America’s Cup: Significant changes made to Protocol, but issues remain

'35th Americas Cup, Skippers presentation press conference, London (UK), 09 Sept. 2014.James Spithill (Oracle Team USA), Max Sirena (Luna Rossa Challenge), Franck Cammas (Team France), Nathan Outteridge (Artemis Racing), Ben Ainslie (Ben Ainslie Racing),Dean Barker (Emirates Team New Zealand)'    © ACEA /Gilles Martin-Raget

’35th Americas Cup, Skippers presentation press conference, London (UK), 09 Sept. 2014.James Spithill (Oracle Team USA), Max Sirena (Luna Rossa Challenge), Franck Cammas (Team France), Nathan Outteridge (Artemis Racing), Ben Ainslie (Ben Ainslie Racing),Dean Barker (Emirates Team New Zealand)’ © ACEA /Gilles Martin-Raget

Significant changes have been made to the Protocol to the America’s Cup.

The effect of the moves is to straighten out some of the issues surrounding the proposed conduct of the 35th America’s Cup.

Other issues still remain unresolved.

Challengers will welcome the easing of the requirements on Entry Fees.

Instead of there being a payment of $1million upon acceptance of entry by the Defending Club, Golden Gate Yacht Club.

A second payment of $1million was due on December 1, 2014.

That has now been reduced to just $100,000, with the third payment of Entry Fee of $900,000 now required on May 1, 2015.

Lodgment of the Performance Bond of $1million has also been deferred to May 1, 2015. Previously it too, was required by December 1, 2014. the Performance Bond is not required to be cash, but can be documents or securities which can be drawn down on demand if a Challenger fails to met its obligations to complete in the event.

The effect of the delay is to reduce the financial pressure on the commercially based Challengers. The Entry Fee is paid directly into the Regatta Officials Fund, which is then used to pay the expenses of running the sailing side of the regatta. The payments are non-refundable.

A requirement for the Commercial Director to publish the venues and dates for the first round of six America’s Cup World Series events has not been changed.

The dates and venues for the regattas to be held in 2015, were supposed to be announced on November1, 2014. No announcement was made other than Bermuda would be one of the ACWS venues.

That was not a surprise, given it had previously been stated that the final two venues for the America’s Cup Match would be allocated an America’s Cup World Series event.

However that leaves five of the six events to be confirmed.

Oracle Team USA - San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th Americas Cup - Final Match - Racing Day 15 -  © ACEA /Gilles Martin-Raget

Oracle Team USA – San Francisco (USA,CA) – 34th Americas Cup – Final Match – Racing Day 15 – © ACEA /Gilles Martin-Raget

Expected to be announced were Portsmouth, England and Cagliari, Italy as venues for 2015, but nothing has been publicly confirmed.

Auckland is touted as an ACWS venue, however that is dependent on Emirates Team New Zealand confirming their entry in the America’s Cup. That won’t happen until after the Match Venue is confirmed, with the significant sponsors expected to confirm their involvement once the Venue is announced.

Various dates for the confirmation of the Match Venue have been touted, with dates of the end of September, then end of October, then early November. Cup cynics now expect the announcement to be quite late – even right down to the deadline of December 31, 2014.

Other missed dates include the publication of the Rules for the regatta, due on November 1, 2014.

The Regatta Director is yet to be announced. That appointment is subject to the approval of the majority of the Challengers and the Defender.

The delay in that appointment, has spin-offs into other areas.

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