In a move which was a surprise to many observers of the America’s Cup, the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) announced yesterday they were shifting focus from the America’s Cup World Series to the “Summer of Sailing”, their new term for the summer events leading to the America’s Cup in September.
Originally the ACEA was strongly promoting the America’s Cup World series (ACWS), sailed in the smaller AC 45’s as a prelude to the America’s Cup itself. Over the past twelve months, the World Series had been sailed on three continents, with a huge number of spectators and TV viewers watching the races. The World Series races were to be a tune-up, gear-up for the sailors who would be competing in the Summer Cup events. This series was widely acclaimed by the ACEA and the participants as a success.
However, recently at least one of the challengers to Oracle, the America’s Cup Defending Champion, decided to reduce participation in the ACWS and to instead to concentrate on sailing the larger AC 72’s. This potential reduction in competition has apparently caused the ACEA to reconsider the World Series and to shift direct focus to the summer’s main events. As a result, the only ACWS event now scheduled will take place in Naples, Italy in April.
According to Stephen Barclay, ACEA Executive Officer, “The America’s Cup regattas on the San Francisco Bay this summer will be spectacular. The Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, will feature three very competitive challengers. They will compete to become the ultimate challenger to take on the current America’s Cup Champions, Oracle team USA”.
Currently there is no word on how this might affect the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup which was planned to give young and promising sailors worldwide an opportunity to sail the AC 45’s during the Spring and Summer.
As always, when it comes to the America’s Cup, there is as much drama away from the races as there is on the water.
Get out on the water, be safe and have fun!