So, What's Next?

What does it mean to have an Italian Challenger of Record for America's Cup 34? Let's start with spirit, enthusiasm, gusto, sport pursued con brio. Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino team was one of four (yes, four) Italian entries in the 2007 Cup, and the game was more fun while the Italians were in it.Expect more of the same. With the Club Nautico di Roma in the hunt there will be
Author:
Publish date:

What does it mean to have an Italian Challenger of Record for America's Cup 34? Let's start with spirit, enthusiasm, gusto, sport pursued con brio. Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino team was one of four (yes, four) Italian entries in the 2007 Cup, and the game was more fun while the Italians were in it.

Expect more of the same. With the Club Nautico di Roma in the hunt there will be pre-event racing ahead of the next America's Cup match, and we can be sure that some of that will take place in Italy, and you won't want to miss it.

Onorato supported Larry Ellison's legal challenge against the former Defender's plans. The two are friendly rivals, so it all makes sense. With Ellison's BMW Oracle Racing team winning the Cup 2-0 over Alinghi, Ellison was immediately in need of a Challenger/partner to set a framework for the future. That may sound strange, but that's the reality of America's Cup as a challenge competition in the 21st century.

Under the Cup's Deed of Gift any properly constituted yacht club is entitled to challenge. In the old days, the New York Yacht Club would simply wait for someone in Merry Olde England to write them a letter. In our times, however, every new Defender sets out to build a type of competition that suits his vision. Rather than sit back and wait to see what sort of challenger might pop up, Ellison was prepared with what we call a "hip pocket" challenge. That is, although he had claimed to "not be thinking about that" while the match was under way, he had already chosen his preferred Challenger of Record, and on the final race day, he had his Golden Gate Yacht Club commodore, Marcus Young, securely sequestered to prevent surprises. Receiving the paperwork from the Circolo Nautico Roma was a mere formality.

Ellison has spoken of seeking "consensus" within the sailing community as to what a future America's Cup should be. Back to monohulls, apparently, is his preference. That leaves time and place to be determined, along with a choice of boat type. Most likely, the next platform will be faster and more contemporary than the Version 5 ACC boats that were raced in 2007 and are still in competition for various editions of the Louis Vuitton traveling road show.

And the next defense should take place in the USA. The alternative is unthinkable.

In two years, three years. That's the right time frame, with pre-event racing starting asap.

You might notice that personalities here dominate the stage while, technically, only a yacht club can win, hold, or lose the America's Cup. The parallel reality is that personalities do now dominate, and players such as Ellison and Onorato have learned how to partner with yacht clubs under agreements that leave them free to play the game as they see fit.

Larry Ellison was not a member of the Golden Gate Yacht Club until he needed a partnership, and then events moved quickly. When word hit the street that Ellison had not come to terms with the St. Francis Yacht Club just a few hundred yards to the west, then-GGYC commodore Norbert Barjurin picked up the phone and—

Could there have been a happier man in Valencia last Sunday?

GMR_3641

Becoming first a Challenger of Record against Alinghi and now Defender of America's Cup has been a great shot in the arm for this small institution on the shores of San Francisco Bay—the club's entry in the 2009 Yachting Yearbook identifies it as "Trustee for the world famous Seaweed Soup Perpetual Trophy"—but no one at GGYC is bossing Ellison around as he plans the 34th defense. This is a huge cultural shift from New York Yacht Club's 132 years of America's Cup possession, and the logical result of the devolution that began during the San Diego Yacht Club's term. Traditionalists may decry, but the freight train rolls on.

Ellison has promised to attempt to hold the next America's Cup on GGYC's home waters, "but we need the city to be with us 100 percent." Considering that the city of San Francisco has no money for funding infrastructure—and the Board of Supervisors has no history of being friendly to high-hat endeavors such as sailing—Ellison's proviso could prove the key to holding the defense elsewhere. Newport, Rhode Island, for example, in historic waters. Either way, San Francisco Bay is sure to see the Cup boats in action at some point, and the cameras will love the place, and if the Cup match is also on the Bay it will be a thing of beauty.

(We could write a book about how the previous Defender, Ernesto Bertarelli, brought himself down by overstepping the bounds, trying to create and manipulate a "lap dog" Challenger of Record that, ultimately, was ruled invalid by the courts of New York. But let's save ourselves a few hundred thousand words and move on. Vincenzo Onorato is not a bought man.)

For the record, here's how they see it in Rome:

Con la conferenza stampa odierna di BMW Oracle Racing, il nuovo Defender dell’America’s Cup, si conclude la 33ma edizione e si apre la 34ma.

Russell Coutts, lo skipper del team di Larry Ellison ha confermato che il Golden Gate Yacht Club accetta la sfida del Club Nautico di Roma in rappresentanza di Mascalzone Latino Audi Team. Il team presieduto da Lara Cirib Onorato dunque il nuovo Challenger of Record per la 34ma America’s Cup.

Suo marito Vincenzo, l’esperto velista che ha guidato Mascalzone Latino nelle due precedenti campagne di America’s Cup ha dichiarato: “Grazie Larry grazie Russell, seguir questo ruolo con onest, passione e amicizia”.

Il primo sfidante ha il compito di negoziare con il Defender i termini della futura sfida, che saranno basati sul mutuo consenso, come ha ribadito Russell Coutts, al fine di offrire all’America’s Cup un futuro di grande evento sportivo basato su regole eque e condivise con tutti i team partecipanti.

Related

arc18-3981

Stories from the Cruisers of the ARC

Each December, the docks at Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia are abuzz as the fleet of the ARC—the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers—arrives to much fanfare. No matter what time of day or night, the staff of the World Cruising Club, organizers of the 33-year-old rally, are there to ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com A sign from outside the box  Rev counters on modern engines are driven electronically from a terminal on the alternator. If all is well, as soon as the engine fires up the revs will read true. If, ...read more

emSelf-tacking-jib

Ask Sail: Are Self-trackers Worth It?

Q: I’m seeing more and more self-tacking jibs out on the water (and in the pages of SAIL) these days. I can’t help thinking these boats are all hopelessly underpowered, especially off the wind, when compared to boats with even slightly overlapping headsails. But I could be ...read more

01-LEAD-hose-leak-CREDIT-BoatUS

Know how: Is Your Bilge Pump up to the Job?

Without much reflection, I recently replaced my broken bilge pump with a slightly larger model. After all, I thought, surely an 800 gallon-per-hour (gph) pump will outperform the previous 500gph unit? Well, yes, but that’s no reason to feel much safer, as I soon discovered. The ...read more

190314-viddy

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: A Source of Hope

The tagline for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is "serious sailing, serious fun." However, for the inhabitants of St. Maarten, the event is more than just a festival of great music and some of the best sailing around. Local blogger Angie Soeffker explains the impact the race ...read more

SPOTX-1500x1500_front

Gear: SPOT-X Satellite

Hits the SPOT The SPOT-X two-way satellite messenger is an economical way of staying connected to the outside world via text or e-mail when you’re at sea. As well as the messaging service, it has a distress function that not only alerts authorities if you’re in trouble, but lets ...read more

_8105684

A Kid’s Take on the Northwest Passage

Going North—and West Crack! Crunch! I woke with a start to the sound of ice scraping the hull of our 60ft sailboat, Dogbark. In a drowsy daze, I hobbled out of the small cabin I was sharing with my little sister. As I emerged into the cockpit, I swiveled my head, searching for ...read more