Ellison linked with World Series regatta
A “World Series of Sailing”, showcasing the same foiling catamarans used in the 35th America's Cup, could be heading to Bermuda.
The Royal Gazette revealed this month that plans were in the works for the island to host a regatta to be contested in the AC50 catamarans.
And speculation over the proposal has heightened after various reports surfaced suggesting that Larry Ellison, the Oracle Team USA owner, “is believed to be close to announcing the series”, with Bermuda being considered as a host venue.
A report from Rob Mundle, the Australian sailing writer who co-authored Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill's recent book Chasing the Cup: My America's Cup Journey, said that “reliable sources” suggest that the proposed series will be contested at a number of venues around the world.
It could also be launched in Bermuda, given that many of the racing syndicates from AC35 have retained facilities here.
The report adds that teams from the United States, Sweden, Japan and France are already on board and it is expected that they will be joined by other racing syndicates, including one possibly led by Ernesto Bertarelli, a two-times America's Cup winner.
The World Series will be based on the same concept that software billionaire Ellison used to change the face of America's Cup racing, with the introduction of the high-speed hydrofoiling catamarans and spectator-friendly courses for the 34th and 35th editions of the America's Cup, held in San Francisco and Bermuda.
The AC50 is the smallest class raced in the America's Cup and capable of speeds approaching 60mph.
The future of the multihull racing yacht remains uncertain after Emirates Team New Zealand, the 36th America's Cup defender, and Luna Rossa, the Challenger of Record, confirmed that the next instalment of the “Auld Mug” will be contested in 75ft monohulls by a crew of ten to 12.
Bermuda could still play a part in the next America's Cup after it emerged that five overseas pre-regattas will take place over a two-year period in the build-up to the event, to be held in Auckland in 2021.
Luna Rossa will organise the pre-regattas, which are planned for 2019 and 2020.
The other choices include unnamed venues in Italy, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, as well as Newport, Rhode Island, home port of New York Yacht Club, a challenger for the next Cup.