America's Cup 2017: Teams for the Next Cup
Defender and Challenger Index


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2017 America's Cup Teams:   Click on team names or scroll down to read more.


Silver, Stars, and Stripes.
Photo:©2013 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget

The early entry period for submitting a Notice of Challenge for the 2017 America's Cup runs from June 9 to August 8, 2014.  After that date, Golden Gate YC may accept or reject late challenges at their discretion.  The 2017 Protocol also allows GGYC the unprecedented option of choosing not to accept more than one challenger per country.

 
Officially Accepted
Defender:
Oracle Team USA Defender USA
Challenger of Record:
Team Australia Challenger of Record (Resignation Pending) AUS

Active with 2017 Intentions
New Challengers
Ben Ainslie Racing Challenger GBR
Team France Challenger FRA
2013 Challengers
Artemis Racing Challenger SWE
Emirates Team New Zealand Challenger NZL
Luna Rossa Challenge Challenger ITA

Rumored, Hinted, Denied, or Imagined:
Royal Vancouver YC Challenger CAN
Red Bull Challenger ???
Team Russia Challenger RUS
Greek Team Challenger GRE
Chinese Team Challenger CHN

 



Defender:

Golden Gate YC  San Francisco, USA
Golden Gate YC (GGYC) is the 35th Defender of the America's Cup, winning the trophy in 2010 from Société Nautique de Genève, and successfully defending it in 2013 against Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.  GGYC will be represented for the 35th America's Cup by Oracle Team USA. The club does not intended to hold a defender selection series for the 2017 America's Cup cycle.  The club was also represented in 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013 by Oracle Team USA (previously known as Oracle BMW Racing (2003) and BMW Oracle Racing (2007 and 2010)).

Oracle Team USA 
James Spithill (Luna Rossa 2007, OneWorld 2003, Young Australia 2000) was re-signed as Skipper.  Russell Coutts is expected to remain Team CEO, though at one point he reportedly told NZ's Sunday Star-Times that he wouldn't rule out a return to a NZ challenger.  November 15, 2013, the team announced that they had re-signed Tom Slingsby.  Perhaps anticipating the direction of the new AC62 Class Rule, however, and in keeping with a promise to lower costs, several senior members of the design team, including a large portion of the aero design staff, were not retained.  Notable departures to other teams include designer Michel Kermarec, to Artemis; Dirk Kramers, to BAR; Shannon Falcone, Francis Hueber, to Luna Rossa.  Oracle Team USA Website

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Challenger of Record:

The 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 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 though, on July 18, 2014, HIYC gave notice that they will resign as COR for the 2017 America's Cup and withdraw from the event.

Team Australia  | Hamilton Island YC  AUS
A report September 26th, 2013, in the New York Times that Hamilton Island YC in Australia was going to be the new COR was neither confirmed nor denied by GGYC/Oracle spokesman.  On Sept 28, Reuters said that sources had confirmed to them that HIYC and Australian Bob Oatley would be revealed shortly as the COR, and an official announcement of Hamilton Island YC as Challenger of Record was issued September 30, 2013.  Oatley is an active yacht racer, winning the Sydney-to-Hobart race multiple times with his 100-footer Wild Oats XI, the latest in a string of yachts to carry the name.  Oatley is the head of Wild Oats Wines, his family business, and a real estate developer of Hamilton Island.  Oatley's son Sandy is also reported as a principal in the challenge.  The Oatleys have said that a central goal of the next America's Cup cycle from their point of view is keeping much of the excitement of the 2013 America's Cup, but with the budgets at more accessible funding levels in order to encourage more teams.  "We can put some boxes around the boats and the sails so it doesn’t become a race of money," Sandy Oatley told Reuters Oct 2.  As for their own funding, the challenge will seek support from corporate sponsors and the Australian government.

An all-Australian crew is 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. Mat Belcher was signed as skipper.

Iain Murray will lead the challenge, it was announced in late November.  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.  Murray's joining the Aussie effort was 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.  This is 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 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 is designated a 90-day notice to withdraw, though whether any further changes to the event as currently planned could reverse Team Australia's decision is unclear.  Team Australia website

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Challengers from 2013:

Artemis Racing | Royal Swedish YC (Kungliga Svenska Segel Sällskapet) SWE
Iain Percy has been re-signed, promoted to Team Manager.  Nathan Outteridge is being kept on as skipper.  Official these signings at first were only for team patron Torbjörn Törnqvist's other sailing programs, but continuity in personnel was an early sign of hope for a second Artemis America's Cup effort. “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, that the team intends to be a serious contender for the 35th America's Cup.  Artemis Racing representatives attended the July challenger meeting in Los Angeles, and are rumored to have already submitted their notice of challenge for 2017.

The degree of the Swedish team's intent is 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).  Artemis Team Site and Twitter Feed

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Emirates Team New Zealand | Royal New Zealand YS  NZL
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.  NZ Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce told the NZ Herald on Sept 28 that the country will consider funding the team again once they have more details of the next America's Cup.  Dalton, speaking on radio in NZ, though, said that team members are being heavily recruited by other campaigns just days after the the end of the 2013 America's Cup Match.  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 will help guide the team through a transition to the next Cup cycle, but it's not clear who would lead TNZ if Dalton's departed.  Questioned by media, Russell Coutts did not rule out his own involvement according to one report, though there has yet to be 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 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 accepted.  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 some 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 have previously 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.  NZ Prime Minister John Key cast some doubt on the funding arrangement, saying on Newstalk ZB June 15 that he thought public interest was fading, and clouding the issue of what commitment the government might actually be able to keep.  TNZ also has the issue of relocating to a new base at market rates after losing their facility which had been subsided by the city of Auckland for the last several years, according to the NZ Herald.

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, 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, 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.  On June 14th, Kevin Shoebridge, Chief Operating Officer, 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."

In mid-June, facing some blowback from the alarming warnings about the team's finances, speaking to the NZ Herald Dalton did describe 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

Team New Zealand representatives attended the July challenger meeting in Los Angeles.

Glenn Ashby has been re-signed for the next campaign, it was reported in December 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. Notable departures include designer Thiha Win, 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

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Luna Rossa Challenge (Prada) | Circolo della Vela Sicilia  ITA
Had ETNZ won the America's Cup in San Francisco, Luna Rossa and ETNZ were simpatico enough that the Italian team was widely believed to have been lined up by ETNZ as the next Challenger of Record.  Team patron Patrizio Bertelli was critical of the AC72 yachts and other aspects of the regatta as staged for 2013, as was ETNZ's Grant Dalton.  Additional, there were seeming minor issues that mounted as the event unfolded which generated tension between Luna Rossa and and the official regatta organizations, the aftermath of which may have damaged good will between the parties.  Luna Rossa has been a major team in the America's Cup since 2000, and the Italian sporting passion has always been on prominent display, including a strongly national crew.  Following previous America's Cups, Bertelli was not always been quick to commit to the next campaign, but reports through the first half of 2014 were that Luna Rossa is on track for 2017, and they are establishing a base in Calgiari, Sardinia, in order to train there throughout 2014-15, as reported at L'Unione Sarda.it (in Italian).  Luna Rossa representatives attended the July challenger meeting in Los Angeles, and are rumored to have already submitted their notice of challenge for 2017.

An official announcement was made June 12th, 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.

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

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2013 ACWS Only Teams:

Energy Team Challenge | Yacht Club de France  FRA
That this team of French multihull experts did not field an AC72 entry to the 2013 America's Cup was one of the greater disappointments of the regatta.  Leaders Bruno and Loïck Peyron may have future plans.  After Energy stood down, Loïck was drafted by Artemis Racing to help skipper the Swedish AC72, and provide guidance to Nathan Outteridge who sailed the boat in their Louis Vuitton Cup races.  His time with Artemis was certainly a learning experience for Peyron as well.  Loïck also has embarked on a foiling Moth campaign, suggesting he is working up the skills necessary to take the wheel of a foiling catamaran somewhere down the road. However, Loïck's signing with Artemis Racing seems to signal that Energy will not become a challenger for 2017. Representatives of a French team, believed to be Team France, attended the July challenger meeting in Los Angeles.

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Hopefuls: Potential New Challengers:

Announced and Active:

Ben Ainslie Racing | Royal Yacht Squadron GBR
When Team Origin, billed as the British America's Cup Team, pulled the plug in October 2010, two reasons were cited either directly or in press reports: money and the commitments that key sailing team members including Ben Ainslie had to 2012 Olympic campaigns.  Ainslie, now a four-time Olympic gold medalist, had been Team Origin's skipper and helmsman. 

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.

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.

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, was said to be a potential addition to the team, though it is also true that Newey's name has surfaced in connection with a possible pivot from F1 to the America's Cup repeatedly in recent years without his actually joining up with a sailing team. 

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 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.  BAR representatives attended the July challenger meeting in Los Angeles.
Ben Ainslie Racing website | Facebook | Twitter

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Team France | Yacht Club de France  FRA
Franck Cammas, Michel Desjoyeaux, and Olivier de Kersauson are among the leaders of this new challenger effort that announced their intentions in early January, 2014.  The team will also pursue a program on smaller yachts involving participation in the Tour de France de Voile, the Extreme Sailing Series, and the International C-Class Catamaran Championship (IC4, also known unofficially as the Little America's Cup).  Said to have $20 million in place to begin engineering studies, the team also is reported to be interested in recruiting proven design talent as the established teams transition to the next America's Cup.  See report at ouest-france.fr (in French)

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 has yet to confirm that funding for a full challenge will be in place.  A report in late July suggest that TF may be near to sponsorship deals with Accor Hotels and Airbus. Team France website

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Rumored, Hinted, Imagined, Rejected, or Denied:

Canadian Challenger | Royal Vancouver YC  CAN
A report October 1 at SFGate.com said that the Canadian yacht club was interested in being the Challenger of Record for the 35th America's Cup, but that GGYC declined their offer, instead accepting Hamilton Island YC since the Australian club had expressed interest first.  Presumably a team willing to be Challenger of Record also has intentions of being a challenger otherwise, but no public statement has been made to date.
 

Team Russia | St. Petersburg YC  RUS
An entry in the multihull-based Extreme Sailing Series, Team Russia has described their ESS effort as a possible springboard to an America's Cup challenge for 2017.  Igor Lisovenko, a top Russian competitor in the Laser dinghy, is tactician and skipper, while Great Britain's Paul Campbell-James, now a veteran of 2011-2013 America's Cup World Series action with Luna Rossa, is helmsman.  Crew also includes Alister Richardson as mainsail trimmer, Pete Cumming as headsail trimmer, and Alex Kulakov as bowman.  Team Russia's Extreme40 campaign is billed as Gazprom Team Russia, reflecting sponsorship by the energy company.
 

Greek Challenge | Nautical Club Kalamata GRE
Since the 2007 America's Cup, Sotiris Bouzeas has been working on advancing a campaign from this Mediterranean country.  Greek Challenge competed in ACC monohulls against other America's Cup teams at the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland, NZ, in 2009, and Bouzeas has continued to mention of aspirations of fielding a challenger, but no specifics regarding progress on a 2017 effort have been made public.  In 2012, Greek Challenge announced a partnership with University of the Aegean, aimed at educating future professional sailors and possibly hosting an America's Cup World Series regatta. 
Greek Challenge website | Sotiris Bouzeas on LinkedIn | Alternate Nautical Club Kalamata site (in Greek)
 

Chinese Team | CHN
Emirates Team New Zealand's Grant Dalton told Sail-World June 13th that he believes that Oracle Team USA is working to encourage an entry from China.  Previously China was an America's Cup World Series entrant for 2011-13, and a challenger competing in the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2007, finishing 1-19, but beating BMW Oracle Racing.
 

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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 Amercia's Cup))
 


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