BMW ORACLE seem to be keeping their options open with regards to the future of the America’s Cup. While the team is a member of the World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA) and are friendly with long-time America’s Cup sponsor (sorry – partner) Louis Viutton, the CEO of BMW ORACLE, Russell Coutts has his own racing series which has stepped up the match racing component in 2010.
[cleeng_content id=”510673408″ description=”99 cents or 10,000 hours. The path to being an expert can be easy or hard. ” price=”0.99″]Now the eponymously named RC44 series is heading for America, the home of the BMW ORACLE team and the new home of the America’s Cup. The RC 44 Championship has announced plans to develop a North American circuit. An RC 44 will be displayed in Newport (RI) this spring, allowing potential owners to test-sail the boat. A North American Championship Tour could be launched as early as 2011.
While Larry Ellison told Fortune Magazine that the Louis Vuitton Trophy would make a good support series for the America’s Cup, others comments have hinted that a new AC class may look like a scaled up RC44 and so having stong recognition of the one-design would help allign the amateur and professional side of the sport which is such a hot topic in the states.
Dee Smith, a professional sailor and project manager involved in top level yacht racing events, has been named RC 44 agent for North America. He said:
“This is a great opportunity to start a very exciting new One Design Class here in North America. The RC 44 has proven to be a huge success in Europe and we feel there is a need for a boat that is both exciting to sail and cost effective to run here in the States. We already have many established teams looking to acquire an RC 44 and get this party going.”
Bertrand Favre, RC44 Class Manager says:
“The North American circuit will be adapted to the owners’ desires. Some characteristics of the Class are fundamental, such as the One Design aspect, the amateur owner driver and direct umpiring. However we are also open to new ideas regarding the format of racing. One thing is sure: thanks to the easy logistics of the Class, it will be possible to sail in great locations in the US, both on the East and West coast and even on lakes.”
For a country like the USA which supports the NFL, NBA, MBL and NASCAR, the creation of a national sailing series should be easy. The announcement that the RC44 Class will establish an American footprint pre-empts any attempts by the Extreme 40 class to create an entertainment based national sailing competition, though with the return of the America’s Cup to US shores, there should be room for both and more…[/cleeng_content]