Ainslie could helm Oracle Team USA in 34th America's Cup


Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA
Russell Coutts confirms following the Defender Series they will pick the best helmsman
One significant issue with being the America’s Cup defender is that while the challengers get to compete at the highest competition and get race-ready over the course of several weeks in the Louis Vuitton Cup, in recent Cups there has been no equivalent competition to hone the skills of the defender to a similar degree. In attempting to solve this exact problem, there was uproar, for example, at one point in the preparations for the original pre-court case win monohull 33rd America’s Cup plan when Alinghi suggested that, to cut costs, the challengers would be limited to being one boat campaigns, while they, the defender, could trial two boats in preparation for the Cup. With the 34th America’s Cup a defender series will be taking place alongside the Louis Vuitton Cup, but this to take a different form to what has occurred in the past. Defender series have a decidedly checkered history over recent decades in the America’s Cup. The last proper one, the Citizen Cup, was held in San Diego in 1995 and was technically won by the San Diego YC’s own campaign led by Dennis Conner, but he ended up racing the Young America campaign’s boat in the Cup itself after it had proved to be the faster boat in the defender trials. In subsequent Cups, even up to the present day, and with teams wielding way more power than the yacht clubs they represent, the defending team hasn’t been overly keen (to put it mildly) to open up the opportunity for any team, other than their own, getting the right to defend in the America’s Cup. So next year around the Louis Vuitton Cup, the defender series will take place but this will not be between Oracle Team USA and other teams/yacht clubs potentially wishing to defend, but, rightly or

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