The entry deadline came and the entry deadline went but news was sparse about what was nevertheless described as “a strong line-up of teams” wanting to contest the next America’s Cup in 2017. Expectations had been that at least the number of teams would be disclosed although the world had been warned that they would not be named.
In the event not even a number was forthcoming from Americascup.com but it is still believed that five had indicated their intentions to the San Francisco defender by midnight local time on Friday.
The three short paragraphs statement – one of which was to say there will be a press conference in London in a month’s time – went on to say: “America’s Cup organisers are now working through the second stage of the entry process with each of these teams. This is expected to finish by August 20th.”
There is no doubt surrounding Britain’s Ben Ainslie-led team to represent the Royal Yacht Squadron. Sweden’s Artemis team took over as the lead challenger in San Francisco last time. Emirates Team New Zealand, a former cup holder and the ultimate challenger last time, has made public its intention to be back. The Prada-backed Italians were also there last time and have been in the game for years. The French are a known quantity and well versed in challenging for a trophy which goes back to 1851.
The thought that any of them would be rejected is ludicrous, further delay does none of them nor the event any favours, and filling an extra 11 days with “working through the second stage” should test even the most enthusiastic exponents of finding work to fill the time available. There has always been a mechanism for late entries.
The process, which, instead of creating exciting news, therefore offers just tepid water to fans of an event which stated its intention to bring what claims to be a sports spectacle of world standing out of the flintstone era and attract the facebook generation. Facebook tends to be a more open forum.
Behind the scenes work continues apace on the selection of the venue, narrowed down by the America’s Cup Event Authority, an associate of the Oracle defence team, to San Diego and Bermuda. That decision is not made by the official holder of the cup, the Golden Gate Yacht Club. San Diego has hosted the event three times in 1988, 1992 and 1995. If the tax haven of Bermuda were chosen it would offer the opportunity to redevelop the old naval base, is four hours closer to a European television audience, but would have to take into account the hurricane season.