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Displaying items by tag: America's cup

It was discussed in the Seanad on Wednesday the fifth of March in 2003…..

Senator Joe O'Toole, a teacher by profession was an Independent Senator, served as General Secretary of the National Teachers Organisation and President of the Congress of Trade Unions… and came from Dingle...

So, he suggested to another Kerryman, then Sports Minister John O'Donogue, that Dingle would be a good base for the Cup to be sailed… It had just been concluded in Auckland, won by Switzerland… It would bring a billion to the west…. marinas in Cahirciveen, Fenit and Kilrush and, of course, Dingle, Would support it, he said.

The America's Cup didn't come to Dingle … The Minister for Sport at the time wasn't rushing to secure it, as I remember covering that story for RTE….

Now I'm tired of being asked to support various campaigns underway to get the AC for Cork and tired too of being described as a "begrudger" when I raise questions about it and also tired of being called "elitist" when defending sailing.

I believe in sailing as a "sport for all" ….. I don't like sailing being described as "elitist" and that is increasing – arising from the AC proposal.

Supporters of the 'AC for Cork' haven't acknowledged 2024 also as an Olympics Year in Paris…. Should the America's Cup, in which no Irish team is likely to be taking part because it couldn't be afforded, get many millions of taxpayer-funded Euros when there is still not enough State support for Irish sailors taking part in the Olympics?

Which would be of more benefit to the sport?

Pointing to the Round the World Race in Galway overlooks that, while big crowds attended the 'festival' around the event --- and there was an Irish boat involved…. it left unpaid bills behind for a while and that caused some resentment ….

Ireland's brigantine Asgard II at the Australian 200th celebrationsIreland's brigantine Asgard II at the Australian 200th celebrations

So, what about the photo of Asgard printed here, which in the past week appeared on social media, posted by the well-known, renowned Gerry Burns…

Asgard at the Australian 200th celebrations – "a great ambassador for Ireland" – the value of teaching hundreds of young people from all sectors of life the wide value of sailing ….and never given enough dedicated State support by the Department of Defence whose responsibility it was and with a Minister, Willie O'Dea, who wouldn't give the insurance compensation money for its sinking to replace it….

If there are millions available for a maritime event, why wouldn't it be put into leisure maritime development around the Irish coast?

The Tall Ships Races brought crowds and economic benefits to Cork, Dublin and Waterford, where there were three Irish tall ships taking part… now we have none actively sailing… so much for the continued support of sailing…

The AC has become a big commercial business, where money dictates more than sailing….. where the attempt seems to be to bulldoze Ireland into taking on a massive cost in a short timeframe … and helping to pay for the New Zealand defence which, if Team New Zealand can't find a location, could end up in another AC legal wrangle…

The America's Cup has become a big commercial businessThe America's Cup has become a big commercial business

If there are millions available for a maritime event, why wouldn't it be put into leisure maritime development around the Irish coast – more public marine leisure facilities, marinas, which might bring many more visitors, more regularly or club development to encourage more public involvement and rid sailing of that 'elitist' tag…..

When the government of the leading sailing nation in the world won't give the AC organisation in its own country the amount of money they want to hold the event in Auckland, I wonder who may end up being mugs for the elite of the AC? 

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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INEOS Britannia, representing Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd the Challenger of Record for the 37th America's Cup, has announced its core team live from Brackley, home of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team.

INEOS Britannia's design team will bring together the best of America's Cup and Formula 1, with James Allison as technical lead of the British America's Cup challenge in his capacity as Chief Technical Officer of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team and INEOS Britannia.

Team Principal Ben Ainslie will skipper INEOS Britannia, the first British Challenger to compete for three consecutive America's Cups since Sir Thomas Lipton's challenges in the early 20th century.

Backing the team again is INEOS and INEOS' Chairman and Founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who previously supported the team's 36th America's Cup challenge. Being part of the INEOS Sport group means access to a wider sporting family which includes the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team, the All Blacks, and football clubs OGC Nice and FC Lausanne-Sport.

As part of this high-performance group, the British America's Cup team has come together with Mercedes-AMG F1 Applied Science, a division of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, to form INEOS Britannia, bringing together the best of the worlds of high-performance marine and automotive engineering, with the goal to win the America's Cup for Britain.

Published in America's Cup
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Ireland is in a far strong negotiating position over the America's Cup than it may realise, and should set clear conditions if it is going to host the event, according to international sail racing project manager Marcus Hutchinson.

It is also “unfair” to ask a country like Ireland to invest in an event that Team New Zealand wants to run in 2024, the same year as the Paris Olympic Games.

Not only is the timeline too short for preparation, but the return for investment would be affected by the Games, he says.

Hutchinson has worked on five America's Cup events during his career, and has been coach and mentor for major solo ocean racing campaigns including the Figaro and Vendée Globe.

America's Cup racing in New Zealand - Minister Simon Coveney has said that a successful bid to host the America’s Cup yacht race would establish Ireland as a “leader of the blue economy within the EUAmerica's Cup racing in New Zealand - Minister Simon Coveney has said that a successful bid to host the America’s Cup yacht race would establish Ireland as a “leader of the blue economy" within the EU

He also believes no country should be expected to agree to host the America's Cup without seeing the protocol or “notice of racing” which has not yet been published.

The Americas Cup is a great opportunity for Ireland, he said, but he agrees with the decision by Minister for Tourism and Sport Catherine Martin to seek a due diligence review.

In his first public comment on Ireland’s bid, he outlined his views to Afloat's Wavelengths – stressing he is not involved in the bid or any of the negotiations.

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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Let's face it, Ireland bidding to host the 37th America's Cup in 2024 – or more accurately, Cork's campaigning to stage it – has all the makings of a handy TV drama. As it has to be a national investment, yet with its focus at a tightly regional level, it bears out the old cliché that all politics is ultimately local, and local in Ireland always has its own special dynamic. Other requirements for consideration for streaming success include:

  • Seemingly unimaginable sums of money involved? You got it.
  • An ultra-advanced and highly specialized version of a sport developing technically in such as way that, like Formula 1, it is already light years away from the sport as enjoyed by most of its adherents? Check.
  • Confusion of national identity in that we may be "providing the use of the hall", but there probably won't be an Irish team involved? Almost certainly true.
  • Continuing battle between comfortably settled residents who quite like the harbour as it is, versus brash incomers with plans for CHANGE, CHANGE, CHANGE in the name of progress? Right on target.
  • Larger-than-life characters who could easily be imagined wearing an oversize stetson if they're not doing so already? For sure. Organise those exclusive luxury suites immediately.

All that is of course only one angle. A very valid case can be made with equal or even greater strength for the investment of between €150 and €200 million in the necessary waterfront infrastructure. For let's face it, we may have referred to "unimaginable sums of money" above, but two hundred million snots is only a blip by comparison with the billions of euros the nation had to pour down the pipe from 2009 onwards to keep the banks afloat.

But on the other hand, if the money goes into giving the Rushbrooke shipyard an attractive recreational, marine services and hospitality aspect, it will still have other applications available to it after the America's Cup fandango has moved on.

A sail-training tall ship heads seaward past the Verolme Cork dockyard at Rushbrooke west of Cobh in the yard's final year of operation. Photo: Robert BatemanA sail-training tall ship heads seaward past the Verolme Cork dockyard at Rushbrooke west of Cobh in the yard's final year of operation. Photo: Robert Bateman

Admittedly at mid-week the prospects looked utterly dead. But Thursday night's announcement that Kiwi petro-magnate Mark Dunphy had hurled himself into the boiling pot with an offer to organise the funding to keep the show in Auckland has now brought up to four the number of supposedly interested parties that are considering the hosting in an ongoing drama in which our friends in Cork find themselves being pushed towards being the Preferred Bidder, with the alleged "lifeline" of an extra six weeks being provided to prolong the negotiating agony.

The Irish diaspora is at it again…..New Zealand business magnate Mark Dunphy reckons he can raise the funds to keep the America's Cup racing in Auckland. At one stage in his career, he worked with Michael Fay, another "Kiwi-Irish" business whizz who was much involved in America's Cup campaigning.The Irish diaspora is at it again…..New Zealand business magnate Mark Dunphy reckons he can raise the funds to keep the America's Cup racing in Auckland. At one stage in his career, he worked with Michael Fay, another "Kiwi-Irish" business whizz who was much involved in America's Cup campaigning.

Yet up above in Dublin, the powers-that-be (or at least the powers that would like to be, but sometimes you'd wonder) are indicating the need for a six month assessment period, and a marked reluctance to get involved at all in a glitter show for which the political optics are seriously foggy in every constituency in the country except perhaps South Cork, and we can't even be too sure about that.

For the man in the street in Carrigaline might have different views from those on the marinas downriver at Crosshaven. But regardless of their location, each one has a vote when an election comes around. And as those advocating a sail training ship for Ireland ever since Noah decommissioned The Ark have very painfully discovered in trying to persuade local coastal politicians round to their point of view, there are few if any votes in sail training, even in port towns. Thus we only acquired the brigantine Asgard II because there were two decidedly colourful pro-sailing autocrats – Paddy Donegan and Charlie Haughey – in power during the time of her building.

So in the current febrile political mood (is it ever anything else?), most TDs will be looking over their shoulders and wondering how many votes might be found in an America's Cup spectacle in and off Cork Harbour. It won't take the latest product from one of those Cork computer factories to come up with the answer, for the occasional think-pieces on the subject in national newspapers have revealed such a total ignorance of the America's Cup among the Irish general public, and the opinion makers who serve them, that it might do no harm to do a little scene setting.

A-yachting we will go… was serial challenger Thomas Lipton who coined the phrase "The Auld Mug" for the America's Cup as he developed its commercial attraction.A-yachting we will go… was serial challenger Thomas Lipton who coined the phrase "The Auld Mug" for the America's Cup as he developed its commercial attraction.

First raced for on the Friday of Cowes Week 1851 in a challenge round the Isle of Wight - a race which was something of an afterthought to the two main sailing events of the week - the trophy is a quintessentially Victorian silver ewer worth a relatively modest £100 at the time. The additional race for this new trophy was laid on to provide a fleet contest for the New York schooner America, which had sailed across the Atlantic as a sort of associate item for the Great Exhibition in London that year, but was then found to be ineligible under various club rules for the main races of Cowes Week.

But that one race - unfashionably sailed on the Friday when the cream of English society would already have departed Cowes to be on one of their vast estates for the weekend - was enough for the stylish America to prove her worth, and the silver ewer returned to New York, becoming in time the America's Cup, the world's oldest international sporting trophy.

It didn't take too long for its publicity value to become clear in an era when popular stadium and arena sports were still at an early stage of development, and this was most evident in the attitude of a serial challenger, mega-grocer Thomas Lipton of Glasgow, who proudly displayed his Irish ancestry from Monaghan by using the name Shamrock for his five challengers through the Royal Ulster Yacht Club between 1899 and 1930.

All of his challenges against the Americans with Shamrock I, II, III, IV and V were unsuccessful. But Lipton found that provided he could be a sporting and gallant loser, it generated friendly publicity to boost the growth of his business empire's American offshoot, so he became the very embodiment of geniality, and made millions.

That said, another aspect of Lipton was revealed in 1908, when he had his own private racing yacht, the 23 Metre known just as plain Shamrock, and built for racing in British regattas during a hiatus in America's Cup challenges. It's said that if this private Shamrock performed conspicuously badly in a race, the persona of the genial Glasgow grocer was quickly replaced – albeit briefly – by one very grumpy owner.

America's Cup contenders come to Dublin Bay in 1901? This is a mystery photo, origins unknown. According to a note with it, this is Lipton's Fife-designed Shamrock I – his challenger of 1899 – on left, being used as training-horse for his Watson-designed Shamrock II (challenger in 1901) at a regatta in Dublin Bay. Informed comments welcome……America's Cup contenders come to Dublin Bay in 1901? This is a mystery photo, origins unknown. According to a note with it, this is Lipton's Fife-designed Shamrock I – his challenger of 1899 – on left, being used as training-horse for his Watson-designed Shamrock II (challenger in 1901) at a regatta in Dublin Bay. Informed comments welcome……

But when the America's Cup campaigning was resumed in 1914 with the advanced-design Shamrock IV, but then postponed to 1920 because of World War I delaying yet another ultimately unsuccessful campaign, the sporting loser persona reasserted its profitable self, though Lipton was also heard sadly wondering if he would ever win "The Auld Mug".

For many, it has been The Auld Mug ever since. But in the present kerfuffle over whether or not Ireland should continue to go hammer and tongs in pursuit of an opportunity to host the modern America's Cup racing spectacle in Cork in 2024, it's difficult to resist thinking that in some ways we have been making Auld Mugs of ourselves over the whole business for the last six months or so.

Personally, I don't remotely agree with the assertion that this is the third biggest sporting event on the planet, but it's a pretty big deal nevertheless. And as a country with a longer sailing history than most – including direct connections with eight America's Cup challenges out of the 36 made it surely behoved us to be interested as the contest was floated as a business proposition on the more-or-less open market by a New Zealand entity.

But the America's Cup in the 21st Century has become one very potentially explosive combination involving - so we're told - at least €200 million in initial Government investment in infrastructure in the greater Cork Harbour area, though it might be all for an anticipated return of maybe €500 million if the promised four teams (and preferably more) turn up and the world then watches.

In doing so we'd be trying to follow an impressive New Zealand organisational performance which transformed parts of the Auckland waterfront. But then the Auckland area is one of the greatest sailing locations in the world, and while Cork Harbour is impressive by European standards, it doesn't offer the multiple sailing options which can be found in Auckland.

It took the staging of the America's Cup at Auckland to make the world fully aware the unrivalled range of sailing options available at The City of SailsIt took the staging of the America's Cup at Auckland to make the world fully aware the unrivalled range of sailing options available at The City of Sails

Then too, as a new city, Auckland presents an impressive high rise front to the sea – or at least it's impressive if high rise and acres of glass is your thing. But Cork is just so very much older than Auckland, and its main 19th-century harbour waterfront at Cobh is so deeply ingrained in the national consciousness – and indeed, in the global consciousness thanks to its links with the Titanic– that any attempt to update it would be regarded as sacrilege, while a modern waterfront mini-city of glass towers just around the corner at the proposed America's Cup centre in the former Verolme Cork dockyard might be a very challenging proposition to get past local opinion.

However, the modern America's Cup series is a much more complex affair than the straightforward match racing which Lipton's crews would have experienced. By the time the best series of all took place in 1987 off Perth in Western Australia, with Dennis Conner in his prime taking the trophy back from the Australians in truly magnificent sport in 12 Metres as glimpsed below (***k your foils, THIS is yacht racing) 

the "associated events" aspect was developing, and if Cork do secure it, just one staging of the series might be as much as a two-year largely Cork-based project for the teams involved.

History lives – Cobh's characterful waterfrontHistory lives – Cobh's characterful waterfront.

With a time-span like that, there'll be all sorts of junior and open-to-the-public happenings, and doubtless that beloved phrase "Fun For All The Family" will get one of its many airings. But with this new involvement of Mark Dunphy (Irish of course, will the diaspora ever leave us alone?) the paranoid might well think that the Irish are just the auld mugs being used to up the ante in a higher-stakes game.

We shall see. And were it any sport other than our beloved sailing, it would be hugely entertaining. But either way, when it's a game of big business, national and international politics, huge sums of money, and utterly ruthless "sporting" competition, not everyone can hope to be a winner in whatever capacity they may be involved. So all those putting their heads above the parapet would do well to remember the cynics' version of the great sportswriter Grantland Rice's originally idealistic bit of verse:

For when the one Great Scorer comes,
To write against your name;
He writes not that you won or lost.
But how you spread the blame.

Published in W M Nixon

A statement issued tonight by the 37th America’s Cup (AC37) selection committee of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) together with Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) says it intends to extend the timeline for its venue selection. It's a development that opens the door again for the Cork Harbour bid that appeared dead in the water just 24 hours ago.

The full statement reads: 

Following a very close 37th America’s Cup (AC37) Host Venue selection process consisting of three compelling and professional international proposals, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) together with Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ), announced today that they are extending the selection period for the shortlisted offshore venues to continue to work through final details and provide further information required for their respective bids.

Opposed to a rushed decision

RNZYS Commodore Aaron Young said: “For the benefit of both the 37th America’s Cup and the eventual host venue, we would rather allow some more time now so we make the right decision as opposed to a rushed decision.”

ETNZ and RNZYS believe it is both prudent and responsible to extend the deadline in which the offshore venues can continue to progress negotiations after Covid lockdown in New Zealand has made it impossible for ETNZ team members to visit the venues. It was originally planned to carry out essential face to face meetings and to provide final team feedback to act on Origin Sports Group’s recommendations.

Grant Dalton, CEO of ETNZGrant Dalton, CEO of ETNZ

ETNZ and RNZYS have had to balance the need for further time to ensure they accept a bid that is in the best interests of the America’s Cup event with the need for Challengers to know the final venue as soon as practicable.

Maintain the event in Auckland

Furthermore, on Wednesday morning, ETNZ and RNZYS received a letter from Mark Dunphy regarding the viability of his funding to maintain the event in Auckland. This extension of the process will also allow Mr Dunphy further time to answer the questions we have already put to him over the past month.

Grant Dalton, CEO of ETNZ, commented:

“The fundamental fact is that we have a number of outstanding potential venues literally going down to the wire and all of them with strong and competitive bids on the table and firmly committed to completing agreements in the coming weeks – that’s a good place to be in for sure. It’s frustrating not to have been able to close our agreement with a Host Venue by the planned date of 17 September as previously proposed but we are now giving ourselves more time to work through the final details of the respective venues as the current COVID situation in New Zealand has made the process more difficult.

As we have always maintained throughout, however unlikely it seemed, Auckland has never been off the table for obvious reasons. So now that we finally have an 11th hour letter from Mr Dunphy, it would be remiss of us not to explore the viability of an Auckland event and if it in fact can be fully and completely funded locally. To date there has been no evidence of this being the case.”

The search for the AC37 Host Venue was started back in May 2020 by Origin Sports Group but was paused for an exclusive three-month period from March 17th, during which the New Zealand Government had the exclusive right to negotiate AC37 being held in New Zealand and continued once this period lapsed.

Published in America's Cup
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With speculation mounting that Ireland increasingly looks like the venue for the 37th America's Cup in Cork Harbour, boosted by some positive Irish Government cost analysis this week, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) and Defender Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) along with the Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd (RYSL) and Challenger of Record INEOS Team UK have announced exciting initiatives to be included as part of the Protocol for the 37th America’s Cup due to be published November 17th.

With the AC75 remaining as the centrepiece of dramatic America’s Cup racing for at least the next two editions, a new class of boat, the one-design AC40 foiling monohull, is being introduced as a new multipurpose class which will help expand pathways into the main event.

The AC40 will be a dynamic, powerful, and super-fast scaled-down version of the AC75 that will see it reach similar speeds to its big sister at times. The intention is for the new class to be the catalyst to accelerate participation in the America’s Cup from the global talent pool of female and youth foiling sailors via separate AC37 Women’s and Youth America’s Cup regattas as part of the overall 37th America’s Cup event schedule at the Host Venue.

RNZYS Commodore Aaron Young said, “Creating pathways and increasing participation for women, youth and emerging nations is something that has been a priority since winning in 2017. In fact, universally it is seen as something that will only benefit everyone in the sport of sailing and was illustrated in the 20 entries, we received to our mixed crew Youth AC that was initially planned for 2021, prior to COVID19.

To now be announcing the AC40’s as the exciting class that will be used by AC teams for their scale testing and development, Match Race training, Preliminary Regattas and then for the Women’s and Youth events makes complete sense.”

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton explains the detail behind the class and the regattas, “All of the competing teams must purchase at least one AC40 which will be used in the Preliminary Regattas, and then made available for the respective and independent Women’s and Youth regattas to be held at the venue of the AC37 Match.”

“The yacht clubs of competing AC teams must enter both the Women’s and Youth events, however entries will also be open to other countries and yacht clubs.

We would certainly anticipate an entry from the Host country if in fact they do not have an America’s Cup team”.

Furthermore, once the teams AC40’s are delivered by the end of 2022 and early 2023 our hope is that private owners will purchase their own AC40’s as we start to build an exciting and accessible class for the future.”

INEOS Team UK Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie said, “The America’s Cup has an important role to play in expanding access and inclusion for all athletes into sailing. The Women’s and Youth America’s Cup regattas are an important move forward and a much-needed platform that enables all nations to improve diversity and inclusion in our sport.

We look forward to creating a pathway in Britain that will support both programmes on and off the water, giving our athletes opportunities for success in competition, whilst also helping to bridge the gap into professional sailing."

Over recent months The Defender and Challenger of Record have been working to agree the Protocol for the next America’s Cup which is due to be published on November 17th. The detailed document takes mutual agreement between both parties in creating the rules and parameters of the next event that all teams must accept as a condition of their entry into AC37. Both parties can confirm the next event will be a multi challenger event and not be a one on one event that has been speculated.

Published in America's Cup

The growing international consensus that the 37th America's Cup could be sailed in Cork Harbour in 2024 will be boosted by a buoyant Irish government 'cost-benefit analysis' prediction into the possibilities of an Irish staging of the world's third-biggest sporting event.

According to an Afloat source, the unpublished report is currently "stuck in the Dept of Sport" but reveals it could be worth €500m to Ireland. 

The figures contained in the report back the Irish bid conclusively the source says and are "€150m of cost to return €500m of hard benefits for Ireland". 

The €150m cost is broken down as €100m capital legacy/infrastructure such as the refurbishment of docks for berthing the high-speed foilers with €50m earmarked as a "current" spend.

Last month Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, who championed Cork Harbour's audacious bid, said he had put together a team of experts, including Ernst & Young, to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of hosting the event in Cork Harbour:  “EY are in the middle of finalising a cost-benefit analysis at the moment in terms of the financial value to the country of a global sporting event of this scale which many would say is third only to the Olympics and the football World Cup in terms of a hosting a global sporting event,” Coveney said.

The Taoiseach Micheal Martin (left) and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney were both afloat for the Royal Cork 300th celebrations late last month in Cork Harbour and used the opportunity to promote Ireland's America's Cup bid. Photo: Bob BatemanThe Taoiseach Micheal Martin (left) and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney were both afloat for the Royal Cork 300th celebrations late last month in Cork Harbour and used the opportunity to promote Ireland's America's Cup bid. Photo: Bob Bateman

While that report has not yet been announced its headline figures are proving an important selling point. According to the Afloat source this week, it is now understood that Team New Zealand, the holders of the Cup, and its sports management negotiators are ready to announce Ireland as the preferred bidder.

As regular Afloat readers will know Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney told Cabinet last month that Ireland’s bid has progressed to the final stage of judging, with Cork proposed as the host venue.

Coveney accompanied a team of specialists on a visit to Cork Harbour in June to assess everything from a site for a team village, local facilities and attractions, and the essential racing elements like wind speed, tides and the racing circuit.

A final decision is due this month, with Britain’s Isle of Wight, Spain’s Valencia, and Dubai also tipped as potential hosts in 2024, although no formal announcements have been made.

The sailing competition has been held in New Zealand on the last three occasions. Still, America’s Cup organisers announced last month that they had failed to reach a deal with the New Zealand government to host the next regatta in Auckland and look at alternative venues abroad.

In March, Team New Zealand (TNZ) successfully defended yachting’s most prestigious trophy, defeating Italy’s Luna Rossa 7-3 in waters of New Zealand’s largest city. Despite its Kiwi roots, TNZ is a private syndicate with no obligation to stage the next regatta in its home nation in 2024.

If the event gets the green light, Cork Dockyard has been earmarked as the likely lead infrastructure in the Harbour.

Published in America's Cup
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The sailing communities in Cork and in Ireland generally are assessing and modifying their responses towards Cork Harbour’s developing and very active proposal to stage the America’s Cup.

It is a hugely complex subject and a massive and costly project, which nevertheless could have many significant beneficial side-effects - both immediate and long-term - for the area.

Sail World, the international network of sailing news and opinion, has published this comprehensive view of the Cork bid to give us an informed international perspective here

Published in America's Cup

Round the world sailor Damian Foxall has expressed support for Ireland’s attempt to host the prestigious America’s Cup yacht race in Cork harbour.

The Kerry-born professional sailor who has competed in six Volvo ocean races and won one, says any America’s Cup bid would have to be pursued with “eyes wide open” due to the high cost involved.

"The America's Cup is the pinnacle of match racing, and the boats are out of this world in terms of technology," Foxall said.

"To have in Cork would be such a great venue - if we can host Volvo Ocean Races as we did in Galway, and sail in the Olympics and have Tom Dolan competing in La Solitaire du Figaro, then why not have the America's Cup here in Ireland," he added.

Round the world sailor Damian FoxallRound the world sailor Damian Foxall - advises of high costs involved in staging an America's Cup in Ireland

“It is not too far fetched for Ireland to host an event like this, given that Galway hosted two Volvo ocean races - and fair dues to anyone trying to bring it here,” Foxall said.

“It would be wonderful for Ireland to host it, but the stakes are a lot higher, the risk is a lot higher and I’m not sure if the benefit is a lot higher,” Foxall said.

As Afloat has reported, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has confirmed that a team has been working on Ireland’s bid since January of this year.

The world’s biggest and oldest sailing event is ranked third only to the Olympics and a Football World Cup in sporting value for a host country.

The current cup holders Team New Zealand, have not yet decided if the 37th such event in 2024 will take place again in Auckland, Coveney said.

Spectator boats in AucklandSpectator boats watch the 36th match racing in Auckland in March Photo: Studio Borlenghi

It was recently reported that Team New Zealand began discussions abroad on alternative venues after turning down a bid from their home nation’s government worth NZ$99 million, or some €58.3 million.

Ireland has been among several venues explored for the New Zealanders by global sports investment group Origin Sports, headed by Cork-based Stewart Hosford.

Coveney confirmed that Belfast and Dublin had also been assessed initially, but Cork won out in terms of infrastructure and international links – and the fact the city is built on one of the world’s finest natural harbours.

The former Cork dockyard, a 44-acre site in Cobh, could provide a race village, and owners Doyle Shipping Group have been very supportive, Coveney said.

“We have made the case that we can replicate a home here in Cork harbour for Team New Zealand which has many similarities to Auckland,” he said.

Racing at the America's Cup in AucklandRacing at the America's Cup in Auckland - New Zealand’s business ministry estimated the America's Cup would be worth between 355 million euros to 592 million euros to the economy between 2018 and 2021 Photo: Studio Borlenghi

Coveney declined to comment on a figure for hosting the event, but said that Ernst and Young were liaising with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on a detailed cost-benefit analysis.

“How we fund it, whether it is through a combination of urban renewal and other funds, has to be worked out, but it won’t happen if we don’t show the economic benefit”, he said.

In 2017, New Zealand’s business ministry estimated the America's Cup would be worth between 355 million euros to 592 million euros to the economy between 2018 and 2021 and hosting the event would create between 4700 and 8300 jobs.

However, New Zealand recorded heavy losses on hosting the event due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A spokesman for New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment confirmed to Afloat that a total of NZ$348.4 million (205 million euro) was spent by State authorities on America’s Cup-related capital and operating expenditure over four years.

Racing at the America's Cup in AucklandThe current cup holders Team New Zealand, have not yet decided if the 37th such event in 2024 will take place again in Auckland

“ A cost-benefit analysis identified that, when considering financial returns only, New Zealand got 48 cents back for every dollar put in," the spokesman said.

" The overall economic return of hosting the America’s Cup was lower than forecast due to the lower-than-expected number of Challengers, the impacts of Covid-19 and costs being higher than forecast,” the spokesman said.

Coveney has said that a successful bid to host the America’s Cup yacht race would establish Ireland as a “leader of the blue economy within the EU” and would also be a significant expression of the Government’s “Global Ireland” initiative”.

“Some 2.5 million people came to see it when it was last in Europe, and we have taken a lot of learning from the Valencia experience,” Coveney said.

Tea merchant Sir Thomas Lipton, the Aga Khan and media and business tycoons Ted Turner and Alan Bond are among those associated with supporting the sailing event.

The match racing between a “defender” and a “challenger” was first won by a syndicate from the New York Yacht Club in a race against Britain around the Isle of Wight in 1851.

The US successfully defended the trophy 24 times until 1983 when Australia secured it, and it was last hosted in Europe by the Spanish port of Valencia.

Published in America's Cup

The bidding process to host the next America's Cup attracted 35 expressions of interest from around the world with Ireland now down to the final two.

The number was revealed as Ireland's Minister of Foreign Affairs updated his cabinet on the Irish bid to hold the 37th edition of the America's Cup in Cork in 2024.

As Afloat reported earlier, Simon Coveney, a Cork Harbour sailor himself, explained details to his colleagues on Tuesday and appeared confident about Ireland's chances.

The possibility of Team New Zealand defending the Cup offshore has increased after a $99m bid by the New Zealand government and Auckland City was turned down because it didn't stack up financially, according to

Coveney confirmed to his cabinet that Ireland had been shortlisted to host the event.

"There were initially 34 other countries expressing an interest. It was then reduced to 12 or 14 and then reduced to a much smaller number," Coveney explained after the cabinet meeting in a report carried by RTE and the Irish Times.

He said that Ireland can "host a fantastic 37th America's Cup, if we're given the opportunity to do it. And I think we're right in there with a chance to win".

Published in America's Cup
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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