America’s Cup: How to Change the Game

Published on March 29th, 2017

The challenge nature of the America’s Cup can keep the event format fluid, but changes occur only through proper procedures. The America’s Cup Event Authority seeks to explain recent changes in this report.


To change any rule of the Protocol requires both the Defender and a majority of Challengers to vote in favor of the proposed change. No single team, person or entity can change a rule. Similarly, to change a Class Rule relating to the new America’s Cup Class, a unanimous vote of all teams is required.

One of the recent changes to the Class Rules pertained to the foils.

Teams are only permitted to build four daggerboards for their new America’s Cup Class boats – in other words just two sets of foils. Most teams have elected to build one pair that is geared towards heavier winds – smaller foils, less lift, less drag, higher potential top speed; and one set that will perform better in lighter conditions – bigger foils, more lift, but more drag and limited top speed.

Notwithstanding the limit on building four new America’s Cup Class daggerboards, the teams discussed making a Protocol amendment beginning in June 2016 and agreed on November 17 to allow up to two identical (spare) boards to be built although these may only be used if the race boards were damaged unintentionally.

The rules also allowed teams that damaged their boards to use old (non race) foils previously used on their AC 45 test boats, as replacements to allow them to continue testing while the race boards were being repaired.

Protocol changes can be viewed here.

Background: The 35th America’s Cup has attracted six teams (5 challengers and 1 defender) that will compete in the new 15-meter AC Class, with a series of qualifiers beginning on May 26, 2017 that lead to the start of the America’s Cup Match on June 17, 2017. Complete schedule.

Source: ACEA

Tags:



Back to Top ↑

Get Your Sailing News Fix!

Your daily or weekly download by email.

Subscribe - In popup

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We’ll keep your information safe.