Team Australia has withdrawn from the 35th America's Cup. The farcical situation caused by Oracle's refusal to confirm a venue, plus other unresolved problems with the protocal, have convinced the Oatley family, who were backing the challenge, that it was not acommercially viable venture.
Sandy Oatley said “When we entered the Cup we had the intention of trying to change the Cup in many ways. Our position as Challenger of Record gave us the opportunity through the drafting of the protocol to affect this change. Central to these changes, was the desire to make the participation in the Cup more affordable and more sustainable.”
Bob Oatley said “The Challenge was initiated with a view to negotiating a format for the 35th America’s Cup that was affordable and put the emphasis back on sailing skills. Ultimately our estimate of the costs of competing were well beyond our initial expectation and our ability to make the formula of our investment and other commercial support add up. We are bitterly disappointed that this emerging team of fine young Australian sailors will not be able to compete at the next America’s Cup under our banner”.
Here's the response from Oracle:
The America’s Cup organizers have received notification from the principals of Hamilton Island Yacht Club of their intention to withdraw Team Australia from the 35th America’s Cup.
“We are very disappointed to be receiving this news,” said Russell Coutts, Director of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA). “We were excited to have Australia as a challenger and we were also looking forward to the prospect of holding America’s Cup World Series events in Australia.
“But our focus going forward is with the teams that have already submitted challenges and the teams that have told us of their intent to do so before the entry deadline on August 8th.
In the meantime, ACEA is continuing its work to select a host venue for the America’s Cup in 2017. The selection process is progressing well with an aim to announce the final venue in October.
Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), which revealed its America’s Cup team in a gala ceremony in London last month, had this comment:
We remain supportive of the Defender’s continued drive towards a more commercial event format, along with a more sustainable future for this historic trophy. BAR will be bidding to host two America’s Cup World Series events in 2015/16 at our new home in Portsmouth; as a key part of the road to the 35th America’s Cup. While the withdrawal of the Challenger of Record is regrettable, it is also not unusual and we will continue our own preparations for the 35th America’s Cup and look forward to an exciting future.
- Roger McMillan