America’s Cup Protocol announced

Image: Lloyd Images
The America’s Cup continues to make headlines. Earlier in the year most of the teams competing in this year’s regatta signed a framework agreement that would cover the next two editions, the 36th and 37th America’s Cup, due to take place in 2019 and 2021 respectively. As well as a two-yearly cycle, foiling boats would continue to be used.
At the time Jimmy Spithill, the skipper of two-time winner Oracle Team USA, said: “This announcement will go down as one of the defining moments in America’s Cup history. It is great for fans, athletes, and commercially – a win win for everyone.”
As is required, the framework agreement upheld all aspects of the Deed of Gift, the document that lies at the heart of the America’s Cup.
There was one problem. The framework did not have the backing of Emirates Team New Zealand who said: “Emirates Team NZ believe the future America’s Cup format is to be decided by the Defender and Challenger of Record as it has historically been.”
As we now know, this was the team that went on to win the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda this summer. It soon became clear many of the decisions made in the framework agreement were not going to be carried forward to the 36th America’s Cup.
Since then the boating world has been waiting with, until now, bits and pieces of information coming through. Last month it was confirmed there would be a return to monohulls and tighter nationality rules.
Then the Protocol of the 36th America’s Cup was released at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in New Zealand after negotiations between the Defender and the Challenger of Record Circolo della Vela Sicilia, whose team will be Luna Rossa.
After the announcement Patrizio Bertelli, the boss of Italian syndicate Luna Rossa, said: “The original values of the Cup have been restored.” Luna Rossa pulled out of the last America’s Cup after more rules changes were introduced.
When the protocol was released Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton said: “From the moment we won we have felt a responsibility to release this document as soon as possible to provide the required details that potential teams can now base a challenge on.”
“The plans are coming together nicely – we shall have a very exciting boat that will be fast and powerful. We are pushing the boundaries of what is possible technically and this will test the designers, boat builders and the sailors to the limit. Just what the America’s Cup is all about.”
The America’s Cup Match will be raced in March 2021, preceded by The Prada Cup in January and February 2021. Boats are set to arrive from 2019 with pre regattas held that year and in 2020, culminating with a Christmas regatta in December 2020.
The dates and venue of both the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup will be announced by 31 August 2018.
Dalton also confirmed that Team New Zealand will not take part in the America’s Cup Challenger series, to be called the Prada Cup.
The intended venue is Auckland, New Zealand but if it cannot be held there it will go to Italy.
Dalton reiterated that the event will feature 75 foot monohulls. The last time monohulls were raced was the 32nd edition in 2007.
Currently there is a team of designers, led by Emirates Team New Zealand Design Coordinator Dan Bernasconi, working on various monohull concepts.
There is a desire to have a spectacular monohull yacht that will be exciting to match race, but also one that the public and sailors can relate to as a sail boat that really challenges a full crew of professional yachtsman around the race track.
Each competitor is permitted to build two boats, the hulls of which must be laminated in the country of the competitor. The first boat is not permitted to be launched prior to 31 March 2019, the second can be launched after 1 February 2020.
The final rule for the new boat will not be published until 31 March next year, but Land Rover BAR say there are strong hints that the boat will foil like the multihulls used in the last Cup.
“We are comfortable with the transition, the key people in our sailing, design, engineering and support teams all have a great deal of relevant experience.” said Team Principal, Ben Ainslie. “With the rule not coming out until March, we hope that it will be a collaborative approach to its development with all stakeholders included.”
Lastly, there will be nationality rules where 20 percent of sailors must be from one country. The rest of each sailing team must meet strict criteria of residents of 380 days in the country from 1 Sep 2018 to 1 Sep 2020.
In response to this rule Sir Ben Ainslie said “Land Rover BAR has always had a British identity and this rule will not affect us. It is good to see that the World Series will continue in 2019, and we look forward to returning to America’s Cup racing in the new class.
“The Cup has gained a lot of new fans and it was encouraging to hear both the Defender and Challenger of Record’s commitment to delivering the same high standard of global, televisual racing to cement the interest in our sport.”
Sir Ben concluded: “The America’s Cup is the hardest trophy to win in world sport, and it is likely that we will be traveling half-way around the world to compete on the home waters of the world’s most successful modern America’s Cup team. Team New Zealand have been in all six of the openly contested Cups since 1995, and they have won three of them.
“We do not underestimate the challenge – it is immense – but we will call on the very best of British technology and innovation through our partners, and use that British fighting spirit to finally bring the Cup home to Britain.”

January 1, 2018: Entries for challengers open
March 31, 2018: AC75 class rule published
June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers Close
August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup match and the challenger series confirmed; specific race course area confirmed
December 31, 2018: Late entries Deadline
March 31, 2019: Boat one can be launched
Second half of 2019: two America’s Cup World Series preliminary events
February 1, 2020: Boat two can be launched
2020: three America’s Cup World Series preliminary events
10th-20th December 2020: America’s Cup Christmas regatta
January and February 2021: Challenger series
March 2021: America’s Cup
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