Six teams will compete in the 35th America's Cup with the challengers just announced.
Five challenging teams have put down the $1 million first instalment of the $2 million entry fee due to compete for the 35th America’s Cup against Defender Oracle Team USA. Four of these looked certain to put in their challenges against Oracle Team USA: Emirates Team New Zealand, Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge, Britain's Ben Ainslie Racing, and Sweden's Artemis Racing. The surprise is that Team France have also stepped up to the plate, with a campaign being spearheaded by offshore racing legends and multihull experts, Franck Cammas, Michel Desjoyeaux and industry pioneer Olivier de Kersauson.
Of course, it’s one thing to put your money down, another to see the campaign through to fruition, with the tens of millions of dollars required to pay for a design and sailing team, and the eventual construction of an AC62 foiling multihull, the yachts announced in the new America's Cup Protocol. But everyone will hope that France can see its way through to summer 2017, when the next America’s Cup is due to be contested.
Five challenger teams is two more than we saw for the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup series in San Francisco, a damp squib of an event with neither Artemis nor Luna Rossa able to hold a candle to the mighty Kiwis. This time we hope and expect to see a more competitive elimination series.
In the intervening years, challengers will be given the opportunity to host America's Cup World Series events at a venue of their choosing, while the final venue for the 35th America's Cup will be either Bermuda or San Diego, with the selection to be finalised before the end of this year.