of the competitors have agreed on a way forward, beyond the current America’s Cup cycle,” said Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner for the 35th America’s Cup.
“To have the teams give certainty to all stakeholders as to what will happen following the racing in 2017, regardless of who wins, is a huge step forward for all involved.”
The teams have undertaken the project to modify the one-design AC45s into fully foiling catamarans with a view to racing the foiling versions as early as the 2015 ACWS season.
A feasibility study has been commissioned to determine whether the mods will need to wait until the 2016 season as the timeline to make changes to the entire fleet ahead of racing in 2015 is extremely tight.
The competitors have also appointed a working group to select a Regatta Director, as required by the Protocol.