America's Cup entry fees slashed
At what is becoming the traditional final session of the World Yacht Racing Forum, where aspects of the America’s Cup get discussed, so the double act of Iain Murray and Richard Worth, the respective heads of America’s Cup Race Management and the AC Event Authority updated the Forum with the latest news from sailing's pinnacle event.
There was little hard information about the venue other than that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (their council) had approved the lower budget version of their proposed plans to host the 34th America’s Cup. The ball is now in BMW Oracle Racing's court to decide whether this plan is acceptable to them.
The significant news announced today followed two teleconferences between members of the Competitor Forum held last week where it was agreed to slash the entry fees. “These changes are designed to allow the teams put their initial investments into building their teams and boats,” said Murray, “We are here to help the teams and to ensure that every dollar will be well spent.”
- The performance bond of US$1.5 million due on 30 April 2011 to assure a Competitor’s participation and compliance with the Protocol has been reduced to US$ 200,000.
- The second performance bond of US$ 1.5 million due on 31 July 2011, has been reduced to US$ 800,000 and postponed until December 2011
- The third performance bond of US$ 1 million due on 30 April 2012 (excluding paid up share holders in the WSTA) will have to pay US $ 100,000 to the event authority by 1 June 2011, while a competitor entering after 31 March 2011 shall pay a late fee of US$200,000
“We also increased amount of equipment ACRM will be shipping around the world by one container,” said Murray. “We have formalised the design of the team containers and that is another thing we have undertaken to do for the competitors to give them more room and better facilities at each venue.”
The schedule outlined in the Protocol for the 34th America's Cup has also been modified so that the date by which the first AC72 can be completed by has been moved back by three months. The new yacht commissioning period was to have started on 1 January 2012. The date by which designers have to commit to teams has now been moved from 1 April 2012 to 1 June 2012.
At present including the defender and the Challenger of Record, there are five teams who have formally entered the 34th America's Cup, 46 days into the entry process. With the modification in the entry fees and payment schedule Murray is expecting a fresh influx. “Our target when we opened entries was that we would be delighted to have eight, we would be ecstatic to have 10 and we would be doubly ecstatic if we got 12. With the changes I have announced about the Protocol, we are expecting entries six to eight to follow quite quickly.”
The World Series ‘seasons’ now seem to be running annually June to June with an anticipated eight events each year with what Murray describes as “a winter lay-over period where the teams will have a free period of some months to sail and evaluate the 45s or the 72s before getting back on the ship and continuing on on the circuit.”
Details of the Youth America’s Cup still seem to be up in the air, but Murray is expecting it to be sailed in 2012, probably after the final World Series event from season one, possibly in AC45s, possibly at the America’s Cup venue.