America’s Cup 2017: Summit sees Sir Ben Ainslie join US talks

 

A busy weekend for Olympic champion and America’s Cup challenger Sir Ben Ainslie includes a flight to Los Angeles for a summit meeting at which all the potential challengers for the next cup, scheduled for 2017, will discuss problems with the current developments.

This week the defender, which has the right to choose, announced that the venues under consideration had been whittled down to two, dropping Chicago and concentrating on San Diego or Bermuda. The 2013 venue of San Francisco, where there had always been an uneasy relationship, had already been dropped, as had Newport, Rhode Island.

The event authority, effectively led by the Oracle team boss Sir Russell Coutts, holder of the cup, issued early last month the complex rules surrounding the structure of what will be AC35, the 35 defence since the yacht America won the 100 pound trophy in a race around the Isle of Wight in 1851.

Since Oracle came from 1-8 down to retain the cup 9-8 last September, with Ainslie making a significant contribution as a member of a crew skippered by the Australian Jimmy Spithill, this is the first time that all the challengers have met to discuss how the rules are being drawn up. Those rules were drafted by Oracle and the so-called Challenger of Record, the Hamilton Island Yacht Club and its Team Australia.

They include a delicate area for Ainslie as they replace what has been an international jury with a three-strong Arbitration Panel made up by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to settle disputes. It is not known what role would be played by the International Sailing Federation, the world governing body of which Ainslie’s brother-in-law, Jerome Pels, is Secretary General. The Italian president, Carlo Croce, is understood to be determined to see its control continue.

The challengers will also want to see more clarity about the whole structure of AC35 as they try to raise sponsorship support. Ainslie has said that his target budget is £80m. and he thinks he has about 40% of that. This includes £7.5m. of government money pledged by David Cameron – a rare move to back a team rather than an event – plus £1.4m. from the city of Portsmouth, where Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) intends to build a new sailing and administrative headquarters.

But none of the teams met a deadline earlier this week to lodge formal challenges with a request to host qualifier regattas in 2015 and 2016. BAR has told Coutts that it wants to stage regattas in Portsmouth in both 2015 and 2016, so that deadline may be artificial. More important is the deadline for formal entries for AC35, at 8 August less than a month away, which need to be accompanied by a $1m. fee, followed by a performance bond of another $1m.and a second $1m. tranche before the end of the year.

They need to know sooner rather than later when and where they will race – an important factor when unleashing expensive design teams – and whether the qualifiers to find the final four will be in a completely different part of the planet. That is promised  not until the end of the year, though Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill told New Zealand television recently that he hoped that would be by October.

Depending on how it is measured, the San Francisco event did not live up to the commercial predictions made and Coutts is very keen to make more of a financial success this time.  “I’m confident that we’re on target to finish with a venue that allows us to achieve our goal of hosting an exciting and successful America’s Cup built on a strong commercial foundation,” he said this week.

The British are gung ho to challenge, the Prada-backed Luna Rossa team wants to check a few things, but it would be a major surprise if it did not challenge, has budget allocated, and has received further backing from the Lenovo computer company.

The Swedish Artemis team, run by Ainslie’s big friend and himself a double Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy, has the backing of oil billionaire Torbjorn Tornqvist and the 2013 challenger Emirates Team New Zealand has government backing, continued support from the Middle East airline, and has said it is ready to challenge.

There is more uncertainty about the financial status of a French challenge led by Franck Cammas and Michel Desjoyeaux and little but speculation about teams from China and Russia, both of which could easily be funded. 

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?