Thursday, July 21, 2011

He who has the gold makes the rules

This report comes from the “can’t we all get along” department.

Ever since Oracle Racing became the defender of the America’s Cup, they’ve been working tirelessly to re-invent the 34th edition into an entertainment vehicle to grow fan and sponsor interest. Not exactly what George Schuyler had in mind when he deeded the event, but let’s not go there.

Among Oracle’s plans to build fan interest prior to the 2013 Match is to launch the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) this summer. The inaugural event of the ACWS will be in Caiscais, Portugal on August 6-14. What is less clear is why the first event got put on that date.

The prominent conflict is with the nine event Extreme Sailing Series (ESS), which is now in its fifth year of providing a professional league with stadium type racing in forty foot catamarans. Sound familiar? For the ACWS to put their event directly on top of the fifth ESS event in Cowes, UK is more than an ‘oops.” It’s more like a ‘we’re coming after your audience’.

But that’s not the only conflict. The timing of the ESS event is to coincide with Cowes Week, which has been a key part of the British sporting summer calendar since 1826. One might think that the ACWS would give the largest annual multi-class inshore regatta in the world a little space, but apparently not.

And then there is another little event called the Olympics. Well, not exactly the Olympics, but the London 2012 Olympic Test Event (July 31-August 13, 2011) which is designed to replicate the Games atmosphere and will host 460 sailors representing 66 nations. This would seem to be of interest to some people.

But maybe the date scheduling was for the ACWS to avoid a conflict with the 2011 RC44 class Championship Tour, which has their next event in Marstrand, Sweden on August 17-21. In this Russell Coutts inspired class, the America’s Cup Defender and Challenger of Record hold three of the top five positions in the Tour standings.

It’s good to be king!

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At 2:09 AM, Anonymous Jack Griffin said...

Actually, let's do go there...
Q: What did George Schuyler and the rest of the America syndicate have in mind when they built her?
A: Making money by wagering with the British yachtsmen.

Q: What did their contract with builder William H. Brown say?
A: That if any yacht in the US could beat her, they did not need to accept her and pay the $30,000 price for design and build work.
And... that if she were not successful in England, they could return her for a full refund.

Q: How did the syndicate show their love for "America" after she won at Cowes?
A: By selling her to Lord John de Blaquierre.

And, don't forget, the Cup was originally named for its price tag: "The £100 Cup"

So, it looks to me like there's always been a pretty big monetary element to the whole thing.


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