Now that the Auld Mug is back in US control, plans for America's Cup Challengers should get a little clearer. But not just yet.
Firstly Location. Oracle Team owner Larry Ellison seems, unsurprisingly, to prefer his home port of San Francisco (and the Golden Gate Yacht Club that Oracle represented in Valencia) but facilities there are not up to scratch, and other locations, including Cascais in Portugal (the original choice of Russell Coutts for AC32), are still being discussed.
Then there is the multihull / monohull decision: not as clear cut as it seemed before the Deed of Gift based AC33. Everyone had
been talking about a return to some form of monohull for AC34; perhaps with canting keels and flatter hull bottoms, making them more like large skiffs to get the speeds up. But now that we have all seen the Tri v Cat AC33 and the speeds possible and the fact that they are more manoeuvrable than expected, are we really going to go back to boats that race at one third the speed of these marvels of sailing technology?
And then there are the outstanding court cases between Alinghi and Oracle and related discussions. Whilst partly tactical to give each side an advantage in the racing that followed, there are also matters of substance under discussion. Should the Defender have the right to sail in the Challenger series? Should every item on every boat have to be designed and built in the country represented by each Team? Should every sailor on every Team carry the passport of the country they represent? Each of these questions might result in a decision that radically changes the America's Cup as we have come to know it.
We have waited a long while to get past the tiresome legal shenanigans that kept the teams off the water and in the courtrooms. But we aren't clear of the arguments yet. And whilst it is frustrating I suppose we shouldn't complain too loudly. After all: if there weren't hugely wealthy egos battling for the slightest advantage in what would otherwise be a simple sailboat race, there wouldn't be any press coverage, there wouldn't be any sponors and we wouldn't have the spectacle that is the America's Cup.
Watch this space...