|Ready for the World Series of Sailing?
The transformation of the America’s Cup from purely a competition to an entertainment property left many in the sport wondering why the oldest international sporting prize was being subjected to such an initiative.
Leave the Auld Mug alone, they said, and create your own event. Well now, if this report by noted sailing scribe Rob Mundle has substance, that may soon occur. Here he writes…
Larry Ellison, whose syndicate lost the America’s Cup to New Zealand in Bermuda in June this year, is believed to be close to announcing a “World Series of Sailing” based on that regatta.
Reliable sources suggest that the proposed series will be contested at a number of venues around the world. The ultimate prize will be a spectacular trophy provided by French fashion house, Louis Vuitton, which was a major sponsor in Bermuda.
Teams from the USA, Sweden, Japan and France are said to be committed to the event and others are expected to follow, including one possibly headed by two-time Cup winner, Ernesto Bertarelli.
With many of the syndicates involved in “AC35” in Bermuda having retained some of their facilities there, it is now likely that one round of the World Series – possibly the first – would be staged 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.
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.