The next America’s Cup will be held in 2013 and will use catamarans instead of the traditional monohulls as part of an overhaul of yachting’s premier event, organisers announced Monday.
The AC72 wingsail catamarans will be “pretty special, very powerful and very demanding”, Russell Coutts, the CEO of America’s Cup defenders Oracle, told a news conference in the Spanish Mediterranean port of Valencia.
As part of sweeping changes to the world’s oldest international sporting competition, he also announced a “new annual America’s Cup World Series to create exposure and commercial sustainability for teams and their sponsors”.
“The series, featuring the cutting-edge catamaran, will deliver exciting racing to new audiences ahead of the America’s Cup match in 2013.”
He said a new “Youth America’s Cup” will take place from 2012 “to provide young sailors a pathway” to the event iteself, and “media output will be revolutionised” with “onboard cameramen”.
“We need to capture and communicate the excitement that our sport can produce,” New Zealander Coutts said.
“As sailors we all know the excitement we feel on the boat, we have to find better ways to transmit that to the audience that are watching. Then, we need to have the best sailors in the world, sailing the coolest and fastest boats in the world.
“We could have pressed the repeat button and organised the 34th America’s Cup much the same” as the 32rd America’s Cup, held in Valencia in 2007, the last edition of the event to follow the traditional, multichallenger format.
“Then, the boats were relatively even and some of the racing was great. Even so, when we looked into it deeply, the commercial and media returns fell well short of a coherent and cohesive model that would create sustainable teams and encourage sponsors to plan for the long term.
“As such, the resulting changes are substantial. It is crucial to end the uncertainty and lay the groundwork for continuity.”
The organisers have sought “to put in place a calender of regular racing, exciting racing, that is shorter, sharper and more spectacular, racing that matches the expectations of the Facebook generation not the Flintstone generation”.
The America’s Cup traditionally uses monohulls. But the last edition held in Valencia February was a multihull duel between the US syndicate Oracle and Switzerland’s Alinghi following more than two years of legal wrangling between the two teams over the rules of the event.