While it is great to see so many potential America’s Cup challengers announced for the next edition, most people have been sceptical about how many would ‘make it’ in the long run. Despite entry fees being reduced, rules relating to requirements bent, and significant concessions being made to attract teams into the process, the America’s Cup has announced that Venezia Challenge will not participate further.
In a carefully worded statement, organisers said:
The Italian challenger has advised that it was unable to meet required commitments within an agreed deadline. Accordingly the Golden Gate Yacht Club, has notified Club Canottieri Roggero di Lauria which is represented by Venezia Challenge, that the Italian Challenger has been excused from further participation.
The news might signal the end of speculation that, the America’s Cup World Series at least, would accept almost any team that expressed an interest. Clearly, the commercial models are not easily sellable to sponsors and teams require significant ‘venture capital’ from investors who are willing to put aside the lack of certainty about elements of the event.
The news is not as big a blow to the embryonic world series as the non-participation of teams like Mascalzone Latino, but Venezia Challenge was contributing to the marketability of the event to a younger audience through the announcement of Torvar Mirsky as helm for the team.
Iain Murray, the America’s Cup Regatta Director and Chief Executive of America’s Cup Management Limited advised:
“Following discussions and attempts to resolve in a timely way, there was an agreement to meet certain obligations by this weekend and the deadline passed.”
Tom Ehman, Vice Commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club summarised the story to pad out the statement for the press. He said:
“Venezia Challenge failed to fulfil its commitments to remain eligible to continue in the 34th America’s Cup,”
Meanwhile, we wait to see how the Cascais opener of the America’s Cup World Series will live up to the massive expectations that organisers have built around the event. We are expecting a revolution in the way the television product will deliver a new and exciting form of sailing to a new audience, however the task of simplification has been made more difficult by running 3 different sailing disciplines in the same event: fleet racing, match racing and a new speed-trial format.
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