As Coutts and Ellison beat some ass over at the RC44 event in Austria this week, rumors continue to swirl about the future of the America’s Cup in the absence of any real information. Already two big announcements have been postponed and BMW/Oracle seems to have followed Obama’s plan, going from extremely open and communicative to closed-mouthed and secretive just weeks after being elected/winning the Cup. It may not be easy to keep fans and the public reasonably well-informed when there are so many interests at stake, but with all the lip service Ellison’s team paid to "the good of the sport" through the Bertarelli saga, you’d think they would try to keep the millions of people who love that sport better informed. Transparency is not something that honest people use only when convenient.
The next big date for Cup fans comes next week, when Golden Gate Yacht Club and the YC di Roma will hold a joint press conference announcing some of the details of the 34th Cup. Those of you expecting boat or venue details will have to wait, however – our sources tell us that we’re going to hear only the schedule of major upcoming decisions and perhaps a little on the process that GGYC, CNdR, and other prospective challenges are going through to come up with the answers we’re all waiting for. That schedule still sees 2013 or more likely, 2014 as the actual date of the Cup, with a solid year or two of training and racing in what will be the new Cup class.
As for the rumors about that new Cup class, it appears that Stan Honey got pretty close to the most prominent talk in his Clean interview the other day – the latest talk is of ultra-light 70-foot monohull skiffs for the next Cup and insiders tell us this is the front-running idea at the moment. BMW won’t confirm any of this of course, and whether these AC Skiffs would get their power from extreme versions of existing canting technology, massive wings with trapezes, sliding on-deck ballast or something else, we just don’t know. We do know that Ellison is committed to boats that can get close to shore, and that the concept includes BMW/Oracle building at least four one-design versions of the AC Skiffs and transporting them around the world for a pile of LVT events for at least a year before any racing or testing would start with challenger-designed and built boats.
While our personal preference still runs towards multihulls, it’s hard to argue with giant versions of an 18-foot skiff tearing through big wind venues at breakneck speed. The International America’s Cup Skiff Class? We’ll take it.