SAN FRANCISCO (#1245) — The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sir Tim Clark (GBR), President of Emirates Airline, will step down at the end of June 2020. What impact will this have in AC36 on Emirates Team NZ, for which Emirates is title sponsor? Likely little if any. But for AC37? Hmmm.
Interesting, too, that the AC World Series event in Portsmouth, UK — home base of Sir Ben Ainslie's INEOS Team UK challenger — is being organized by Emirates Team New Zealand in early June, just before Sir Tim retires. Coincidence or more? Sir Tim reportedly has a home in London and a summer home in Portsmouth, where the former "Millennial Tower" is now the "Emirates Spinnaker Tower" after, yep, the airline which sponsors it.
Under the AC36 Protocol all ACWS events were to be organized and sponsored by Patrizio Bertelli's Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA), the AC36 Challenger of Record. However, one hears the challengers wanted no part of such a regatta, as it is seen as a time and money suck for them. They wanted to go back to training on their own as soon as possible after the first ACWS regatta long since scheduled for late April at Cagliari, ITA, home base of LRPP, and then get settled in Auckland in Q3 of 2020 to prepare for AC36 racing there in early 2021.
Instead, ETNZ will take on organizing the Portsmouth ACWS regatta to keep their sponsor and its President happy. Nice send-off present?
Given the Portsmouth ACWS regatta in early June, the teams will need to ship their boats and equipment from Cagliari, on the Italian island of Sardinia, to Portsmouth, set up there, race for a few days, then ship back to their home bases (in the case of NYYC's American Magic, LRPP and ETNZ) before heading to Auckland. Or will they head straight to AKL from Portsmouth?
More on all this on Friday's TFE LIVE (2019-12-27), our 250th show, as usual on our Sailing Illustrated Facebook Page at 1300 Pacific / 2100 UTC / 1000+1 NZT / 0800+1 in AEDT.