Monday, September 13, should be a turning point in the development of the 34th America's Cup. A press conference will be held in Valencia on the basis of the BMW Oracle team, where BMW Oracle will announce the year in which the 34 America's Cup will be held, the class of yachts in which the competition will be held, and provide the teams and the press with a new Protocol. Only the venue is open, but Russell Cootes promises to decide before December 31.
Expectations from this event can hardly be exaggerated. The intrigue was tied even during the 33rd Cup, as the management of the BMW Oracle team promised to hold the next match by honest and fair rules. And also to update the Cup to the level of modern, attractive to the wide media, viewers and sponsors of the competition.
At the moment we have an official challenger, which is Mascalzone Latino, a draft Protocol and two draft rules for future Cup boats - one for a single hull boat and the other for a multihull boat. In addition, we have at least three cities that would like to host 34 America's Cups: San Francisco, Fiumicino (a city in Italy, near Rome) and Valencia. Of the competition component, in addition to the Defender and Challenger, there are 10 teams in the WSTA and potentially several mystical Challengers like Venezia Challenge.
What of it can stay, change or disappear after September 13? The issue of protocol is linked to the choice of the boat and therefore they can be considered together. It is no secret that ACC-class boats are long outdated and need to be replaced. It is also no secret that rumors are circulating freely that the issue has long been resolved in favour of a multihull 34 ACC. The fact is that BMW Oracle already has a trimaran and it would probably be beneficial to use it again. Rumour: BMW Oracle is already building two multihulls in New Zealand to be used by the LVT teams in the 34 CV selection. Provided that qualifying rounds are to begin, according to BMW Oracle, from April 2011, it is likely that the preparation of such multihulls is indeed taking place. Second rumor: 34 Ships will be conducted on Extreme 40 catamarans, but with solid sails.
All the lyrics about whether the America's Cup on multihulls will really be the America's Cup can be omitted for now. The question is pragmatic: how many teams will agree to participate in the America's Cup if the Defender's choice is in favor of a catamaran/trimaran? Only Team Origin refused directly and publicly. Aleph also refused indirectly and not publicly. Luna Rossa refused to participate in 34 CA at all, so they do not count. So far we only know that ETNZ will participate anyway, and the rest of the teams have not expressed their position. Synergy, according to the team management, wants to participate, but they need a partner as it is impossible to finance such a project alone.
As for the venue, there are also nuances. It is believed that the teams support the holding of the Cup and qualifying tournaments in San Francisco, as the "home" city of GGYC. At least, there is always wind there. But the city itself, despite the statements of desire, makes quite strange demands to participants. In particular, according to the local SF Chronicle, the mayor's office refused to invest in the reconstruction of the port and offers to do it to the competition management together with the teams. It is like the players would pay for the stadiums they play in. In contrast, there is Valencia, which has already built a well-developed infrastructure, held two America's Cups and invested hundreds of millions of euros. And she is ready to pay more, just to get the Cup back. Next, there is Berlusconi, who has put 500 million euros on the table so that the Cup and qualifying matches do not leave the waters of Italy. I will specify that on Monday the question of the place will not be considered - the decision should be taken before the end of the year, but the choice of the ship itself may suggest where the BMW Oracle marks, as it will be clear the area of marinas and the depth of the waters. It is possible that there will be other applicant cities (e.g. in Greece).
As for the year of the final match 34Ka, BMW Oracle in the draft protocol called 2013 or 2014. But increasingly in the press sounds like 2014. After 7 years of stopping the Cup for most of the teams, and to add a new boat project, the teams need time to gather the teams themselves, and most importantly - the sponsors.
In short, Monday will be a hot day in Valencia. It is hard to say which decision we would consider positive and which one negative. The main thing is that it won't be boring!