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not quite good enough

One thing about the current America’s Cup Protocol that has always puzzled me and a few of the posts on the Sailing Anarchy America’s Cup forums got me to think a little deeper into the matter.

It should be remembered that for 35 America’s Cups George Schuyler’s Deed of Gift (with minor amendments) was good enough to determine qualifying challengers (clubs).

For example (and I am sure I am reminding not telling) a club had to be recognized – and gave a list of who by – had to have at least an annual regatta (that did for CNEV in the New York Supreme Court) – on an arm of the sea etc etc,

For over 100 years of The Cup the challenger was funded by a wealthy – very wealthy – member of such a yacht club (the majority of them being top UK yacht clubs) who challenged on behalf of, or with the blessing of, the club of which he was a member. By challenging for the club – and by definition spending a heck of a lot of money to benefit the club and its reputation certainly much more “pro-rata” than the majority of the club members.

Additionally, in a country governed by an MNA where the sport is young and enjoyed by the (mainly) wealthy – like China for example – there are a number of clubs with a small but very enthusiastic (and very wealthy) membership but would be disqualified by Protocol 6.2 (b)

I wonder who or what LR & ETNZ were frightened of (the club is usually just a vehicle) when they added the additional conditions in The Protocol ( Point 6.2 of the Protocol) 

Whether or not this has prevented any potential entries is impossible to say but it would most likely have prevented the New Zealand Big Boat Challenge through Mercury Bay Yacht Club with their Ford Zephyr ‘clubhouse’, did Alan Bond’s Sun City Yacht Club have enough members to qualify? I don’t know. QIYC wouldn’t have qualified and I am sure if I dug deeper would likely find more examples down the years.

And who knows if any challenges failed before the paperwork was sent in because it was felt their club might not satisfy the additional parameters? Surely the Deed of Gift is a complex enough set of conditions on its own.

Well it has been for 168 years – until now!