America's Cup 2017: Teams for the
Defender and Challenger Index
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Golden Gate YC
San Francisco, USA
Oracle Team USA
Notable departures to other teams include designer Michel Kermarec, to Artemis; Dirk Kramers, to BAR; Shannon Falcone, Francis Hueber, to Luna Rossa.
announced in October, 2014, a renewed partnership with European aerospace
contractor Airbus that will provide advanced technical resources, including the
participation of 15-20 Airbus engineers in the design effort. With the
December 2014 naming of Bermuda as the venue for the 2017 America's Cup, OTUSA
relocated their base of operations there in April 2015.
Challenger of Record:
Challenger of Record (COR) is the first challenger accepted by the Defender of
the America's Cup. The Notice of Challenge from
Hamilton Island YC (HIYC) as COR was accepted
on September 25, 2013, literally as the winning yacht crossed the finish line in
the most recent America's Cup Match, as has become traditional. The COR
has the lead position in negotiating the mutual consent terms of the next
Defense with the Defender/Trustee such as time, location, type of yachts, Match
format, and details of the rules, though in the past additional prospective
challengers have sometimes also participated in the shaping of the conditions
for the next match. After the Defender and COR set the initial terms, then
Notices of Challenge from additional yacht clubs are submitted. In an
unexpected development, on July 18, 2014, HIYC gave notice to resign as COR for
the 2017 America's Cup and to withdraw from the event. The notice became
effective after 90 days, and the single COR was replaced by a Challenger of
Record Committee (CORC) to represent the challengers interests under the
Protocol. HIYC's resignation is the fourth time since 1970 that a
Challenger of Record has resigned. See article at CupInfo:
history of the Challenger of Record"
Challengers from 2013:
| Royal Swedish YC (Kungliga
Svenska Segel Sällskapet) SWE
“We’re going to have a core of people from the existing team and see what happens with the next Cup before we go on,” Törnqvist told Bloomberg News in mid-September, 2013. Further comments were made in November, 2013, of the team's intentions to be a serious contender for the 35th America's Cup. Artemis Racing representatives attended the July 2014 challenger meeting in Los Angeles.
The degree of the Swedish team's intent was confirmed by design staff additions from competitors that include Michel Kermarec from Oracle Team USA and Thiha Win from Emirates Team New Zealand, plus additional re-signings including multihull expert Loïck Peyron, and designers Adam May and Nico Rousselon (story at Cat Racing News). Other notable additions include Rod Davis as coach (from ETNZ), sailors Fredrik Lööf, Max Salminen, and Luke Parkinson (winner 2011-15 VOR).
Artemis publicly announced their entry in a presentation August 19, 2014, in Stockholm, and ACEA confirmed their entry August 21. Artemis continued to train and test AC45 multihulls out of their Alameda base in Spring, 2015, before ultimately deciding to move sailing activities to a new base on Morgan's Point in Bermuda.
Emirates Team New Zealand |
Royal New Zealand YS
Continuing the team in the short term relies on having funding available quickly in order to retain key personnel. For 2003, the government of NZ provided this financial package to help bridge from one Cup cycle to the next. Immediately following the team's defeat in September, 2013, NZ Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce told the NZ Herald on Sept 28 that the country would consider funding the team again once they had more details of the next America's Cup. Just days after the the end of the 2013 America's Cup Match, though Grant Dalton, speaking on radio in NZ, said that team members were being heavily recruited by other campaigns. Skipper Dean Barker on October 1 told the NZ Herald the same story, that some immediate funding will be needed very soon to prevent other teams from hiring away vital talent. Dalton again made similar comments, also to the NZ Herald, in the process implying that he would stay onboard long enough to help guide the team through a transition to the next Cup cycle, but souding as if he would be stepping aside. It was not clear who would lead TNZ if Dalton departed. Questioned by media, Russell Coutts did not rule out his own involvement according to one report, though there was not any public sign of interest in that from TNZ, and Barker said Oct 2 that such a scenario was "highly unlikely."
At the team's welcome home ceremony in Auckland on October 4, there were renewed pledges to help fund the team, though without commitment at the time to a dollar amount or timing. Subsequently $5 million NZD was provided for staff retention, and the general principle of a deal along the lines of the 2013 funding plan, meaning about one-third of funds coming from the NZ government, was discussed. Additionally, a crowd-sourced fundraising campaign for the team has raised an amount over $100,000 at last report.
Funding for the last challenge was not without criticism in New Zealand political circles, and there was some conflict with pressing needs at home, especially in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake. Officials previously have made the business case for assisting the team, citing the benefits from the international visibility of both the team and the country as a competitor, the promotion of the New Zealand boat-building industry, and hoping especially for the economic impact that would be received from tourists and competitors if the challenge succeeded and the event returned to New Zealand. There appeared to be initial popular support for the government's assistance to TNZ, but the dynamics of recent domestic politics carry the concern that until a final vote is completed the public share of funding for the team is not guaranteed.
After the hearty reception that the team received upon their return to NZ, Grant Dalton reconsidered his intent to leave the team, and stayed on in a senior position. Grant Dalton told stuff.co.nz in December after an international fundraising tour that he was "cautiously optimistic" about securing sponsorship for the next challenge, but that funding could not be certain until details about the next regatta were set.
In an interview June 11th, 2014, Dalton told Radio Sport that interim funding for the team was running out within the month, risking disbanding the core of design and sailing talent, losing them to other teams, and threatening Team New Zealand's ongoing survival. Dalton's message, coupled with some commentary about the rules and format for the 2017 America's Cup that had been published on June 8, went somewhat awry, unintentionally generating headlines in NZ Media suggesting that the event might be unwinnable and that the team was exaggerating their financial problems and relying too heavily on government funds while spending excessively.
Indeed, NZ Prime Minister John Key soon cast some doubt on the funding arrangement, saying on Newstalk ZB June 15 that he thought public interest was fading, clouding the issue of the extent of the commitment that the government might actually keep. TNZ also faced the issue of relocating to a new base at market rates after losing their shore facility, which had been subsided by the city of Auckland for the last several years, according to the NZ Herald.
On June 14th, Kevin Shoebridge, Chief Operating Officer, had admitted the struggles to Newstalk ZB, but also pointed out they have been anticipating these issues as part of their task of reassembling a team for 2017. "That's our challenge, we've got to keep working to bridge the gap from now until the end of the year and that's what we're going to be working at very closely over the next few days," Shoebridge said. "'We are absolutely committed to this team going forward and putting a very good show in the next America's Cup. We have no intention of folding I'll tell you that right now."
Soon after, facing contuned blowback from the alarming warnings about the team's finances, speaking to the NZ Herald Dalton described continuing progress with commercial sponsors, working to extend operating funds out to February 2015 when agreements for more substantial corporate money are expected to kick in. Steven Joyce, Minister of Economic Development, suggested that an additional $2 million NZD might be possible, but that the private funding would soon have to be in place to carry the team.
TNZ Board Member Sir Steven Tindall, speaking on Newstalk ZB, reported June 21 that enough funding had now been secured to carry the team through to February 2015. "'We were facing closure a week ago," Tindall said. "But some of us have put out hand on our pockets, and we now have enough money to get us through to the end of the year. We are more confident every day that we are going to be able to challenge, and we will worry about government funding later on." Read story at Sail-World plus links to audio
In a team video update, November 2014, team leaders Dalton and Shoebridge worked again to clarify the sequence of events and admitted that they had communicated the wrong message in June. Watch Team Video update at YouTube (3:58)
Team New Zealand representatives attended the July challenger meeting in Los Angeles, though the defender discouraged their attendance at a subsequent challenger meeting in London and ETNZ did not participate in the meetings or in a joint statement by four European campaigns expressing support for GGYC's AC35 plans. On August 8, Royal NZ Yacht Squadron confirmed that they had submitted their Notice of Challenge, represented by Emirates Team New Zealand and ACEA confirmed ETNZ's official acceptance as a 2017 challenger in their August 21 announcement.
Though operations for the 2015 ACWS began in earnest in March, 2015, the team did admit that as much as $20M in sponsorship was been lost as a result of the selection of Bermuda for the 2017 America's Cup. It's not known yet whether expectations that the America's Cup Qualifiers (ACQ), the first portion of the challenger selection series, to be held in Auckland, will help mitigate the situation for ETNZ. An official announcement on the location for the ACQ may be coming in March.
Glenn Ashby has been re-signed for the next campaign, it was reported in December 2013, when Dalton also stated that he had been about 95% successful in retaining talent, citing the loss of only one key (unnamed at the time) designer.
One of the big questions for 2017 is the skipper's position following the addition of Peter Burling, a younger helmsman with a streak of success in the 49er, 470, Youth America's Cup, and the 2015 Moth Worlds. Unconfirmed reports in February 2015 that Dean Barker was going to be let go were quickly denied by ETNZ management, though that did not put an end to the tide of news stories such as this from NZ Herald considering the change of Kiwi skippers to be a done deal. Additional denials from the team, including from Peter Burling, slowly managed return some balance to the coverage of the issue. Even if Burling were to get the boat, though, Barker might still have a role to play in team leadership. Despite the denials, on Feb 26 Barker was in fact replaced as Sailing Director by Glenn Ashby and as Skipper by Peter Burling. Barker was offered roles in coaching and a position on the ETNZ executive committee, but rejected the proposal, later joining the newly announced Softbank Team Japan.
Other notable departures have included mechanical engineer Thiha Win (to Artemis); grinders Winston Macfarlane and Derek Saward; coach Rod Davis (to Artemis).
ETNZ's America's Cup record: Challenger (won 5-0), 1995; Defender (won 5-0), 2000; Defender, 2003 (lost 0-5); Challenger, 2007 (lost 2-5); Challenger 2013 (lost 8-9). Emirates Team New Zealand Blog | ETNZ America's Cup Team Site
Hopefuls and New Challengers:
Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing |
Royal Yacht Squadron Racing
A story January 9, 2012, by Kate Laven at The Telegraph said instead that Ainslie would join Oracle Team USA, but compete on his own AC45, and in the process possibly flush out backing for a full-on challenger campaign in the following America's Cup. On January 10, 2012, at his press conference Ainslie confirmed that he signed with Oracle for the 2013 America's Cup and was not mounting his own independent challenge, but looked to do so for the 35th Defense. Ainslie raced an AC45 yacht in the America's Cup World Series, beginning in San Francisco in August, 2012, and played a major role in Oracle's defense of the America's Cup, skippering the second boat to tune up Jimmy Spithill, and then coming onboard the defender during the match as tactician, being credited with key contributions to the defender's comeback against Emirates Team New Zealand.
Funding for the AC45 effort came from Larry Ellison at first, and some from name sponsor JP Morgan, according to Ainslie. Based on his press conference comments, support for the ACWS was at least in the £3 million per season range.
Following the end of the 2013 America's Cup, Ainslie said Sept 29, 2013, he was exploring funding for a challenge, and wanted to sign top design talent as soon as possible, according to the BBC. A decision on whether to challenge was expected to be made within "a matter of weeks," Ainslie told ITV a couple days later. By early December, though no official decision was yet announced, Ainslie reported that fundraising was "doing well." As of February, 2013, Ainslie still said that he was working to line up financing, one-third of the budget coming from major backers Sir Keith Mills and Sir Charles Dunstone, along with several other patrons, and the rest from corporate sponsors. Over the past several years, Mills had discussed funding a British challenger at several junctures, but retreated each time, usually with criticisms of the commercial prospects as he saw them.
The public announcement, made June 10th, 2014, in Greenwich, England, was attended by Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. The unveiling had been delayed waiting for official agreement on the Protocol for the 2017 America's Cup, released the previous week after taking longer than expected to be finalized. The delay slowed some sponsorship and recruitment progress for BAR, as it did for other prospective teams.
BAR representatives attended the July 2014 challenger meeting in Los Angeles, and ACEA confirmed BAR's official acceptance in an August 21 announcement.
Commercial partners so far for BAR's 2017 campaign include KPMG, Linklaters LLP, Henri Lloyd, Siemens NX, Scorpion RIBs Ltd., and technical supply deals with Princecroft Willis LLP, Esteco SpA, SOS Rehydrate, and luxury hotel The Goring. While in the formation process over the winter of 2013-14, Ainslie was estimating a total budget at £60 million ($100M USD), though at the public announcement in June he quoted a financial target of £80 million ($134 million USD), and at that time, according to Mills, 40 percent of the target budget was already in hand. By early August 2014, Kate Laven at the Telegraph reported financial commitments had reached 50%, including support of racing enthusiast Lord Laidlaw. June 2015, BAR announced an agreement with Land Rover as title sponsor and technology partner.
Key design personnel signed include Andy Claughton as Technical Director, Dirk Kramers (Oracle 2013, Alinghi 2010), Clay Oliver, Jason Ker, Rodrigo Azcueta, Benjamin Muyl (ETNZ 2013, Oracle 2010). Sailing talent includes Nick Hutton (Luna Rossa 2013), David Carr (Luna Rossa 2013), and Andy McLean (Artemis 2013, ETNZ 2007). Sailing Team Manager will be Jono Macbeth (Oracle 2010, ETNZ 2007/2003/2000).
Adrian Newey, known for his Formula 1 auto racing engineering background, has joined the team in a contributing engineering role, though not as chief designer. Newey's name had surfaced repeatedly in recent years in connection with a possible pivot from F1 to the America's Cup without his actually joining up with a sailing team. Martin Whitmarsh, also from Formula 1, became CEO of Ben Ainslie Racing in March, 2015.
In the 2012-13 America's Cup World Series, BAR represented the Royal Cornwall YC, which Ainslie has been associated with since he was a junior sailor. For the 2017 America's Cup, BAR will represent the Royal Yacht Squadron, under the auspices of an affiliate club Royal Yacht Squadron Racing.
BAR is establishing a
UK training base in Portsmouth, which will receive £7.5
million in government funding aimed at promoting local development and job
growth in the maritime industry. Additionally,
BAR will have foiling multihulls training in Bermuda beginning in January 2015.
Team France |
Yacht Club de France
Following the Protocol for the 2017 America's Cup being published, the team added encouraging comments from principals on their website as they consider their chances, though Team France had yet to confirm that funding for a full challenge would be in place. A report in late July 2014 suggested that TF was near to sponsorship deals with Accor Hotels and Airbus, though nothing substantial followed.
Representatives of a French team, believed to be Team Fance, attended the July 2014 challenger meeting in Los Angeles. ACEA confirmed Team France's official acceptance in an August 21 announcement.
Questions about Team France's financial viability remained into mid-2015, fed by a lower level of visible recruitment and sailing activities compared to other teams, but the signing of Groupama as title sponsor, a deal said by Stuart Alexander at The Independent to be worth a total of €15 million ($16.7M USD) over three years and covering 80% of TF's budget, alleviates some concerns. Team France website
SoftBank Team Japan
| Kansai YC JPN
Coutts went on to essentially confirmed a Japanese entry, saying to the New York Times on April 19 "... I can tell you there’s a Japanese team coming in, and when you see who the owner of that team is, you would debate whether it’s bigger or smaller than Luna Rossa.”
Stuart Alexander at The Independent in late April reported that the team would be backed by Masayoshi Son, Japan's second richest man, with sponsorship from his software and technology company SoftBank Corp. Founder, Chairman, and CEO of SoftBank, Son's net worth is an estimated $14.8B USD. Dean Barker was immediately rumored to have been recruited following his departure from Team New Zealand, though a Japanese skipper for the campaign was considered a possibility by some observers, pegging Moth and multihull sailor Hiroki Goto as a candidate.
A formal announcement of the Notice of Challenge from SoftBank Team Japan (STJ) was made April 29, and officially accepted by GGYC on May 7. The availability of the experienced Barker proved hard to resist and the Kiwi was confirmed as Team Japan CEO and skipper on May 20.
Other notable additions: Chris Draper, former helmsman with Luna Rossa, joined Softbank Team Japan in June as Sailing Director, though initially Barker is still set to helm the ACWS entry.
The team will represent Kansai YC, located in Ashiya, near Osaka. Leadership also includes Kazuhiko Sofuku, known as “Fuku,” a veteran of four previous America's Cup efforts. STJ will be the beneficiary of "technical assistance" from defender Oracle Team USA expected to include design and engineering to build a new America's Cup Class multihull.
2017 Challenger of Record Withdrawn:
Hamilton Island YC AUS
An all-Australian crew was a possibility, which would fit with other reports of trying to restore a greater sense of national representation to America's Cup competition, though Sandy Oatley told Perth Now that the composition of a crew will ultimately depend on the talent available as the challenge takes shape. Matthew Belcher was signed as skipper.
it was announced in late November that the experienced Iain Murray would lead the challenge. In 2013 Murray served as Regatta Director and head of America's Cup Race Management, but has often sailed with the Oatleys and has a professional history with Hamilton Island real estate. Murray's joining the Aussie effort had been seen as likely from the time the Challenger of Record's identity was revealed.
“I have long been an avid supporter and ally of Bob Oatley,” said Murray. “When I received the invitation to lead Australia back into the America’s Cup for the first time since 2000 on behalf of their Hamilton Island Yacht Club, there was only ever going to be one answer.” Murray was designer, skipper, and leader of Task Force Defence '87, the Australian defender of the America's Cup in 1987, sailing Kookaburra III against Dennis Conner on Stars & Stripes. Team Australia would be the first Australian challenger for the America's Cup since Young Australia in 2000.
Team Australia organized the July challenger meeting in Los Angeles, and though the tone of discussion was described as positive, Iain Murray told Sail-World that upon return to Australia and discussion with team leaders regarding the commercial and cost implications of the defender's plans for 2017, that the decision was made to submit a notice of withdrawal from the 2017 America's Cup.
July 18, 2014, ACEA/GGYC and HIYC announced that Team Australia was withdrawing from the 2017 America's Cup. A brief statement released by HIYC cited that despite the efforts made during the negotiation of the Protocol and the AC62 Class Rule, that expectations for the costs of competition were exceeding their budget. Technically, under Article 14 of the Protocol, their withdrawal was designated a 90-day notice to withdraw, though whether any further changes to the event as currently planned could have reversed Team Australia's decision remains unclear. Team Australia website
2017 Challenger Withdrawn:
Rossa Challenge (Prada) |
Circolo della Vela
An official announcement was made June 12th, 2014: See video (1:27). Massimiliano "Max" Sirena will again be Skipper and Team Manager. Francesco Bruni and Chris Draper return as helmsmen. The Italian team also adds Shannon Falcone (from OTUSA), US Moth guru Bora Gulari, Kiwi Adam Minoprio, and Gilberto Nobili (also from OTUSA) to their already substantial Italian core of America's Cup-experienced crew. Francis Hueber (OTUSA), Yves Courvoisier, Martin Fischer, Alessandro Franceschetti (Artemis), and Davy Moyon are among the design team additions.
The campaign intends an €80-90M budget, €50M of that from their patron Bertelli and the rest from corporate partners.
In March 2015, the America's Cup Event Authority announced a movement to change the previously adopted AC62 yacht class for the 2017 America's Cup, reducing the nominal length from 62 feet to 48 feet and standardizing additional design features including the hull shapes. The rules for the 2017 America's Cup required that, in general, changes to the AC62 Class Rule should be a unanimous decision among all of the entered teams. Though Luna Rossa said that they agreed in principle with the idea of reducing the size of the boat, reducing costs along the way, there were disagreements between the teams on specifics. Of the size official teams at the time, the defender and three of the five challengers favored the proposed changes.
Amendments to the 2017 Protocol only require the defender and a majority of the challengers to agree on the issue, not all of the teams. Those in favor of changing the selected yacht for 2017 espoused the position that the Protocol, which specifies which class rule is to be used, unlike the Class Rule itself could be amended by simple majority vote to select a new Class Rule. Luna Rossa felt strongly that modifying such a fundamental issue of the upcoming match as the competition boat violated basic principles of fairness.
The Italian team threatened to withdraw from the event if the change proceeded in such a manner. The teams voted anyway on March 31, with the challengers voting 3-2, to change from the AC62 Class Rule to a new America's Cup Class of 48-foot multihulls. In keeping with their stated position, on April 2, Luna Rossa publicly announced their withdrawal from the 2017 America's Cup: Read Team Statement
Despite the withdraw, some Cup fans held out hope that additional negotiation could return Luna Rossa to the fold, and there were intermittent though hard-to-confirm suggestions of that scenario being pursued behind the scenes, at least according to some European reports in early April. The signing of helmsman Chris Draper with Dean Barker and the new Team Japan, though, points to Luna Rossa staying out for this America's Cup cycle, at least.
Luna Rossa's America's Cup record: Challenger, 2000 (lost 0-5); Challenger of Record, 2003; Louis Vuitton Cup Finalist, 2007 (lost 0-5 to ETNZ). 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup Finalist (lost to ETNZ). Luna Rossa Team Site
2013 ACWS Only Teams:
Yacht Club de
Rumored, Hinted, Imagined, or Denied:
| Royal Vancouver YC
Team Russia |
St. Petersburg YC
Greek Challenge |
Nautical Club Kalamata
Chinese Team | CHN
Bermuda Team | BER
German Team (Roland
Gaebler) | GER
Additional Links and Info:
See 2013 Teams Index (2013 version of this page, info on teams and hopefuls as they formed)
See Active 2013 America's Cup Teams (Competitors in ACWS, LVC, and
Inquiries please contact: