The closing date for entries for the next America’s Cup gets closer. With one AC45 catamaran built and sailing, the organisers of the sideshow event, the AC World Series have announced a calendar of events.
By July, the America’s Cup Event Authority expects to have enough teams and enough boats, ready to put on a professional sporting event for spectators. Hopefully the first venue knows where it will be, and hopefully soon fans will also know, so they can book travel in some of the most expensive summer months.
Host cities are expected to be announced in coming weeks, but at least two of the dates clash with the established Extreme Sailing Series. It is unclear whether the America’s Cup name will be enough to draw new crowds to the sport who haven’t already heard of the Extreme Series. 5 extra feet and a wing-sail may not be enough of a differentiator, especially when the events are brand new.
Nevertheless, Richard Worth, Chairman of the ACEA is confident that the winning cities will have the infrastructure and major event planning capabilities to deliver sporting events comparable to the Champions League and Formula 1 – the first in around 120 days.
“We are incredibly pleased with the potential choices we have before us, with venues that offer the kind of up-close action that fans want to see. We are finalizing our slate now. We feel very confident that each America’s Cup World Series event will be first-class, creating a real foundation for future editions of the circuit.”
The AC World Series hopes to be a regular circuit of eight regattas that will bring America’s Cup-level racing and the America’s Cup experience to top international venues.
The promoters are expecting the events to be televised to expose millions more fans to the sport of high-performance sailing.
The 2011-2012 AC World Series will be sailed in the AC45, the forerunner to the next generation of America’s Cup boats. The boats were originally slated as a platform for a youth America’s Cup, but in the short term, the AC45 allows teams to get used to sailing a multi-hull with a fixed wing sail.
The 2012-2013 season will be sailed in the larger and faster America’s Cup boats, the AC72, and its champion will be crowned just prior to the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup (America’s Cup Challenger Series) in July 2013. The youth America’s Cup seems to have been forgotten about, at least in this initial press release.
It’s a real shame that the sport of sailing couldn’t work out a way to combine resources rather than spread them thinner. The Extreme Sailing Series has kicked off this week in Oman with great names, great sailing and a team of event personnel that know how to run races for sailors and spectators alike. To create another multi-hull series, which to the Facebook Generation is no different, seems like rights holders being greedy, or arrogant, or both.
It would be wonderful to see the America’s Cup World Series piggy-back on other events where there was already a crowd, and four of the dates line up nicely with scheduled In-Port activity of the next Volvo Ocean Race. That would be smart. That would be great for the sport. That’s the sort of thing that ISAF as the governing body of the sport should take a lead on, but what are the chances?
America’s Cup World Series for AC 45 Calendar of Events
- 16 – 24 July 2011 (Audi Med Cup, Barcelona, Spain)
- 13 – 21 August 2011 (RC44, Marstrand, Sweden)
- 17 – 25 September 2011
- 15 – 23 October 2011 (Extreme Sailing Series, Almeria)
- 10 – 18 December 2011 (Extreme Sailing Series Singapore, VOR In Port Cape Town)
- 17 – 25 February 2012 (Volvo Ocean Race In Port China)
- 14 – 22 April 2012 (Volvo Ocean Race In Port Brazil)
- 19 – 27 May 2012 (Volvo Ocean Race In Port Miami)
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