The New York Yacht Club is calling for a significant overhaul of the America's Cup, suggesting that boat classes, design protocols and even venues could be locked in for future cycles, to improve the economic viability of the event.
The former long-time holder of the Auld Mug says that while defenders' rights will always be protected, as enshrined in the Cup's deed of gift, a new governance structure could be put in place, to ensure ongoing commercial growth.
They suggest a commission could oversee the event, enabling multiple cycles to be planned years in advance.
The New York club say they have already had positive discussions with Grant Dalton and Team New Zealand, offering their feedback.
American Magic was the first challenge backed by the famous club since 2003.
Despite the feeling of what might have been, given the capsize of Patriot, New York Yacht Club commodore Christopher Culver was thrilled with the venture.
"It's great to be back in the Cup," Culver told the Herald. "This is such an important part of our DNA and we are so proud of this team."
But there was uncertainty about the future.
"We would love to challenge again," said Culver. "[But] it's too early to make that call. One of the things we are [discussing] is the consistency, continuity and predictability of the America's Cup.
"These boats are exciting, but we don't know where it will be, or what we will be sailing. Wouldn't it be nice to be thinking about the next two, three or four cycles?
"It would bring a lot of commercial viability and we are all mutually aligned in that. I'm sure Team New Zealand would love to see more participants; so how do we collectively come together and help foster that growth, as a vision to the future?"
Culver wants to see the exorbitant costs (currently in excess of $100 million per team) reduced, along with other measures to encourage new participants, given the recent paucity (three challengers in 2013, five in 2017, three in 2021).
He is also touting a new governance structure, where the defender would still have significant rights, in parallel with a protocol that offers a "forward looking vision".
The America's Cup is unique, as the defender holds the cards. With input from the Challenger of Record, they set the venue, the dates, the class of boat and the design protocol.
It was a system that helped the New York Yacht Club retain the trophy for 132 years. It became an almost impossible goal, until Alan Bond's breakthrough with Australia II in 1983.
In that context, New York's interest in reframing the parameters could be interpreted as self-serving, but Culver refutes that.
"This isn't about one team's economic viability," said Culver. "It is about the America's Cup economic viability and there is great opportunity with that."
He points out that the boat class has been different for each of the last five regattas, while the historical precedent around venues has changed since 2007.
"Only two out of the last five Cups were defended at home so let's be open about the opportunity," said Culver. "If one of the challengers were to win, or even if New Zealand were to win, we could see a venue change and it could be four out of the last six.
"Maybe there is a better way to approach that, [to give] more predictability in the location, since it seems to be changing anyway."
Culver says there have been positive, ongoing discussions with Team New Zealand.
"We all need to have open and good dialogue, and good collaboration," says Culver. "We all want the same thing but how are we going to get there?
"They are the defender … they have got certain absolute rights. Grant [Dalton] is trying to figure out the future, like everyone else. How can we come together and help foster that? How do we help lend our experience to help drive it forward?
"What we don't want is to have things end up in the courts or [have] the status quo - one cycle, one design and then it all changes. We want to maintain the integrity and respect for the deed of gift and from there establish a protocol to solve the common challenges that everybody has.
"[What we are advocating] is not the only path ... But it's a path towards a brighter future, and more engagement and participation."
Heading into the Cup racing?
• Give yourself plenty of time and think about catching a ferry, train or bus to watch the Cup.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It's the best way to ride.
• Don't forget to scan QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app when on public transport and entering the America's Cup Village.
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.