America's Cup: Team Australia pull out of the running for the 35th America's Cup to deliver the latest major blow to possible 2017 race

Hamilton Island Yacht Club announce that they will not participate in the next running of the America's Cup, expected to be held in three years time

Another major wobble in the progress towards the next America’s Cup came overnight with the announcement in Australia that the lead challenger, Hamilton Island Yacht Club’s Team Australia, has decided to pull out after, as Challenger of Record, it had negotiated to rules protocol for the next event, expected to be in 2017.

The Australians have a proud America’s Cup history and took the cup away from the United States in 1983 after the Americans had held it for 152 years. At the time the prime minister Bob Hawke said every Australian employer should give time off for the celebration and the subsequent, unsuccessful, defence in Fremantle, W. Australia, is still remembered as one of the best ever staged.

The defending San Francisco-based Oracle Racing Team, along with the Golden Gate Yacht Club, said: “The America’s Cup organizers have received notification from the principals of Hamilton Island Yacht Club of their intention to withdraw Team Australia from the 35th America’s Cup.

“We are very disappointed to be receiving this news,” said Russell Coutts, director of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA). “We were excited to have Australia as a challenger and we were also looking forward to the prospect of holding America’s Cup World Series events in Australia.

“But our focus going forward is with the teams that have already submitted challenges and the teams that have told us of their intent to do so before the entry deadline on August 8th.”

In the meantime, ACEA is continuing its work to select a host venue for the America’s Cup in 2017. The selection process “is progressing well” with an aim to announce the final venue in October. ACEA says that the final two being considered are San Diego, California, and Bermuda. At a meeting last weekend in Los Angeles, apparently under the auspices of HIYC but given significant impetus from Ben Ainslie, considerable reservations were express by all the attending actual and putative challengers about both venues.

Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), which revealed its America’s Cup team in a gala ceremony in London last month, was quoted as saying: “We remain supportive of the defender’s continued drive towards a more commercial event format, along with a more sustainable future for this historic trophy.

“BAR will be bidding to host two America’s Cup World Series events in 2015/16 at our new home in Portsmouth; as a key part of the road to the 35th America’s Cup. While the withdrawal of the Challenger of Record is regrettable, it is also not unusual and we will continue our own preparations for the 35th America’s Cup and look forward to an exciting future.”

Commenting on the decision not to proceed with the challenge, Sandy Oatley, son of the Australia Team’s founder Bob, said: “When we entered the cup we had the intention of trying to change the cup in many ways. Our position as Challenger of Record gave us the opportunity, through the drafting of the protocol, to affect this change. Central to these changes, was the desire to make the participation in the Cup more affordable and more sustainable.” There are, however, also understood to be some family reservations about the extent of any financial commitment.

Bob Oatley said: “The challenge was initiated with a view to negotiating a format for  the 35th America’s Cup that was affordable and put the emphasis back on sailing skills. Ultimately our estimate of the costs of competing were well beyond our initial expectation and our ability to make the formula of our investment and other commercial support add up. We are bitterly disappointed that this emerging team of fine young Australian sailors will not be able to compete at the next America’s Cup under our banner”.

It is understood that Team Australia will continue to provide the crew for the GAC Pindar challenge for the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series with Nathan Wilmot continuing as skipper for the next regatta in Cardiff next month.

The challenges referred to by Sir Russell are believed to refer to those already lodged by Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Swedish Artemis team, now headed by Britain’s Iain Percy, and the Prada backed Italian team, Luna Rossa, skippered by Max Sirena with Britain’s Chris Draper again taking a major role.

The ACEA organization says it has agreed not to name challengers until the deadline on 8 August. It is not clear whether either would take over as Challenger of Record, but the system says that the first of the two to challenge would take over the role. Both have carried out the task in the past.

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton said he was disappointed to see the Australian syndicate pull out but said the Kiwi team was on track."We have the class rule and the design team is well into its programme.

“The sailing team continues to compete successfully overseas, with great recent results by Dean Barker and Glenn Ashby in the A class cats worlds and Peter Burling and Blair Tuke still dominating the 49er scene," said Dalton. "In addition, we have never been in better shape with potential sponsors."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?