America's Cup racing could return to Bermuda as early as 2019 after all.
Russell Green, the Emirates Team New Zealand rules expert, revealed in an interview with Sailing Illustrated that five overseas pre-regattas will take place over a two-year period in the build-up to the 36th America's Cup, to be held in Auckland in 2021, with Bermuda among the options being considered.
The other choices include unnamed venues in Italy, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, as well as Newport and Rhode Island.
Bermuda hosted the 35th America's Cup, won by Team New Zealand, on the Great Sound in June.
Luna Rossa, the Challenger of Record will organise the pre-regattas, which are planned for 2019 and 2020.
The Italian syndicate, backed and run by Prada chief executive Patrizio Bertelli, issued its challenge shortly after Team New Zealand dethroned Oracle Team USA in a lopsided final.
Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa worked together to establish the protocol for the next edition, which will be contested in 75ft monohulls. Green also revealed that there was a desire to take the pre-regattas to “traditional venues with good wind and good viewing”.
He suggested Newport, the home port of challenger New York Yacht Club, as a good fit as it is widely regarded as the traditional home of the America's Cup, which the club held for 132 years from 1851 to 1983.
Green said Bertelli would also find other areas of the Mediterranean appealing and also mentioned the Caribbean or a return to Bermuda.
The format of the pre-regattas — match-racing or fleet racing — would depend on the number of teams involved and the time available, Green added.
Team New Zealand will be involved in all of the pre-regattas but will break away from the challengers until facing the top team from the challenger series in the America's Cup Match.
It emerged last week that Bermuda could host a regatta featuring the AC50 foiling catamaran that were seen this summer on the Great Sound.
It is understood that the teams involved in the previous America's Cup are keen on the idea, with Sir Russell Coutts, who served as the chief executive of the America's Cup Event Authority, among those being linked to the project.
Powered by a rigid wing-sail, the AC50 is the smallest class raced in the America's Cup and is capable of speeds reaching 60mph.
However, the future of the multihull racing yacht remains uncertain after the return of monohulls.
The last time the “Auld Mug” was contested in monohulls was in 2007 in Valencia, Spain, where Swiss defender Alinghi retained their title with a 5-2 triumph over Team New Zealand.