What’s not new in the otherwise “all new” America’s Cup is backroom intrigue. Only a true Cup junkie would follow the jury rulings posted on the Cup’s official website, but a picture is emerging of a stark divide. On the one hand, we have the Emirates Team New Zealand/Luna Rossa partnership, in which the two campaigns plan to design and test their boats in tandem. On the other, there are Oracle and Sweden’s Artemis, the Defender and Challenger of Record, which are pulling in tandem toward a shared vision of a sustainable professional catamaran circuit integrated into the future of the America’s Cup. (Emirates Team New Zealand’s Grant Dalton seems to have no love at all for the AC45 World Series circuit.)
In late 2011, Oracle and Artemis Racing both posed “questions” to the AC Jury resulting in an interpretation, released over the winter, that dealt a setback to the Kiwi-Italian partnership by strictly limiting the sharing of performance data between boats and teams.
For their part, New Zealand and Luna Rossa questioned which teams should be eligible to vote on amendments affecting the final America’s Cup race series, to be sailed in 2013 aboard 72-foot catamarans. Despite counter-submissions by Oracle and Artemis, voting rights are now limited to those teams that have paid the $200,000 performance bond levied in the Protocol. (The deadline to pay is this June.) At press time, that includes only the above four teams. So far, no 2-2 voting ties, but the stage is set for a possible deadlock, until or unless another team commits to an AC72. The first 72s launch in July.
Photo courtesy of Gilles Martin-Raget/34th America's Cup