If ever there was an opportunity to roll straight from one Cup into the next, you might have thought this would be the time. With the Defender successfully holding on to the Auld Mug, it’s the same group of decision makers who have a chance to build on the good bits of the 34th America’s Cup.

So, two months after Oracle Team USA’s famous come-from-behind victory over Emirates Team New Zealand, why so little tangible progress? Apart from the announcement of the Challenger of Record - Cup newcomers Bob and Sandy Oatley from Australia - we don’t know much. Not the time, the place or even the kind of boats that in which the 35th America’s Cup will be contested.

Imagine how hard that must make it for the likes of Ben Ainslie, seeking to capitalise on his pivotal role in turning around Oracle’s fortunes, as the four-time Olympic Champion tries to raise multi-million pound backing for a British challenge. What to tell a potential investor when you can’t give even the most basic of answers to ‘What, when and where?’

Russell Coutts has made much of his ambition to turn the America’s Cup from a quiet, closed-door regatta for billionaires to a global event that can attract commercially funded and financially self-sustaining teams. In one respect Coutts exceeded expectations, building on the good work of Alinghi’s 2007 Cup in Valencia with a 2013 event that captured the imagination of a usually indifferent public. The LiveLine technology developed by the Emmy Award-winning Stan Honey and his team contributed to a live TV package that blew the doors off anything we’ve seen before. And the sight of boats flying above the water - even if that was the Kiwis’ idea - made a sailing-illiterate public gain a new appreciation of just how dynamic and thrilling wind-powered vessels can be.

So 50 per cent of the experiment worked. The other half of the grand experiment that failed badly was Coutts’s attempt to make the Cup more commercially viable. From the 11 challenger teams we saw in Valencia 2007, just three showed up for San Francisco 2013. The short timescale of just two years in which to design and construct a 72-foot wingmasted catamaran, combined with the technical complexities of the AC72, made it an impossible task for all but the most highly funded and well organised teams to contemplate a full-blown campaign.

Much of the blame for allowing the AC72 concept to proceed - and under such a short timescale - must be laid at the door of the previous Challenger of Record. And in case you don’t remember, the Challenger of Record was not Artemis Racing but Mascalzone Latino, the Italian challenge owned by shipping magnate Vincenzo Onorato. At the time, in the months following BMW Oracle’s victory over Alinghi in that ill-mannered 33rd America’s Cup between the two giant multihulls in February 2010, other potential challengers accused Mascalzone Latino of not consulting with them. Instead, they said, Onorato’s team was happily agreeing a set of terms with the Defender without fully consulting the wider group of potential challengers.

To add insult to injury, once the deal had been struck, it emerged that Onorato did not even possess the resources to mount his own campaign. He had agreed to a set of terms that even he, the co-signatory, couldn’t meet. With Mascalzone Latino abandoning its post, Artemis Racing stepped into the breach. Good for Torbjorn Tornqvist, although now we had one multi-billionaire accepting the terms of another multi-billionaire. Little incentive for either party to address the concerns of the smaller teams looking to scrape together the tens of millions of pounds required to put together even a shoestring campaign.

So, can the ‘little teams’ expect better representation from the new Challengers of Record, Hamilton Island Yacht Club in Australia? It’s too early to say, although Bob Oatley is well liked and respected among the tight-knit Australian yachting community. The founder of Rosemount, one of the most commercially successful wineries in Australia, has won multiple Rolex Fastnet Races with his hi-tech, canting-keeled 100-footer, Wild Oats XI. Operating closely with his equally sailing-mad son, Sandy, the announcement of Bob Oatley as the new Challenger of Record has been well received in the sailing world.

According to Australian business website BRW.com.au, Oatley’s personal fortune is estimated at AUS$1.14 billion, which is just over US$1 billion. This means the Oatleys are certainly capable of mounting a top-end Cup campaign, although it’s a long way from the US$41 billion that Forbes estimates makes Larry Ellison the third richest man in the USA.

Whereas a 2013 campaign left teams with no change from US$100 million - with Oracle estimated to have spent two to three times that sum - the campaign budget being mooted for the next Cup is in the region of $50 million. But how to ensure that this happens? Coutts says he’s on to it. “One aspect we’re working very hard on is cost reduction,” says the CEO of Oracle Team USA. “If we can reduce costs, we will increase the number of the teams, which will have a positive impact on all aspects of the competition.”

Salaries are the single biggest expense, generally thought to consume about 60% of campaign costs. “The boats will likely be smaller than 72-feet with some one-design components, which will reduce the number of sailors and designers,” says Coutts. “We believe the competition still needs to remain a test of sailing, design and boat building talent so we are carefully evaluating reductions in each category.”

Whatever Coutts says, the best hope of creating an environment for more teams to be able to compete in the next Cup lies with the new Challenger of Record. Alinghi tried to create its own Challenger of Record after winning in 2007, with the announcement that a brand new yacht club, the Club Nautico Español de Vela, would be taking the role. That triggered a legal challenge by Oracle which led to the Cup languishing in the New York Supreme Court for the best part of three years. Then along came Mascalzone Latino in 2010 who, as explained above, queered the pitch for all the other challengers when they acquiesced to the Oracle vision without reference to the other teams.

After two poodle Challengers of Record, the whole sailing world is hoping it’s third time lucky as it looks to the Oatleys to provide the leadership and character that should be expected of anyone who assumes this important role.