In a statement on its official webpage, Team Luna Rossa has announced their withdrawal from the 35th America’s Cup. This follows yesterday’s vote by the participating teams to introduce a new class for AC35—a wing-sailed, foiling catamaran between 45 and 50 feet. The rule changes were passed by a majority vote of the Competitor Forum, comprising the six teams that were, at the time, entered in the America’s Cup (Emirates Team New Zealand, Oracle Team USA, Team France, Luna Rossa Challenge, Artemis Racing, and Ben Ainsle Racing). An updated Protocol and a new Class Rule is set to be published this week.
The full statement from Luna Rossa Challenge:
“The result of the vote proposed by the Event Authority with the agreement of the Defender of the 35th America’s Cup has overturned, with a majority vote, the America’s Cup Class Rule for the boat with which this edition will be held; this happened notwithstanding the fact that such rule had been previously adopted unanimously by the teams and was in force since June 2014.
Following a careful evaluation of the serious implications of this unprecedented initiative, Team Luna Rossa confirms that it will withdraw from the 35th America’s Cup.
Team Luna Rossa indeed considers illegitimate the procedure adopted and founded on an evident abuse of process by surreptitious use of procedures to modify the Protocol in order to overturn the Class Rule, which instead requires the unanimity of the teams entered.
This is an attempt to introduce boats that are substantially monotypes and in total contrast with the ultra-centennial tradition of the America’s Cup, not to mention a two-month extension period to introduce further modifications to the rules, decided by the majority.
All of the above contributes to a lack of credibility and uncertain technical grounds for what should instead be the most sophisticated sailing competition in the world.
This radical change also implies a waste of important resources already invested based on the rules that were sanctioned in June last year. This means that the claim to reduce costs reveals itself as a pure pretext aimed to annihilate research and development achievements of some teams, and to favor instead preconceived technical and sporting positions by means of changing the most important element in the competition, the boat.
As a confirmation of this, it is important to underline the fact that Luna Rossa frequently advanced proposals aimed at containing costs that however would not have changed the nature of the boats, but these proposals have systematically been rejected by the Defender.
Team Luna Rossa has also taken into consideration the possibility to protest through the Arbitration Panel as foreseen by the Protocol; it has however noted that, ten months after signing the Protocol, the Defender is only now initiating the first formal procedures to compose this important body. This fact contributes to making the entire governance of the Event even less credible and reliable.
Team Luna Rossa regrets the repercussions that this difficult decision will have on the members of the Team —although it will honor all of its contractual obligations —and on the sailing event planned to take place in Cagliari next June and obviously understands the disappointment of the many fans who have supported Luna Rossa during the last four editions of the America’s Cup.
Patrizio Bertelli declared: “I want to thank the whole team for its hard work during this past year; regretfully this effort has been frustrated by this maneuver that is unprecedented in the history of the America’s Cup.
However, in sports, as in life, one cannot always go for compromise, after compromise, after compromise; sometimes it is necessary to make decisions that are painful but must be clear cut, as only these can make everybody aware of the drifts of the system and therefore set the basis for the future: respect of legality and sportsmanship.”