Cup sailors focus on catamaran sailing in 2014

BAR RACING - 2012
© Photographer - Jon Nash - Please credit J.P Morgan BAR -Jon Nash

America’s Cup sailors and teams are focusing their efforts on catamaran sailing in 2014, as they await the rules for the next event. A Protocol, defining the rules and schedule for the 35th America’s Cup, is expected to be released in the coming months.

This week, Ben Ainslie confirmed he is advancing his efforts to put the funding in place for a British America’s Cup challenge, as he announced his participation in the Extreme Sailing Series which takes place on 40-foot catamarans.

"We've been working incredibly hard since last September to get the financing together (for a British Cup challenge), both privately and commercially and that's been going really well,"

Ainslie told the BBC. Ainslie’s JP Morgan BAR team will compete this year against several teams with ties to the America’s Cup, including one featuring Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, double Olympic gold medalists, who served as Sports Directors for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013.

Another crew on the Series is Team Australia, the challenger of record for the 35th America’s Cup, who will have Seve Jarvin as skipper. At 27, Jarvin is one of the young guns Team Australia head Iain Murray is looking at as he assembles the Australian Cup crew. Jarvin is a successful skiff sailor, making the move to mutilhulls.

Also racing is previous America’s Cup winner Ernesto Bertarelli with Alinghi as well as Franck Cammas, who last month announced his intention to form a French America’s Cup challenger.

While Team New Zealand won’t be represented on that circuit, Glenn Ashby, a key member of the Kiwi team’s afterguard, hasn’t been letting his skills slip. Incredibly, Ashby won his 10th Australian A-Class catamaran title over the holidays, as he prepares for the World Championships being held next month in New Zealand. With the championships being raced on Team New Zealand’s home waters, other team members are expected to compete as well.