Oracle owner Larry Ellison is reportedly poised to announce a World Series of Sailing featuring foiling catamarans.
Rob Mundle, a leading Australian yachting commentator and author who wrote the recent biography for Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill, has revealed on his website that the American billionaire is planning to hold an AC50 World Series.
The prize, Mundle said, will be a spectacular trophy provided by French fashion house Louis Vuitton, who were a major sponsor when Team NZ beat Oracle in the 35th America’s Cup held in Bermuda in June.
Louis Vuitton had been a long-time sponsor of the America’s Cup, but were on the outter after Team NZ won in Bermuda and had Prada-backed Italian team Luna Rossa as Challenger of Record for the next regatta, in Auckland 2021.
The billionaire’s proposed series would be contested around the world and teams from the USA, Sweden, Japan and France were understood to be on board.
Only Team NZ and British team BAR have announced their intended participation in the 2021 America’s Cup. The British team were not included in Mundle’s list of entrants said to be interested in committing to Ellison’s rival regatta.
Mundle said an announcement was close and that one round of the World Series would likely be in Bermuda because many racing syndicates were based there.
“As Cup defender in Bermuda, Ellison changed the face of America’s Cup racing with the introduction of spectacular high-speed, 50ft long hydrofoil catamarans,” Mundle wrote.
“The same boats would be used for the World Series and compete on unique, ‘spectator friendly’ courses along the lines of those created in Bermuda.
“Those courses were designed to provide a new level of excitement for an international television and social media audience and test the competing crews to the limit.
“Ellison had legendary American ocean racing navigator, Stan Honey, create a special graphics package that took the television coverage of yacht racing to a new dimension. The same concept would be used for the coverage of the world series.”
A new circuit would consist of teams of professional sailors with loose affiliations to their country’s teams.
Teams in the 35th America’s Cup were not allowed to compete in other events without the permission of the Cup Commissioner, but rules were far more relaxed for the 36th regatta in four years time. It is, however, prohibited for teams to compete in rival regattas.