America's Cup 2015: Long-term planning to be discussed in London meeting


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The Independent Online

A steady as she goes meeting of four of the possible five challengers with the America’s Cup defender has decided in London to demand much more talking and to include long-term planning along with arrangements for the next event, scheduled for 2017.

The Ben Ainslie Racing team joined Sweden’s Artemis, Italy’s Luna Rossa and Team France but Emirates Team New Zealand had been asked not to attend by the man who led the meeting, Sir Russell Coutts, boss of the San Francisco-based Oracle team, owned by computer software billionaire Larry Ellison.

Another statement issued jointly supported:

Regular meetings encompassing all teams in order to work collectively to maximize the potential of both this America’s Cup and future editions.

Each team plan to host an America’s Cup World Series event in either their own country, or a country of their choice.

All the teams present agreed that they would commit – if they were to win the Cup in 2017 – to continue with the America’s Cup World Series.

A commitment to further reduce the costs for both this Cup and future editions.

Support for the choice of host venue, be it Bermuda or San Diego.

A working group to agree on the date and event structure of the 36th America’s Cup, to lay the foundations for a sustainable event.

The first paragraph implies that the Kiwis would be or could be involved in future talks if they also enter what will be known as AC35. Paragraphs two and three allow the teams to nominate a foreign country venue for a world series regatta which wold be in 45-foot foiling catamarans for this cycle. But no such commitment could be binding on a winning challenger and nor is there any mention of how these regattas would be financed.

Ben Ainslie is known to be keen to stage regattas in both 2015 and 2016 in what will be the home port of the British challenge, Portsmouth.

Seeking to reduce costs further this time round implies there will be further talks on the structure of the current event and, even though the only two host venues named are Bermuda and San Diego it is possible that a return to Alameda in San Francisco could be discussed, along with re-opening contacts with San Francisco authorities which have been told in writing that they are out of the running.

No date or place for the next meeting was announced, though both bi-lateral and full meetings can take place by teleconference.

The British challenge is still expected to be lodged formally, along with a first stage entry fee of $1,075,000 by the deadline of 8 August 2014, midnight Pacific time.