New era for the America's Cup as two-year cycle announced
by Chris Jefferies
The 36th America’s Cup will take place in 2019 after it was announced that the world’s oldest sporting event would be moving to a biennial format.
Speaking today at the House of Garrard in Mayfair, where the America's Cup trophy was crafted in 1848, Land Rover BAR chief executive Martin Whitmarsh said: "We want to build on the momentum generated by each cup cycle."
The new framework has been agreed by five of the six teams competing in the 35th America’s Cup, with the exception of Emirates Team New Zealand, although Whitmarsh said that he was confident of bringing them on board in the near future.
Part of the new framework is a standardised design of racing boat called the America’s Cup class, which can function in wind speed conditions of 4-26 knots. It is expected that the new format will help to reduce the cost of entry for new teams, with an estimated budget of $40-$50 million mooted.
Oracle Team USA founder Larry Ellison added: “We are trying to follow Formula 1. We want to see twice as many teams at the 36th America’s Cup.”
In accordance with the Deed of Gift, the venue for the 36th America’s Cup will be decided by the Defender after this summer’s Bermuda showdown, with the first in a new series of America’s Cup World Series events due to be staged this autumn.
Referencing the Super Bowl and the Olympics, Oracle Team USA skipper and ShowBoats International columnist Jimmy Spithill said that the changes were “no surprise”.
“You can see that some of the biggest sports events in the world have succession planning. I think this is a really defining moment. We will look back at this day and ask ourselves: ‘Why didn’t we do this sooner?’"