Extreme Sailing Series 2014: America’s Cup cost concern is undercurrent in St Petersburg


St. Petersburg

Running the next America’s Cup in two venues half a world apart could cost Britain’s challenger, Ben Ainslie Racing, and others an extra $5m. One of the sticking points in the negotiations between the Australians, who helped draw up the rules, was an insistence by the American defender that the qualifiers should be staged early in 2017, and that means finding a southern hemisphere venue.

The top four qualifiers would then go into a semi-final knockout at the venue in which the cup match would be staged. What are said to be the remaining three candidates – Bermuda, Chicago, and San Diego – are all in the northern hemisphere.

The teams could, therefore, have to establish bases in the qualifier venue – Sydney will be keen to pick up that job – for up to six months. Then the whole shooting match needs to be transferred to the match venue in time for a June/July finale. Ainslie is, outwardly, relaxed saying that he is happy to work with all sides in order to make progress.  

In St. Petersburg, where light air racing in the Extreme Sailing Series was proving very difficult to stage, Ben Ainslie is competing, as is France’s Franck Cammas, who would like to head a French challenge, as is team New Zealand and not only Team Australia but its boss, Iain Murray. The ‘big fella’ ran last year’s racing in San Francisco and then moved to the other side of the negotiating table from his old boss, Russell Coutts. Murray knows more tweaks could yet be made to the AC set-up.

Among important changes already made is an agreement that teams will be allowed to take part in other racing events, though they still need to notify the cup holder, Oracle.

The entry window for 2017 in theory closes on 8 August this year. Others taking a close interest include the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, which could be problematic at a time of U.S. sanctions against Russia, and the Chinese, who may recruit management skills from the Oracle team and from New Zealand to help them organise.

Also problematical was Extreme Sailing Series racing on the Neva River. Only two more races were possible but they were enough for defending champion Leigh McMillan in The Wave, Muscat to take over the lead from arch-rival Morgan Larson and Alinghi. Sir Ben moved up a place to fifth and Nathan Wilmot, also an Olympic gold medallist at the helm of Team Australia’s GAC Pindar, moved up a place to eighth. The boss would approve, but waits to see if applause will be in order.

Said Sir Ben: “It’s a tricky place to sail, like they all are on this series. But, it’s beautiful and it’s very special to be racing on the Neva river - a pretty unique experience for all of us.  The racing has been a real challenge but we are going OK so far. Hopefully we will keep moving forward and improving in the final two days.”  

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam