Bermuda will provide superb backdrop – Griffin
The 35th America’s Cup has all the makings to become one the most fiercely contested in the event’s 163-year history.
That is the prediction of Jack Griffin, the sailing expert and author, who served as brand manager for Swiss defender Alinghi in the lead up to the 32nd America’s Cup in Valencia, Spain.
“Oracle will be exceedingly tough to beat,” the former Silicon Valley marketing executive said. “Team New Zealand will be in the mix again, but this time with a far stronger challenger field. [There is] No guarantee that New Zealand will make it through to the America’s Cup Match.”
The author of the e-book, Turning The Tide, How Oracle Team USA Defended the America’s Cup, said that Challengers Luna Rossa, of Italy, and Artemis Racing, of Sweden, will also be a tough proposition having both made considerable advancements since the previous America’s Cup Challenger series.
“Luna Rossa will be faster, since they will design their own boat this time rather than using an earlier version of New Zealand’s design,” he said.
“Artemis Racing bet against foiling early in the design cycle last time and they were never able to catch up from that design decision. But they are stacked with talent and resources.”
Griffin said that Ben Ainslie Racing, the British Challenger, and Team France, will also be a “force to reckon with”.
“Ben Ainslie is one of the toughest competitors in the world and has assembled a strong British challenge with equal parts talent and emotional determination,” he said. “Team France is a wild card. There has been very little news, but team leader Franck Cammas is another ferocious, ferocious competitor.”
Like Alinghi in 2007 and 2010, Oracle Team USA will defend the “Auld Mug” in neutral waters in 2017, the first American defender to do so and first America’s Cup syndicate to do so by choice.
Griffin said that Oracle’s decision to rest their title on the line in Bermuda’s Great Sound is a “step with tremendous potential” in the evolution of the America’s Cup as one of the world’s top sporting events.
“Bermuda provides a stunning backdrop for the racing,” he said. “Different from San Francisco of course, but stunning in its own way.
“More importantly, the enthusiasm with which Bermuda is embracing the Cup will be a key ingredient. The determination and professionalism that Bermuda demonstrated to win the venue selection process makes me believe that the event is in very, very good hands.
“Hosting an exceptionally good America’s Cup event can do for Bermuda what the Olympics did for Barcelona. Formerly a secondary European city, [Barcelona] is now considered like London, Paris and Rome as a major tourism and business centre.”
Griffin admits to being shocked when Bermuda submitted its bid to host the next America’s Cup.
“I was surprised when Bermuda was listed among the candidates,” he said. “When Bermuda was shortlisted in July 2014 I started to learn more. By the time the decision was announced, I was confident that it was the right choice.”