Team Australia pulls out of 35th America's Cup
AMERICA’S CUP: The internet newsletters were all bursting over the weekend at the news coming from Australia that the Hamilton Island Yacht Club (HIYC) had pulled out of the 35th AC.
"When we entered the Cup we had the intention of trying to change the Cup in many ways," explained Sandy Oatley, speaking on behalf of HIYC. "Our position as Challenger of Record gave us the opportunity through the drafting of the protocol to affect this change. Central to these changes, was the desire to make the participation in the Cup more affordable and more sustainable."
It seems the announcement by Messrs Ellison and Coutts to run a two venue series struck a chord with the Oatleys, who had made no secret of their desire to cut the costs of entering and racing in the AC.
Running the series at two venues, together with the costs involved of moving everything around at the whim of Messrs Ellision and Coutts, seems to have forced the Oatleys to recognise nothing was going to change under the control of the Deadly Duo.
Far from it. Which is a great pity. But obviously one way one of the richest men in the world could perhaps all but guarantee he’ll win the tarniesh trophy again is for him to outspend everyone.
"The Challenge was initiated with a view to negotiating a format for the 35th America's Cup that was affordable and put the emphasis back on sailing skills," said Bob Oatley. "Ultimately our estimate of the costs of competing was well beyond our initial expectation and our ability to make the formula of our investment and other commercial support add up. We are bitterly disappointed that this emerging team of fine young Australian sailors will not be able to compete at the next America's Cup under our banner."
When the Protocol was released on June 3, 2014, there were immediate cost concerns regarding event entry and multiple race venues.
"We are very disappointed to be receiving this news," said Russell Coutts of the Oatley’s refusal to follow the Ellison/Coutts Oracle line. "But our focus going forward is with the teams that have already submitted challenges and the teams that have told us of their intent to do so before the entry deadline on August 8th."
ACEA is continuing its work to select a host venue for the America's Cup in 2017, with an aim to announce the final venue in October.
"We remain supportive of the Defender's continued drive towards a more commercial event format, along with a more sustainable future for this historic trophy," commented Sir Ben Ainslie. "While the withdrawal of the Challenger of Record is regrettable, it is also not unusual."
It's difficult to guess what happens next. It seems the Oatleys are set on reducing the astronomic costs of competing in the AC. But Ellison seems set on doing his own thing again.
And he has the money to be able to do what he wants and ignore the rest of the sailing world who, I feel sure, would back the Oatleys
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