For the first time in its long history, the America’s Cup is to see the resignation of the Challenger of Record and the appointment of a replacement.
There have been occasions when the lead challenger has failed to bring a competing boat but, for the 34th running of an event which was born out of a race round the Isle of Wight in 1851, the announcement by the Italian team Mascalzone Latino that it would not take part in the 34th defence in 2013 has led to a step change.
As teams have to represent yacht clubs, it is the Club Nautico de Roma which resigns the role and the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, whose flag is carried by the Artemis Challenge, would take over at the invitation of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, which is represented by the cup’s holder, Oracle Racing.
Artemis is headed by oil billionaire Torbjorn Tornqvist, who has appointed Californian Paul Cayard as his ceo. Cayard is a long-time collaborator with the Oracle team’s ceo, Russell Coutts, appointed by Oracle boss Larry Ellison to plan the downfall of the cup’s previous holder, Ernesto Bertarelli of Switzerland.
Another Swede, but one who lives in London and is as happy with a British ensign as his native country’s flag, Niklas Zennström steered his new boat to a satisfactory debut in the practice race for the first Audi MedCup regatta of the 2011 season in Portugal today.
The first group of inshore races in anger are scheduled for Wednesday and there are four more regattas, in Marseille, Cagliari (Sardinia), Cartagena (Spain) and Barcelona with individual trophies at each one but a cumulative score from all five to decide the 2011 champion.