The protocol of the 34th America’s Cup that will be raced in 2013 on a 72-foot catamaran rigged with a rigid wing has been unveiled by Russell Coutts. After winning the 33rd edition through its lawyers and engineers, Oracle has again showed its willingness to write history in the America’s Cup. So the next edition will be placed under the sign of the technology and entertainment. The gauge chosen, the AC 72, sets catamarans with a maximum length of 22 meters and a width of 15.5 meters. They will be rigged with a rigid wing, simple or made of several panels, and operated by 11 people. Having a Wind Range larger than the “old” monohulls, these boats should be very fast and change a little how to run. In preparation, the teams involved will sail, as soon as next year, on a replica, the AC 45, and participate in the first America’s Cup World Series. In March 2012, the AC 72 will be the rule, and its little brother will than become the former Little America’s Cup.
America’s Cup World Series : a Tour for federating.
With the new gauge, the Defender of the America’s Cup has chosen to create a new circuit, the ACWS. Three races will take place in 2011, seven in 2012 and three in 2013, the year of the Cup. Each year will be awarded the title of the America’s Cup World Champion. Match Race form or fleet races, these events will enable the teams, including Oracle, to learn how to run the machines. If the U.S. challenge has always stated they don’t want to participate in the challenger selection trials, the schedule of which will be announced later on this year, this tour provides an opportunity to test themselves against future competitors. Russell Coutts has also announced that enrollment should take place before March 31st, 2011. The originally scheduled date was pushed back, apparently to allow the more challengers to enter in. If the Challenger of Record, the Yacht Club of Roma, is already registered, no team has yet formalized its coming. It seems unlikely that Team New Zealand won’t run, even if New Zealand have already signed on the next Volvo Ocean Race, as Franck Cammas and Groupama who might have been able to offer something interesting. To date, one wonders if the English, the French or the Swedish teams, who are not a billionaire or a national identity, have the means to enter the race. Or simply the desire. Especially for Alinghi, whose presence or not will necessarily change the fate of the 34th America’s Cup.
We must now wait for the potential teams to thoroughly analyze the 41 pages of the protocol unveiled by Russell Coutts in Valencia. For Philippe Mourniac, the sailor of All4One, it is this document that holds the keys to the next edition. He told NauticNews.com that the closing date extended to March 31st gives a little more time for teams to make ends meet. As for the gauge AC 72, he found it interesting especially in terms of technological change. “We’re going to run on something new, which in addition, will go fast.” Thus, this new formula, with the creation of the ACWS circuit, marks a change in the history of the America’s Cup, the 34th edition of which promises to be spectacular. It also sounds the end of the Louis Vuitton Trophy, the last event will be held in November in Dubai. If the Extreme Sailing Series should, at least initally, be boosted, the circuit of TP 52 should be saved. Single tour enabling teams to sail a dozen sailors, the TP 52 could even see the coming of sponsors and managers unwilling to participate in the big show that Oracle wants to orchestrate. May be visionary, the American Defender still steps in the history of the America’s Cup by showing its clear ambitions to achieve both a mediatic and economic success. The protocol, the gauge and the year of the event are now known. Russell Coutts, the CEO of Oracle will announce the venue of the 34th America’s Cup, the schedule and modalities of the challenger trials, during a press conference scheduled for late December.
Photo Credit: Americascup.com / Gilles Martin-Raget