Bermuda could still have a role in the next America's Cup

Thursday, 12 October 2017


 Team New Zealand enjoyed success there this year, winning back the Auld Mug from Oracle Team USA.

The United States and Bermuda loom as America's Cup warmup options ahead of the real deal in Auckland 2021.

Team New Zealand rules expert Russell Green revealed some of the thinking around the build-up to the event as he discussed the protocol recently released by the defenders and challenger of record Luna Rossa in a live chat with American-based website Sailing Illustrated on Wednesday.

Luna Rossa, the Italian syndicate backed and run by Prada boss Patrizio Bertelli, will organise the five overseas pre-regattas which are planned for 2019 and 2020 and will be sailed in the new 75-foot monohulls to be introduced in this 36th edition of the America's Cup.

Luna Rossa in action during an America's Cup world series event in Newport, Rhode Island in 2012.

Green said there was a desire to take the pre-regattas to "traditional venues with good wind and good viewing".

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Italy has already been touted as a pre-regatta host and that will surely fall to Circolo Della Vela Sicilia, the official yacht club behind Luna Rossa based in Palermo, Sicily.

Luna Rossa leaders Max Sirena and Patrizio Bertelli will organise the pre-regattas for the America's Cup.

The early challenge confirmed by the New York Yacht Club last week looks likely to be rewarded.

Green suggested Newport, Rhode Island, the home base of the NYYC, would fit the formula, being regarded as the traditional home of the America's Cup with the club holding the Auld Mug from 1851 to 1983.

Green said other areas of the Mediterranean would have appeal to Bertelli.

He also mentioned the Carribean or a return to Bermuda which held the America's Cup this year.

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Green said the format of the pre-regattas – match-racing or fleet racing – would depend on the number of teams involved and the time available.

That would also apply to the Christmas Cup to be sailed in Auckland on the eve of the America's Cup which opens with the newly-named  Prada Cup for the challengers in January 2021.

Team New Zealand will be involved in all of the pre-regattas, including the Christmas Cup, before separating from the challengers and only  reappearing for the America's Cup match against the top overseas outfit.

That differs to Bermuda where defenders Oracle Team USA inserted themselves in the challenger round-robin series for the first time in the history of the event.

"We believe in the whole principle of the defender and the challenger," Green emphasised to Sailing Illustrated, highlighting the intrigue that comes with the two being separated until the moment of truth.

"The first race of the match where the defender has no idea (how they stack up) and the challenger is match-hardened. That's the magic of the match and we wanted to keep that."

Green believed the return to the traditions meant there would be no "cliques" has had evolved over the last Cup cycle where Team New Zealand saw themselves as the "lone wolf" with Oracle working closely with the four other challenging teams and alienating the Kiwis in some of the decision-making.

Green saw the next America's Cup as a 50-50 split between Team New Zealand and the challengers who would be represented by Luna Rossa as the official challenger of record.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 October 2017 )