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  • America's Cup To Use Smaller Catamarans, Nationality Rule For 2017 Race

    Team Australia member Iain Murray said the new rules will create more fairness.

    The America's Cup in '17 "will be held with a smaller version of the catamarans used in last year's regatta in San Francisco Bay," according to Noel Randewich of REUTERS. The Cup will also "include new crew nationality minimums." Owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand last year and as defender negotiated the rules for the next Cup with Team Australia's Hamilton Island Yacht Club, the Challenger of Record. Among the new protocols, the '17 Cup "will be sailed with a similar but smaller version of the 72-foot, wing-sail catamarans" used in '13. The new 62-foot boats, called AC62s, "will be crewed by eight people, three fewer than last year." Ellison "has yet to agree on whether the next America's Cup will be held again in San Francisco." Other possible sites include "Hawaii and San Diego" (REUTERS, 6/3). The AAP reported the protocol "details a three-year racing programme" from '15-'17. There "will be at least six America's Cup world series events" in both '15 and '16, to be raced in the AC45 class. All teams "will have the chance to host an event in their home country." An America's Cup qualifiers series will be held in '17 involving all teams, "with a bonus point in the America's Cup Match at stake" (AAP, 6/3). The AP reported the America's Cup "will have a nationality rule." At least 25% of each crew "will need to be nationals of the respective country's challenge." It is "not cheap to enter, though." The fee is $2M, payable in two installments. There "could be six to eight challengers." Next Tuesday in Greenwich, Olympian Ben Ainslie who sailed for Oracle in the last cup, "will launch a British challenge." Other teams are expected from New Zealand, Italy, Sweden, Australia and possibly China and France. Unlike in previous America's Cup regattas, the defender "will be allowed to sail against challengers in the elimination series." An America's Cup World Series in 45-foot catamarans in '15 and '16 "will be used to seed the America's Cup Qualifiers, a double-round robin event." Team Australia member Iain Murray said that the challengers "are just happy to have rules so they can raise money and go sailing." New nationality rules require two of the eight crew on the 62-footers and one of the five crew on the 45-footers be from the home country of a team's backing yacht club. Oracle Team USA began the last America's Cup with two of 11 sailors from the U.S. and finished with just one (AP, 6/4).

    MURRAY WELCOMES CHANGES: In Sydney, Nicole Jeffery reported Murray said that the new rules, which run to 78 pages and took eight months of negotiation, "would create a fairer, cheaper, closer competition for the world’s oldest sporting trophy." There are new regulations "designed to stamp out the legal manoeuvring and skulduggery that were traditionally part of the competition, and a new points system that will reward winning teams as they go into each round of the competition." Murray: “You’re never going to be 100 percent happy. But it’s been a hard negotiation over a long period of time and I think it’s a step up from where we were last time.’’ Murray said that the move to a smaller foiling catamaran (from 72 feet last time to 62 feet) with more one-design features "would reduce costs significantly" for all parties, by as much as 30% from the A$100M ($930,000) budgets of the last round (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/5).

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