America’s Cup - Sport

Bermuda blow as Kiwis rule out return

  • The America’s Cup will be returning to Auckland (Photograph by Gilles Martin-Raget/ACEA 2017)

Bermuda’s hopes of hosting an event during the build up to the 36th America’s Cup appear to have been scuttled.

Matteo de Nora, the Emirates Team New Zealand principal, has confirmed that the next instalment of the “Auld Mug” will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, and that a series of lead-up events will be hosted “by those countries that participate in the Cup”.

Bermuda hosted the 35th America’s Cup on the Great Sound and a leg of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in 2015.

There had been optimism that Bermuda may get another opportunity to host an event on a par with the World Series after Team New Zealand defeated Oracle Team USA, the two-times defending champions, 7-1 in the America’s Cup Match this week.

But that seems to have been dashed in the wake of De Nora’s announcement in an interview with Italian paper La Stampa in which he also emphasised increased nationality rules for participating teams and a move to have the America’s Cup return to free-to-air television.

Italian syndicate Luna Rossa has been confirmed as the challenger of record for the 36th America’s Cup and will work out the framework for the next event with Team New Zealand.

However, it remains to be seen what class racing yacht will be sailed at the next America’s Cup. When probed on the matter, De Nora said that the Cup would hold interest even if it was raced in “steam boats” and raised concerns over potential new syndicates being “scared off” because the technology race with the foiling catamarans had become so far advanced.

“If catamarans remain, we should ask this question: Why a new team would join the Cup with rivals that are already five years ahead in the boat development?” De Nora said.

Luna Rossa pulled out of the 35th America’s Cup, criticising decisions by organisers as unprecedented and illegitimate after the size of the racing catamarans was reduced for the second time in less than a year.

Team New Zealand also voted against the controversial proposal. The America’s Cup class rules could be changed only by unanimous consent, but Oracle led an amendment to change the class rule to a majority vote, which saw Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand overruled.