This comes after the NZHerald reported that it understood ETNZ is considering a radical proposal for the next America’s Cup defence – a one-off defence against Ineos Team UK excluding other challengers on the Isle of Wight next year.
Stuff reports that waterfront talk is of a special challenge, as early as next year, with ETNZ taking the Auld Mug to Britain to defend it in an around the Isle of Wight race. This would replicate the first America’s Cup battle in 1851 that sent sport’s oldest trophy off to the United States.
“There’s some bizarre stuff going on. The ball’s always bouncing in the America’s Cup. They are talking about INEOS . . . funding the whole thing. Both teams would go to the Isle of Wight and do an America’s Cup like it was 200 years ago,” former ETNZ and America’s Cup hall of famer Brad Butterworth told NewstalkZB.
According to Stuff, a one-off challenge in Britain could help with the immediate financial security of ETNZ which is a priority.
The champion syndicate has been open about sounding out international interest for staging the 2024 America’s Cup offshore and would not rule that out if the numbers stacked up. Its preference is to continue to hold it in Auckland if it is financially viable, given the infrastructure in place and the passion for the event here.
The city and New Zealand government will be given three months to come up with a proposal which will be weighed up against any international offers that were due to be tabled by the end of last month.
Denials and speculation
Ineos Team UK has consistently denied the rumours, though Ben Ainslie admitted he has a close relationship with Team NZ chief executive Grant Dalton, since his stint with the New Zealand syndicate for the 2007 America’s Cup, says the NZHerald.
The paper believes that the British are the logical partners for the next cup, given how the association between ETNZ and existing CoR, Luna Rossa, has steadily deteriorated over the last year. Even though their combined efforts produced a successful design class and innovative boat with the AC75s, it’s impossible to imagine them working together for the next cup, says the NZHerald, given the clashes that have played out publicly and privately between the two syndicates.
The New York Yacht Club is also not a realistic option. That’s partly because it has previously advocated returning to traditional (non-foiling) monohulls for the cup and also because the backers of American Magic are yet to decide if they will launch another challenge says the NZHerald.
“It’s hard not to draw the dots with Jim Ratcliffe’s 242ft Feadship Sherpa sitting at virtual anchor like a whale amongst sprats,” says Rule69blog, it’s “a rather large clue as to what happens next in the America’s Cup.”
Jim Ratcliffe was extremely clear that he wanted to level the playing field and see some changes to the quirks and nuances of the cup rules, the blog points out. So what deal has been struck? While one option could be to use the same boats, the blog suggests this might be a “tactical play to shut out the Italians who both teams found difficult to work with and halt their march to the cup which would surely be inevitable after coming so close this time? Don’t expect this one to end in anywhere other than the Supreme Court.”