Sir Keith Mills is worried that if BMW Oracle choose multihulls, challengers will consider the Americas Cup competition unfair
Sir Keith Mills, head of Team Origin Britain’s America’s Cup challenge believes that if holders BMW Oracle Racing choose a multihull for the next cup, few if any teams will want to challenge because “the playing field would no longer be level.”
Because of the trimaran they used to win the Cup last February, BMW Oracle Racing (BMOR) would have two to three years’ advantage in research and development and this, said Sir Keith, would be unfair. “No one is going to spend ten of millions if they don’t have a chance of winning.”
“We would prefer to have a monohull and six or seven of the other teams would also prefer a monohull,” he said. He also claimed the majority of challengers wanted a monohull without the complexity and expense of a canting keel which is an option already published in the draught protocol for the next Cup.
He applauded BMW Oracle for examining way of making America’s Cup competition more exciting, easier to understand and better suited to TV (read YachtingWorld.com’s BMW Oracle’s Vision for the America’s Cup here) and during Cowes Week (31 July to 7 August) and the inaugural 1851 Cup sailed for against BMW Oracle, more experiments with cameras and onboard cameramen will conducted in an effort to find a way forward.
The Cowes Week event, which sees new sponsors Jaguar in their first regatta as Team Origin’s most visible backer, will witness a considerable ramping up of America’s Cup activity which Keith Mills hopes will re-engage the British public with the America’s Cup.
At the Jaguar announcement today, reference was made to Origin’s Ben Ainslie and BMOR’s Jimmy Spithill as being the “Federer and Nadal” of Cup sailing which underlined the intention to bring more celebrity status to the sport.
“In the old days it was Conner then Russell (Coutts) but he is ready to step aside and we must bring on others,” said Team Origin’s Australian CEO Grant Simmer who was appointed in May.
Simmer, whose relaxed, considered style and immense knowledge from three America’s Cups including being a key part of the Alinghi team, has brought stability to Team Origin who are clearly stepping things up prior to the key decisions about protocol, type of boat and locations being taken by BMOR this autumn.
Mills and Simmer told Yachting World that they were also delighted to hear that BMOR were prepared to delay final decisions if they felt that they had not quite got things right by the current deadlines. “That is good to hear,” said Mills who is fearful that the wrong decisions will be taken if sufficient consultation is not forthcoming.
A concern is the lack of communication with the Challenger of Record Mascalzone Latino who, said Grant Simmer : “Don’t respond to our emails.”
The Challenger of Record is meant to represent the challengers in putting forward their ideas about how the next event is run but Mascalzone Lattino have been largely incommunicado which in turn has led to suspicions that BMOR will have less opportunity to hear from potential challengers.