Team owner Patrizio Bertelli withdrew his challenge for the America’s Cup when he was out voted on a decision to change the size of boat that will be raced. The AC62 was dropped in favor of a new 48 foot long “America’s Cup Class” foiling wing sail catamaran with a crew of six.
Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand voted against the change, but were on the losing side of the vote, with challengers Artemis Racing, Ben Ainslie Racing and Team France all voting for the change, which was proposed by defender Oracle Team USA. Ironically, Luna Rossa would have been able to veto the change had they kept their role as Challenger of Record, replacing Team Australia, who withdrew in July 2014. Instead, at Luna Rossa’s suggestion, a Challenger Committee was formed, operating on a simple majority for changes to the Protocol.
Bertelli had harsh words in his press release about the change, calling it “illegitimate… an evident abuse of process by surreptitious use of procedures.” The other teams had equally harsh words for Bertelli in a joint statement: “Regrettably, abiding by the results of the majority vote appears to be something neither they, nor Team New Zealand, are (sic) willing to do… unless they are part of the majority.”
Although Bertelli declared that Luna Rossa “will honor all of its contractual obligations” to team members and others, this is clearly a blow to the team.
“I have spent the last 16 months with an amazing group of people, working our asses off. Absolutely gutted we won’t get to show the world. @DraperChris”
This is a sad end to a team with a fifteen year history in the America’s Cup, winning the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000 before falling to Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup Match. Bertelli was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 2012, and like co-Hall of Fame member Sir Thomas Lipton, he challenged five times, never winning.