British team is the third to be accepted for the 33rd America's Cup adding pressure to the even bigger issue. Matthew Sheahan reports 23/7/07
Such is the fast moving pace of the modern America’s Cup that in the third week after the trophy was successfully defended by Alinghi, news is still spinning off the event as fast as it had when racing was underway.
Today’s big story is that Sir Keith Mills’ British Team Origin’s Challenge has been accepted by the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), the third such challenge to be accepted following those from the Spanish and the South Africans.
One challenge not yet accepted is that of the Golden Gate Yacht Club who this weekend announced that they would be asking the courts in New York to rule on whether the Spanish challenge was valid.
The announcement of the British challenge comes at a time when speculation is mounting that, Valencia will be announced as host city for the 33rd America’s Cup on Wednesday and with it a number of the crucial dates and details for the next Cup.
The timing is more than a coincidence as the battle of the billionaires escalates. As Larry Ellison’s team prepares to prove their point in the New York courts, Ernesto Bertarelli’s team appear to be rolling the event on at such a pace and drawing in not just the venue but teams to garner as much support as he can.
The stakes are getting higher by the day and there is plenty of speculation that if Ellison is unsuccessful in the courts then we won’t be seeing his American flagged team at the next Cup.
However, if he is, then Alinghi could be facing an America’s Cup defence in 90ft catamarans rather sooner than it had expected.
Quoted in the team’s press release Sir Keith Mills said, “Our goal is to win the America’s Cup and bring the Auld Mug back to British shores for the first time in history. The challenge is therefore an important and positive step forward to achieving our objectives and we look forward to further event details being announced and other teams joining us for the 33rd America’s Cup.”
Mike Sanderson, Team Director of TEAMORIGIN, said, “These are exciting times for the America’s Cup competition. A new class of boat will put all challengers, old and new, on an equal footing. Other than the techniques used to design and build boats there will be little of technical value to be taken forward from the old class. The first generation of any new yacht racing class always sees many differences show up in the different concepts adapted by the various design teams. We believe it will be easier for a new team to become competitive at the America’s Cup with the introduction of a new class of boat and should deliver faster sailing and a more exciting spectacle.”
Which leaves one question in particular regarding the British campaign, ‘what carrots were dangled in front of Team Origin to encourage them to show early support? Help in Valencia or help closer to home with an Act perhaps? Given the pace that the 33rd Cup is moving at, we might know quite soon.