The America’s Cup World Series will feature 10 boats. That’s the big news from San Francisco, where the organisers of the America’s Cup gathered to announce the line-up for the training events to be held in Cascais and Plymouth later in the year.
9 out of 10 sailing websites went with the prepared PR headline – “America’s Cup Teams welcomed to San Francisco,” proving that even when there is news, nobody bothers to do any work, far easier to paste the press release from the communications team verbatim. Cut & Paste content rules.
The numbers are a little confusing, so here is the breakdown. 10 boats, 9 teams, 8 challengers competing, 7 announced. ORACLE racing will send 2 boats to the first round of the America’s Cup World Series exhibition match in Cascais, Portugal. 7 challengers turned up in San Francisco for the press conference and one team (believed to be European) will announce their entry later.
For many, the line-up is not a surprise. The good news is that Team Korea and the Peyron’s Energy Team are in the group challenging for the America’s Cup. Unsurprisingly Australia is not there.
The reason for ORACLE Racing’s two boat team as reported by AP is because “no other defense candidate has emerged” – which is a nice one line glossing over of months of politics and intrigue that no-doubt will come out at some point. In the mean-time, the ‘American’ team continues to spend bigger than any of its rivals on the travelling warm-up show that is the America’s Cup World Series.
Although the purchase of an AC45 and participation in the ACWS is compulsory for a challenge for the next America’s Cup, it seems that at least one team has not fallen for the distraction. Energy Team, who perhaps have more experience than any other team at sailing multihulls over 60 feet, doesn’t seem to fussed about the 45 foot version – with good reason. The results of the sideshow don’t mean anything – the real competition starts with the Louis Vuitton Cup in the AC72.
While Artemis Racing are now installed as the friendly Challenger of Record for the next edition of the cup, Energy Team is perhaps the one that will give ORACLE Racing the biggest challenge. One imagines that for Bruno Peyron to put his hand up and be on the list of challengers at this stage, the team has the commercial sponsorship required to compete for the ultimate prize.
Bruno Peyron said:
“Energy Team comes to the America’s Cup with great experience in world-class multihull racing. With this new format, we see an exciting opportunity to excel in the America’s Cup. The French public are huge fans of multihull racing so this move to new, dynamic boats will be great for the French sailing audience. And I have no doubt that the passion the French have for fast multihulls will be shared globally once people see these teams racing.”
While ORACLE Racing, backed by Larry Ellison flies the American flag, other teams may have more national support. Team Korea might not have the sailing pedigree of Energy Team or Emirates Team New Zealand, but the team could bring to bear enormous resources in order to win the Cup. The backers of Team Korea are the same people who created the Korea Match Cup, from nothing and in a short space of time have turned it into a nationally broadcast premier sporting event.
Dong-Young Kim, Team Principal said:
“We are very proud to represent the Republic of Korea’s first-ever Challenge for the America’s Cup. With a new boat and new format, Korea can enter the America’s Cup for the first time with a better chance of success. We look forward to building our team and racing the AC45s starting in Portugal.”
The America’s Cup Event Authority have also unveiled a new brand logo for the real America’s Cup challenger series – the Louis Vuitton Cup. The logo playfully hints at the NASCAR wreck element of the new America’s Cup – portraying an AC72 backwards and upside down with the wingsail in the water. The effect is to turn the sails of the boat into a representation of a yacht club burgee.
It’s a classy looking logo, but the connotations are not great. One might think that Louis Vuitton, who is a global leader in design would think about such things.
Richard Worth, Chairman of the America’s Cup Event Authority said about the new design:
“In every sense of the word, the America’s Cup is reinventing itself, from our cutting-edge boats to breakthrough sporting technology to our visual identity. Everything about this new America’s Cup is designed around transforming the sport.”
Pietro Beccari, Executive Vice-President of Louis Vuitton, added his view on the logo concept:
“When we started to work on the new logo for the Louis Vuitton Cup, we wanted to give it a modern and dynamic design which reflects the spirit of the competition. We began by playing with the sails and the hulls of these huge boats, from which we found the inspiration for the logo of next Louis Vuitton Cup.”
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