Admiral's Cup - new name, different game?
Though the RORC could neither confirm nor deny plans for an alternative event, club secretary Janet Grosvenor did throw some light on potential developments. "If in the event that the [Admiral's Cup] Management Committee did put out a statement on Monday that The Admiral's Cup was not going ahead, it could be that we would look at running a four day event." she said. Grosvenor was unable to tell us "exactly what the event would be", though she did indicate that it would most probably be centred on a long weekend over the period 21/22 July.
Adrian Stead, skipper of the prospective British Admiral's Cup IC45, Barlo Plastics, suggested that the Admiral's Cup might be reduced to a two-boat event. "We are still working on the basis that we have an event," he said, "and we are hoping that the RORC will put on a two-boat event."
Meanwhile, Jonathan Faulkner, managing director of charter boat supplier Race One, has also been active. And well he might be. His company owns the majority of Sydney 40s in England and is a prospective supplier of boats to Admiral's Cup teams. Unsurprisingly he has been working hard to try and secure the future of a three-boat event using the Sydney 40. Faulkner is very strongly of the view that the non-appearance of the US team - which precipitated the current crisis - is much more complicated than a simple matter of cost and is working to try and restore the Cup in its original form.
"We have a boat [Sydney 40] in America sailing - fully sponsored by MK Café," said Faulkner, "and MK Café have confirmed they will cover the charter fee, support the sail development program and support some of the crew," for the Admiral's Cup. Though not openly critical of US sailing, Faulkner does imply that they have not been altogether helpful in opening a dialogue. "We have been trying to get in touch with US Sailing," he said, "we left messages and sent e-mail but so far there has been no response."
Faulkner refuted the suggestion that a two-boat Admiral's Cup without the Sydney 40 would be unviable due to outstanding contractual commitments with his company. "We don't have a contract with the RORC", he said. "Though as Sydney 40 owners we would be very concerned about such a development". Faulkner was also upset about the way in which he felt he had been left out of discussions. "We haven't been approached by anyone to see if we would be interested in changing the terms of our offer. Frankly we would be very interested to see what we could change or offer to see if the Admiral's Cup could go ahead."
Peter Morton (who runs Farr's British office) has in his turn put forward another proposal for a new regatta. Morton has worked hard to try and hold together the Admiral's Cup and seems genuinely saddened that it is unlikely to go ahead. He has however, had no hesitation in trying to put on a regatta for the considerable number of Farr boats that will be in British waters come July. "We went back to the RORC and asked them to run a regatta for the Farr 52, the IC45, the Farr 40 and the Mumm 30," said Morton. "We also asked them to organise a team event consisting of one each of those boats."
Currently titled an 'Open National Championships' for all the respective classes, there is no suggestion that the team event has any international pretensions. "My idea would be to have it based on clubs rather than nations," said Morton. With only three Farr 52s likely to be in England by July, Morton did concede that he was prepared to look at a revised team format if more than three teams indicated a desire to participate. With the Farr 40 owners having already been asked for their views on the format of the regatta by class chairman Phillip Tollhurst, the organisation of this event already looks well advanced.
No matter what the RORC decides it seems more likely than not that the national championships for the individual classes will now take place. In addition to the three Farr 52s it is expected there will be between five and seven IC45s and up to 20 Farr 40s looking for some serious racing. The number of Mumm 30s likely to participate is more difficult to predict due to the concurrent running of the hugely successful Tour Voile.
It now only remains to be seen which - if any - of the options the RORC will be involved in and what the names of the various events will be.