Speculation has increased on the foiling catamarans used in last year's America's Cup in Bermuda being modified for a new professional world circuit backed by American billionaire Larry Ellison.
The well-connected Tom Ehman in the United States has ramped up details of the secretive series on his weekly show on Sailing Illustrated.
There has been ongoing talk of Ellison persisting in the multihull market after his Oracle Team USA lost the America's Cup to Emirates Team New Zealand in Bermuda.
A year on from that defeat, and with Ellison absent from the America's Cup scene that has now switched to giant foiling monohulls, the talk has ramped up.
Some of the key details to emerge from Ehman's lively discussion include:
- Regattas tipped for Sydney, Europe, Bermuda and San Francisco with the series starting later this year or early next year.
- The boats being renamed F50s and being modified at Core Builders in New Zealand to increase one-design elements.
- An entry fee of US$5m, giving teams access to boats and allowing them to sell sponsorships of a proposed broadcast package.
- Crews reduced from six to five with electrical power being used for the hydraulic systems.
- America's Cap personalities from France, USA, New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain are involved.
- An official announcement "expected in a few weeks".
The proposed new series would appear to be a major competitor to the current Extreme Sailing Series and GC32 World Tour, which both use foiling catamarans, rather than the America's Cup.
The next America's Cup in New Zealand has already sewn up most of the leading helmsmen from Bermuda – Peter Burling, Jimmy Spithill, Sir Ben Ainslie, and Dean Barker.
The America's Cup protocol prevents teams and individuals from competing in events that threaten Auckland 2021.
But there are major players from recent America's Cups that are still absent from plans for the 36th regatta in Auckland, including Team France, Alinghi and Artemis Racing with all three having strong alliances with multihull sailing.