It seems like only yesterday that the venue announcement was made for AC 34 yet already America’s Cup Race Management (ACRM) and America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) are set to begin a two-week dress rehearsal in Auckland next week of race management and onboard media systems in preparation for the first regatta for 34th America’s Cup teams at the inaugural America’s Cup World Series event in Portugal in August.
The testing is open to all competitors with or without an AC45. Two sessions are scheduled, April 26-29 and May 2-6.
The pre-season testing event also coincides with the next steps following the close of entries. Per the Protocol, competitors will submit a bond of US$200,000 by April 30, 2011, imposed to ensure competitors compete in the AC45 events and refundable if they meet all their obligations. The final payment of US$800,000 is due by Dec. 31, 2011, to cover costs associated with the AC72 series, also refundable at the end of the America’s Cup if all obligations are met.
Additionally, the entry fee for the America’s Cup event of US$100,000 is due by June 1, 2011. Iain Murray, Regatta Director for ACRM explained that the cost is not much different to AC 32 when competitors had to front up on entry with E1 million especially since then there’s been some +20% inflation to consider.
Meanwhile, competitors should also have a signed a purchase agreement for an AC 45 catamaran as entered teams need to have their boats ready to compete in Cascais. Core Builders Composites (CBC), the manufacturer of the AC 45, has increased the price of the AC 45 to E695,000 (US$1 million), an increase of E45,000 to cover the costs involved with CBC crew working double shifts to complete the number of AC 45s required.
“It’s simply a cost to produce boat, not a penalty,” Murray said.
American Terry Hutchinson, skipper on Artemis Racing says his team for one has been on the ground for four days in preparation for next week’s test events in Auckland.
“Not unlike the sailing team, this version of the America's Cup is taking on an entire new look,” Hutchinson said. “TV, jet ski umpires and onboard lighting systems are all becoming part of the new world. It is quite a bit different, but something that we need to embrace as sailors to take our sport to the next level.
The training has been going well and we are rotating crew to give the whole sailing team an opportunity to experience the AC 45 and the wing in particular. Once we start racing the AC 45 later in the year, the of the five person crew limit will cut a number of our guys out. The time now gives us the opportunity to expose all of sailors to the 'beast'. When I look at Julien and Mango and see their bruises and bumps, it only reaffirms what we already know. The boat is going to eat a lot of people. The trick to it really is trying to figure out how to sail consistently while recognizing that it may not always be pretty.”
Photos: Gilles Martin-Raget