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America’s Cup: Writing the AC75 Rule

Published on January 19th, 2018

After unveiling the concept of yachts to be raced in the 36th America’s Cup in 2021, Team New Zealand now face the arduous task of turning a concept into a rule.

The design for the 75 foot fully-foiling monohull vessels was revealed in November last year, with the design moving away from the catamarans raced in the 2017 regatta.

However, the reigning America’s Cup holders, alongside challenger of record Luna Rossa, must now create a set of regulations that will ensure that each team designs and builds boats that fit the general concept presented.

At the same time, these regulations need to allow designers enough freedom to allow the new class to develop competitively. It’s a testing task, but a vital one in the America’s Cup, Team New Zealand design coordinator Dan Bernasconi said.

“In some ways, designers would love to work without the constraints of a rule, but in practice it’s important to have a comprehensive set of constraints to keep costs under control,” Bernasconi said. “If no limits were set, the wealthiest teams could gain advantages by out-spending their competitors using rare materials, extremely complex systems, and countless iterations of components.”

Rules are needed for the overall parameters of the vessels including length, weight and sail area. They then have to go into specifics on materials, the types of appendages permitted, hydraulic and electronic control systems – covering every aspect of the design.

The process is currently about halfway through, with the rule issue date of March 31 fast approaching. About 12 designers from both Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa are working together to pool ideas and turn concepts and systems into words on a page.

Other interested challengers are kept up to date as the process progresses, with questions regarding the rule being answered and all feedback being taken under advisement.

The need to meet the March 31 deadline is important, and a number of possible challengers will want know the set rules before paying their US$1 million entry fee by the June 30 entry cut-off later this year.

Source: NZ Herald

Key dates:
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ 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 PRADA Cup confirmed
August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
December 31, 2018: Late entries deadline
March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched
2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched
During 2020: 3 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
December 10-20, 2020: America’s Cup Christmas Race
January and February 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
March 2021: The America’s Cup Match

Protocol of the 36th America’s Cup
Key Points of the Protocol
Deed of Gift

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